By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Opening Round Brackets | Bracket Video Show) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the seeds and brackets for the 2014 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. Each of the nine locations will feature a five-team, double-elimination tournament.
Opening Round champions will join host Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at the 58th annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series at Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho, May 23 – 30.
Brackets for the Opening Round are based upon the following prioritized criteria: geographical location of teams, financial consideration and the final regular-season NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released earlier today. Every attempt is made to not pair institutions within the same conference, Association of Independents or unaffiliated group, however this may be unavoidable in certain circumstances.
The Opening Round field consists of 31 automatic qualifiers and 14 at-large berths. Automatic qualification is given to conference regular-season champions, conference tournament champions or conference tournament runners-up, depending on the league. Conferences with 10-or-more members receive two automatic qualifiers, while leagues with less than 10 are given one. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.
Twelve programs within the field are making their first-ever appearance at the Opening Round, while three teams – Embry-Riddle (Fla.), LSU Shreveport (La.) and Oklahoma City – have played in every event since the format was established in 2009.
The Golden State Athletic Conference leads all conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups with four qualifiers in the national championship field. Five other leagues landed three programs.
For more information on the 2014 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round and Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, click here.