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
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Judson (Ill.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion||35-18||6th||3-10||0|
|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|
|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|
|Science & Arts (Okla.)||Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Champion||45-6||4th||7-2||1|
|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|
|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|
|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