By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 45-team field for the 2014 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The event will take place from May 12 – 15 at nine different locations. Each site will feature a five-team, double-elimination tournament with the winners joining host Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at the 58th annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 23 – 30.
A video show will release the seeding and brackets for the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round today at 7 p.m. CDT. To access the show, click here.
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 released earlier today.
Four squads within the field have participated in every Opening Round since the format began in 2009 – Embry-Riddle (Fla.), LSU Shreveport (La.), Oklahoma City and Tennessee Wesleyan. Embry-Riddle is acting as a host for the sixth-straight season and highlights the trio with five Opening Round titles. The Eagles, who have only lost once all-time in the opening round – 7-0 against The Sun Conference rival St. Thomas (Fla.) in 2010 – are tied with Oklahoma City for the most Opening Round victories among the qualifiers with 15 each.
Defending World Series champion Faulkner (Ala.) returns to the National Championship Opening Round for the fifth-straight year. The Eagles, who ended the season with a 46-14 overall record, claimed an automatic berth out of the Southern States Athletic Conference with a runner-up finish in the league tournament.
Overall, 21 teams are back after a 2013 National Championship Opening Round appearance, while 12 teams punched a ticket for the first time. This year’s newcomers include Bryan (Tenn.), Davenport (Mich.), Friends (Kan.), Georgia Gwinnett, LSU Alexandria (La.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Oklahoma Wesleyan, Point (Ga.), Southeastern (Fla.), Talladega (Ala.), Viterbo (Wis.) and Westmont (Calif.)
The Golden State Athletic Conference – The Master’s (Calif.), San Diego Christian (Calif.), Vanguard (Calif.) and Westmont – leads all conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups with four qualifiers in the national championship field. Five other leagues landed three programs.
Seven qualifiers have previously won a World Series title, led by Lewis-Clark State’s 16. The Warriors also own the World Series record for victories with 124 in 32 previous appearances. Bellevue (Neb.) (1), Cumberland (Tenn.) (2), Faulkner (1), Oklahoma City (1), St. Francis (Ill.) and Tennessee Wesleyan (1) are the other squads with at least one red banner.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of 17 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting the first 15 games of the 2014 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series (May 23 – 27). 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 semifinals (May 28), championship final (May 29) and the “if necessary” game (May 30) will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
For more information on the 2014 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round and Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, click here.2014 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round Qualifiers
|School||Qualification||Record^||OR Appearances%||OR Record||OR Titles|
|Bacone (Okla.)||Red River Athletic Tournament Champion||34-18||2 (2012)||1-2||0|
|Belhaven (Miss.)*||At-Large No. 8||40-19||4 (2011)||8-4||1|
|Bellevue (Neb.)||At-Large No. 5||37-15-2||5 (2013)||4-8||0|
|Brewton-Parker (Ga.)||At-Large No. 3||32-11||3 (2011)||2-4||0|
|British Columbia||Unaffiliated Group - NAIA West Tournament Champion||32-11||4 (2011)||4-6||0|
|Bryan (Tenn.)||Appalachian Athletic Tournament Champion||33-26||1||0-0||0|
|Culver-Stockton (Mo.)||Heart of America Athletic Tournament Runner-Up||29-26||2 (2011)||1-2||0|
|Cumberland (Tenn.)||Mid-South Tournament Champion||40-18||5 (2013)||9-6||1|
|Davenport (Mich.)||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Tournament Champion||41-15||1||0-0||0|
|Doane (Neb.)||Great Plains Athletic Regular-Season Champion||42-9||3 (2012)||4-4||0|
|Embry-Riddle (Fla.)*||The Sun Regular-Season Champion||37-19||6 (2013)||15-1||5|
|Faulkner (Ala.)*||Southern States Athletic Tournament Runner-Up||46-14||5 (2013)||7-6||2|
|Friends (Kan.)||At-Large No. 13||36-23||1||0-0||0|
|Georgetown (Ky.)||Mid-South Regular-Season Champion||42-8||3 (2013)||1-4||0|
|Georgia Gwinnett*||Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Champion||48-10||1||0-0||0|
|Houston-Victoria (Texas)||Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Runner-Up||23-31||3 (2010)||3-4||0|
|Jamestown (N.D.)||Unaffiliated Group - Frontier/North Star Tournament Champion||35-8||5 (2013)||5-8||0|
|Judson (Ill.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Tournament Champion||42-17||3 (2013)||3-4||0|
|Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||Avista-NAIA World Series Host||43-7||---||---||---|
|LSU Alexandria (La.)||At-Large No. 14||34-23||1||0-0||0|
|LSU Shreveport (La.)||At-Large No. 2||42-16||6 (2013)||8-6||2|
|Mayville State (N.D.)||At-Large No. 10||40-14||3 (2013)||1-4||0|
|MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||Heart of America Athletic Tournament Champion||36-13||1||0-0||0|
|Midland (Neb.)||Great Plains Athletic Tournament Champion||42-17||2 (2013)||0-2||0|
|Missouri Baptist||American Midwest Tournament Runner-Up||45-12||5 (2013)||7-7||1|
|Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio)||Crossroads Regular-Season Champion||42-10||5 (2013)||3-8||0|
|Northwestern (Iowa)||At-Large No. 6||41-11||3 (2013)||3-4||0|
|Oklahoma Baptist*||Sooner Athletic Tournament Champion||50-6||4 (2013)||7-4||1|
|Oklahoma City||Sooner Athletic Tournament Runner-Up||35-17||6 (2013)||15-3||4|
|Oklahoma Wesleyan||Midlands Collegiate Athletic Tournament Champion||52-6||1||0-0||0|
|Point (Ga.)||Appalachian Athletic Tournament Runner-Up||31-25||1||0-0||0|
|Point Park (Pa.)||Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Tournament Champion||40-16||3 (2013)||3-2||1|
|San Diego Christian (Calif.)||At-Large No. 1||39-18||2 (2013)||2-2||0|
|Southeastern (Fla.)||The Sun Tournament Champion||44-14||1||0-0||0|
|Southern Poly (Ga.)||Southern States Athletic Tournament Champion||42-16||5 (2012)||7-6||1|
|Spring Arbor (Mich.)||Crossroads Tournament Champion||31-15||2 (2009)||0-2||0|
|St. Francis (Ill.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Regular-Season Champion||36-20||4 (2012)||6-6||0|
|Sterling (Kan.)||At-Large No. 11||39-18||3 (2013)||5-2||1|
|Tabor (Kan.)*||Kansas Collegiate Athletic Tournament Champion||46-11||3 (2013)||5-4||0|
|Talladega (Ala.)||At-Large No. 9||39-18||1||0-0||0|
|Tennessee Wesleyan||At-Large No. 12||33-22-1||6 (2013)||14-6||3|
|The Master's (Calif.)*||At-Large No. 4||37-16||3 (2013)||4-2||1|
|Vanguard (Calif.)||At-Large No. 7||31-21||2 (2010)||2-2||0|
|Viterbo (Wis.)||Midwest Collegiate Tournament Champion||31-18||1||0-0||0|
|Westmont (Calif.)||Golden State Athletic Tournament Champion||38-17||1||0-0||0|
|William Woods (Mo.)||American Midwest Tournament Champion||39-10||2 (2011)||2-2||0|
* Opening Round Host Institution
^ Record from DakStats as of May 9 at 10 a.m. CDT
% Includes 2014 appearance
Year in parentheses indicates last Opening Round appearance