KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Opening Round Schedule | Video Selection Show) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 45-team field and brackets for the 2017 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The event, which is a five-team, double-elimination format, takes place May 15 – 18 at nine host locations. The nine Opening Round champions join Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at the 61st annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 26 – June 2.
The 45-team field consists of 30 automatic qualifiers – given to conference regular-season champions, tournament champions or tournament runners-up – and 15 at-large teams. Conferences with 10-or-more members received two automatic qualifiers, while leagues with less than 10 are given one.
At-large teams were determined by the NAIA Baseball National Selection Committee (NSC). The NSC consists of one representative from each geographic area, a representative from the National Administrative Council (NAC) Postseason Selection and Ratings Committee, the past president of the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association and three at-large members. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria.
Overall, there are 24 repeat qualifiers from the 2016 National Championship Opening Round, including five teams that won Opening Round titles last season – Bellevue (Neb.), Faulkner (Ala.), Science & Arts (Okla.), Tennessee Wesleyan and The Master’s (Calif.).
Opening round veterans Tennessee Wesleyan and LSU Shreveport (La.) are back in the field once again. Both clubs have played in every opening round since the formats inception in 2009.
Nine teams punched their first-ever ticket to the opening round – Antelope Valley (Calif.), Concordia (Neb.), Cumberlands (Ky.), Hope International (Calif.), Marian (Ind.), Midway (Ky.), St. Ambrose (Iowa), Truett McConnell (Ga.) and Webber International (Fla.). Prior to the opening round format, St. Ambrose reached the World Series in 1994 and 1996.
Bellevue (Neb.) – host of the Bellevue Bracket – brings an NAIA-best 49 victories into this year’s event. The Bruins earned an automatic spot after winning the North Star Athletic Association regular-season title. Eighteen other teams carry 40-or-more wins this season, including top-ranked Oklahoma City (45-8).
The Sun Conference leads all conferences with four teams in the field – Keiser (Fla.), St. Thomas (Fla.), Southeastern (Fla.) and Webber International. Seven other conferences are represented by three teams. No conference has less than two teams.
For more information on the 2017 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round and Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, click here.
2017 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round Qualifiers
|School||Qualification||Record^||OR Appearances%||OR Record||OR Titles|
|Antelope Valley (Calif.)||California Pacific Conference Regular-Season Champion||36-16||1st||0-0||0|
|Bellevue (Neb.)||North Star Athletic Association Regular-Season Champion||49-9||8th||12-13||1|
|Central Methodist (Mo.)||At-Large||42-15||3rd||1-4||0|
|Clarke (Iowa)||Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up||45-12||2nd||1-2||0|
|College of Idaho||NAIA West Group Tournament Champion||24-28||4th||5-5||1|
|Concordia (Neb.)||Great Plains Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||33-20||1st||0-0||0|
|Cumberlands (Ky.)||Mid-South Conference Tournament Champion||42-15||1st||0-0||0|
|Davenport (Mich.)||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up||41-15||4th||6-5||1|
|Faulkner (Ala.)||Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||47-10||8th||16-7||5|
|Georgia Gwinnett||Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Champion||38-19||4th||9-5||1|
|Hope International (Calif.)||At-Large||32-15||1st||0-0||0|
|Huntington (Ind.)||Crossroads League Regular-Season Champion||33-11||3rd||1-4||0|
|IU Southeast (Ind.)||At-Large||45-13||4th||2-6||0|
|Judson (Ill.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||37-18||5th||3-8||0|
|Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||NAIA World Series Host||35-13||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|LSU Alexandria (La.)||Red River Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||33-22||3rd||2-4||0|
|LSU Shreveport (La.)||Red River Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||38-19||9th||14-12||2|
|Lyon (Ark.)||American Midwest Conference Tournament Champion||34-22||3rd||3-4||0|
|Marian (Ind.)||Crossroads League Tournament Runner-Up||29-21||1st||0-0||0|
|Mayville State (N.D.)||North Star Athletic Association Tournament Champion||46-10||6th||4-10||0|
|Middle Georgia State||At-Large||43-14||2nd||0-2||0|
|MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||34-18||3rd||2-4||0|
|Midland (Neb.)||Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||40-18||4th||1-6||0|
|Midway (Ky.)||River States Conference Tournament Champion||28-28||1st||0-0||0|
|Missouri Baptist||American Midwest Conference Tournament Runner-Up||41-14||8th||14-13||1|
|University of Northwestern Ohio||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||43-10||2nd||3-2||0|
|Oklahoma City||Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||45-8||8th||18-7||4|
|Oklahoma Wesleyan||Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||48-9||3rd||6-2||1|
|Science & Arts (Okla.)||At-Large||41-15||3rd||4-2||1|
|Southeastern (Fla.)||The Sun Conference Tournament Champion||48-9||3rd||2-4||0|
|St. Ambrose (Iowa)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||28-23||1st||0-0||0|
|St. Thomas (Fla.)||At-Large||35-17||6th||12-9||1|
|Tabor (Kan.)||Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up||41-15||6th||15-7||2|
|Talladega (Ala.)||Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Runner-Up||36-22||2nd||0-2||0|
|Tennessee Wesleyan||Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||39-18||9th||21-11||3|
|The Master’s (Calif.)||Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||35-21||6th||7-6||2|
|Truett McConnell (Ga.)||Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up||31-26||1st||0-0||0|
|Webber International (Fla.)||At-Large||38-15||1st||0-0||0|
|William Carey (Miss.)||At-Large||38-17||5th||8-8||0|
^Record as recorded in DakStats
%Includes 2017 appearance