KANSAS CITY, Mo. – [Opening Round Schedule] [NAIA Championships App] The NAIA has announced the 45-team field and pairings for the 2021 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The 12th annual event takes place May 17-20 at nine host sites. Each of the nine locations features a five-team, double-elimination tournament.
The nine opening round champions join Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at the 64th annual Avista NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 28 – June 4. For more information on the World Series, click here.
The 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 receive two automatic qualifiers, while leagues with less than 10 get one. This season due to COVID, any conference was allowed a drop of up to three schools from its original total in order to keep multiple bids. Any conference that started with six schools was guaranteed to keep its bid.
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, a member of the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association Executive Committee and three at-large members. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria.
For more information on NAIA Baseball, click here.
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|Institution||Qualifying Method||2021 Record||Appearances||Last Time||OR Titles||Opening Round Record|
|Benedictine Mesa (Ariz.)||At-Large||31-14||1||N/A||0||0-0|
|Bryan (Tenn.)||Appalachian Pool B Champion||35-16||6||2019||0||6-10|
|Central Methodist (Mo.)||Heart Tournament Champion||43-6||4||2019||0||2-6|
|Columbia (Mo.)||AMC Tournament Champion||36-9||2||2019||0||2-2|
|Concordia (Neb.)||GPAC Regular Season/Tournament Champion||38-9||3||2019||0||2-4|
|Corban (Ore.)||Cascade Tournament Runner-Up||22-29||1||N/A||0||0-0|
|Cumberlands (Ky.)||Mid-South Tournament Champion||46-6||4||2019||0||4-6|
|Doane (Neb.)||GPAC Regular Season Runner-Up||35-17-1||4||2014||0||4-6|
|Fisher (Mass.)||A.I.I. Tournament Runner-Up||31-20||1||N/A||0||0-0|
|Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.)||Mid-South Tournament Runner-Up||26-23||6||2019||2||10-7|
|Georgia Gwinnett||A.I.I. Tournament Champion||42-9||7||2019||3||17-7|
|Hope International (Calif.)||At-Large||27-13||3||2019||1||6-2|
|Indiana Tech||WHAC Regular Season Champion||31-25||10||2019||1||17-16|
|Indiana Wesleyan||Crossroads Regular Season/Tournament Champion||43-12||3||2018||0||1-4|
|IU Southeast (Ind.)||River States Tournament Champion||45-14||7||2019||0||8-12|
|Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||World Series Host Berth||41-4||N/A||N/A||0||0-0|
|LSU Shreveport (La.)||Red River Tournament Champion||40-13||12||2019||2||16-18|
|Mayville State (N.D.)||North Star Tournament Champion||35-16||7||2017||0||4-12|
|MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||Heart Tournament Runner Up||39-14||4||2017||0||3-6|
|Middle Georgia State||At-Large||34-19||5||2019||0||6-8|
|Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio)||Crossroads Tournament Runner Up||32-19||7||2015||0||5-12|
|Northwestern Ohio||WHAC Tournament Champion||29-17||4||2018||1||8-4|
|Oklahoma Wesleyan||KCAC Regular Season Champion||46-8||6||2019||2||13-7|
|Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||Chicagoland Regular Season/Tournament Champion||36-18||3||2019||0||1-4|
|Ottawa (Kan.)||KCAC Tournament Champion||35-18||1||N/A||0||0-0|
|Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||Red River Regular Season Champion||34-17||1||N/A||0||0-0|
|Point Park (Pa.)||River States Tournament Runner-Up||37-14||5||2018||1||5-6|
|Saint Katherine (Calif.)||CalPac Tournament Champion||29-16||1||N/A||0||0-0|
|Saint Xavier (Ill.)||Chicagoland Tournament Runner-Up||32-25||4||2019||0||2-6|
|Science & Arts (Okla.)||Sooner Tournament Champion||34-10||6||2019||2||11-4|
|Southeastern (Fla.)||The Sun Tournament Champion||47-7||6||2019||2||10-6|
|St. Thomas (Fla.)||At-Large||33-19||9||2019||3||18-11|
|Tennessee Wesleyan||Appalachian Pool A Champion||51-4||12||2019||5||29-16|
|USC Beaufort (S.C.)||At-Large||31-21||5||2016||1||8-7|
|Vanguard (Calif.)||GSAC Tournament Champion||37-14||5||2016||1||10-6|
|William Carey (Miss.)||SSAC Tournament Champion||34-10||7||2018||1||15-11|
Opening Round Notes
- Overall, there are 23 repeat qualifiers from the 2019 opening round, including all nine teams that won opening round titles last season – Bellevue (Neb.), Faulkner (Ala.), Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Georgia Gwinnett, Indiana Tech, Science & Arts (Okla.), Southeastern (Fla.), St. Thomas (Fla.), and Tennessee Wesleyan.
- Tennessee Wesleyan is the lone team in the field with 50 or more wins at 51-4 overall. Southeastern has the next highest win total at 47-7.
- LSU Shreveport (La.) and Tennessee Wesleyan are back in the field for a 12th time, which leads the field. These two clubs are the only NAIA teams to have participated in every event since the format was established in 2009. Bellevue (Neb.), Indiana Tech, Bellevue, Faulkner, and Oklahoma City all have 10 or more appearances.
- There are nine newcomers to the opening round in this year’s field in Benedictine (Kan.), Benedictine Mesa (Ariz.), Corban (Ore.), Fisher (Mass.), Loyola (La.), McPherson (Kan.), Ottawa (Kan.), Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) and Saint Katherine (Calif.).
- Faulkner has the honor of the most opening round championships with seven. 19 teams in the 2021 field have at least one opening round championship to their credit.
- The Sun Conference leads all leagues with five teams in the 2021 field. The Southern States is second on that list with four. Four leagues checked-in with three teams.