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Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series Preview

May 23, 2013
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By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information

LEWISTON, Idaho – (Schedule | Bracket) First pitch for the 57th annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series is scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m. PDT when No. 8 Sterling (Kan.) and No. 9 Missouri Baptist square off at Harris Field. The 10-team double elimination championship is being hosted by Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) for the 14th-consecutive year and 22nd overall.

After the conclusion of the Sterling and Missouri Baptist game, No. 4 Northwood (Texas) and No. 5 The Master’s (Calif.) do battle at noon, followed by No. 3 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and No. 6 York (Neb.) at 3 p.m. and No. 7 Lewis-Clark State and No. 10 Rogers State (Okla.) at 7 p.m.

No. 1 Faulkner (Ala.) and No. 2 Lee (Tenn.) open action on Saturday. The Eagles play the winner of Sterling and Missouri Baptist at 3 p.m., while the Flames face off against either Lewis-Clark State or Rogers State at 6:30 p.m.

Four of last year’s 10 World Series qualifiers return to the field, including Lee who is making its seventh-straight trip to Harris Field following a 14-0 victory over Avila (Mo.) in the Cleveland (Tenn.) Bracket title game. Behind the Flames is Embry-Riddle with six-straight appearances. The Master’s snaps the longest drought amongst the qualifiers who have made at least one trip to the World Series, as the Mustangs earned a spot for the first time since 2000. Faulkner makes the field for the first time since 2011.

Four teams punched their first-ever ticket to Lewiston with a NAIA Baseball Championship Opening Round title. Newcomers include: Missouri Baptist, Northwood, Sterling and York. Of the newcomers, Missouri Baptist was the last team to qualify for the World Series. The Spartans avenged an earlier round loss to defending national champion Tennessee Wesleyan with two-straight victories, including a 19-inning marathon win (4-3) on May 13 in the Kingsport Bracket. The contest is the longest game (innings) in NAIA baseball postseason history.

Lewis-Clark State boasts the World Series record for appearances, playing in its 32nd overall event and 14th-straight this season. The Warriors have won the title a record 16 times – last coming in 2008 – and own a NAIA record mark of 120-39. Lewis-Clark State is the only team amongst the 2013 qualifiers with a World Series crown.

Top-seeded Faulkner enters the event with an NAIA-best 51 wins this season. The Eagles, who have won 13 of their last 14 games, are the only program with 50-or-more victories in the NAIA. Lee rests one game shy of the 50-win plateau with 49, while Embry-Riddle and Sterling own 48 each.

The Southern States Athletic Conference, represented by Faulkner and Lee, is the only league with more than one team playing in the World Series this season. Last year, three conferences had multiple teams reach Lewiston.

Defending national champion Tennessee Wesleyan’s failure to advance out of the Opening Round marks the third-straight season that the defending national champion has not reached the World Series.

NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of 18 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting the first 17 games of the 2013 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series (May 24 – 29). Single day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-World Series pass is available for $29.95. For more information, including how to test your computer and internet connection, click here. The championship final May 30 and the “if necessary” game May 31 will be streamed live on www.ESPN3.com.

For more information on the 2013 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, click here.

2013 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series/Opening Round Facts
Portions of this information courtesy of Denny Grubb and www.naiaworldseries.com
• The Opening Round format as a means for World Series qualification was first established in 2009. Prior to that, teams qualified for the World Series using a regional format. The 2013 season, marks the first year that NAIA softball has used an Opening Round model.
• 103 schools have participated in the Opening Round over the course of five years.
• In 2013, No. 1 seeds won 6-of-9 Opening Round championships.
• Rogers State (Okla.) became the first team seeded fourth or lower to win an Opening Round title with an 8-4 victory against No. 1 seed Lubbock Christian on May 11.
• Over the course of 57 years, the World Series has traveled to 10 different sites across eight states. This year marks the 14th-consecutive and 22nd overall that the event has been held in Lewiston, Idaho. From 1985 to 1991, teams embarked upon Lewiston and returned in 2000 to present day. St. Joseph, Mo., hosted the World Series for 13 years, which is the second-most amongst hosts.
• Thirty different programs have won the baseball national championship, seven of which claimed the title multiple times. Lewis-Clark State leads all programs with 16 banners, followed by Grand Canyon (Ariz.) with four and Lewis (Ill.) with three. David Lipscomb (Tenn.), Lubbock Christian (Texas) and Cumberland (Tenn.) have each twice won the World Series crown.
• Twenty-three teams have played in the title game, but have not taken home the banner, including 2013 qualifiers Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (2005), Lee (Tenn.) (2008, 2010) and Rogers State (2013).
• Embry-Riddle owns the record for most appearances without winning a championship with 12. Point Park (Pa.) is second with 11 trips, while Dallas Baptist (Texas) and Southeastern Oklahoma have made 10 appearances without winning a title.
• Since the inaugural World Series in 1957, 41 states have been represented in the championship game (including Canadian providences).
• The national championship has been pushed into extra innings five times, with the last happening in 2006. The longest title game occurred in 1968 as William Jewell (Mo.) defeated Georgia Southern, 4-3, in 13 innings.
• Fifteen title games have been decided by one run with the last coming in 2010. It has been 17 years since the national champion won by shutout.
• The first World Series was played in Alpine, Texas in 1957. Sul Ross State (Texas) won the title that year with an 8-7 victory over Rollins (Fla.).
• In the 21 years the event has been held in Lewiston, 777,904 people have attended the World Series (1,984 per game average).