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Baseball National Championship Opening Round Field Announced

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Schedule | Bracket Reveal Show) The NAIA has officially announced the 45-team field and pairings for the 2018 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The 10th annual event takes place May 14 – 17 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 62nd annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 25 – June 1. For more information on the World Series, click here.

The field consists of 31 automatic qualifiers – given to conference regular-season champions, tournament champions or tournament runners-up – and 14 at-large teams. Conferences with 10-or-more members receive two automatic qualifiers, while leagues with less than 10 get 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, the president of the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association and three at-large members. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria.

For more details on the national champion and World Series, click here.

Opening Round Notes
• Overall, there are 30 repeat qualifiers from the 2017 opening round, including six teams that won opening round titles last season – Faulkner (Ala.), Keiser (Fla.), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Wesleyan, Science & Arts (Okla.) and William Carey (Miss.).
• Four teams in this year’s field own at least 50 wins this season, led by St. Thomas (Fla.) at 53-7. The Bobcats are looking to get back to the World Series for the first time since finishing runner-up in 2015. The other three members of the 50-win club are Faulkner (50-7), Oklahoma Wesleyan (51-6) and Southeastern (Fla.) (51-7).
• Opening round veterans LSU Shreveport (La.) and Tennessee Wesleyan are back in the field for a 10th time. These two clubs are the only NAIA teams to have participated in every event since the format was established in 2009.
• There are three newcomers to the opening round in this year’s field – Mobile (Ala.), Reinhardt (Ga.) and William Jessup (Calif.). Prior to the start of the opening round format, Mobile reached the World Series in 2001.
• Faulkner and Oklahoma City boast the most opening round championships with five each.
• The Appalachian Athletic Conference, Southern States Athletic Conference and The Sun Conference lead all leagues with four teams in the field. No conference has less than two teams.

2018 Baseball National Championship Opening Round Qualifiers

School Qualification Record^ Appearances% Record Titles
Antelope Valley (Calif.) NAIA West Group California Pacific Conference Regular-Season Champion 41-11-1 2nd 1-2 0
Bellevue (Neb.) North Star Athletic Association Tournament Champion 37-21 9th 14-15 1
British Columbia NAIA West Group Tournament Runner-up 28-24 7th 9-12 0
Bryan (Tenn.) At-Large 40-15 4th 5-6 0
Campbellsville (Ky.) Mid-South Conference Tournament Champion 36-15 8th 14-13 1
Central Methodist (Mo.) Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up 40-14 4th 1-6 0
Clarke (Iowa) Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 35-21-1 3rd 2-4 0
Cumberland (Tenn.) At-Large 34-19 6th 13-7 2
Cumberlands (Ky.) At-Large 46-9 2nd 1-2 0
Faulkner (Ala.) At-Large 50-7 9th 19-7 5
Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) American Midwest Conference Tournament Champion 40-14 4th 3-6 0
Georgia Gwinnett Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Runner-Up 45-10 5th 11-7 1
Indiana Tech Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 42-19 8th 12-14 0
Indiana Wesleyan Crossroads League Regular-Season Champion 37-18 2nd 1-2 0
IU Southeast (Ind.) River States Conference Regular-Season Champion 40-12 5th 5-8 0
Jamestown (N.D.) At-Large 41-9 7th 6-12 0
Judson (Ill.) Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 35-18 6th 3-10 0
Keiser (Fla.) At-Large 37-17 3rd 4-3 1
Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) World Series Host 38-11 n/a n/a n/a
LSU Alexandria (La.) Red River Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 32-25 4th 2-6 0
LSU Shreveport (La.) Red River Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 39-20 10th 15-14 2
Lyon (Ark.) American Midwest Conference Regular-Season Champion 36-15 4th 4-6 0
Madonna (Mich.) Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 36-16 6th 4-10 0
Marian (Ind.) Crossroads League Tournament Champion 24-25 2nd 1-2 0
Middle Georgia State Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 45-16 3rd 3-4 0
Midland (Neb.) Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up 32-20 5th 3-8 0
Mobile (Ala.) At-Large 42-15 1st 0-0 0
Northwestern (Iowa) Great Plains Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 30-18 4th 4-6 0
Oklahoma City Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up 47-7 9th 21-7 5
Oklahoma Wesleyan Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 51-6 4th 9-3 2
Point (Ga.) Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 34-23 3rd 5-3 1
Point Park (Pa.) River States Conference Tournament Champion 45-7 4th 3-4 1
Reinhardt (Ga.) At-Large 38-17 1st 0-0 0
Science & Arts (Okla.) Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 45-6 4th 7-2 1
Southeastern (Fla.) At-Large 51-7 4th 4-6 0
St. Thomas (Fla.) At-Large 53-7 7th 12-11 1
Talladega (Ala.) Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Champion 27-22 3rd 0-4 0
Taylor (Ind.) At-Large 43-14 6th 4-10 0
Tennessee Wesleyan Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up 37-19 10th 23-13 4
Trinity Christian (Ill.) Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 34-21 2nd 0-2 0
University of Northwestern Ohio At-Large 38-18 3rd 4-4 0
Webber International (Fla.) The Sun Conference Tournament Champion 35-22 2nd 1-2 0
Westmont (Calif.) At-Large 34-16 4th 4-6 0
William Carey (Miss.) At-Large 33-23 6th 12-9 1
William Jessup (Calif.) Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 38-15 1st 0-0 0
York (Neb.) Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up 26-26 6th 6-8 1


^Record as recorded in DakStats
%Includes 2018 appearance

Championship Information

NAIA Baseball Championship
Sports Rules - Baseball