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2017 BASEBALL
 
 
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Baseball - Fri, May 13, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Opening Round Schedule | Video Selection Show) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 45-team field and brackets for the 2016 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The event, which is a five-team, double-elimination format, takes place May 17 – 20 at nine host locations. The nine Opening Round champions join Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at the 60th annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 27 – June 3.

The 45-team 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 received two automatic qualifiers, while leagues with less than 10 are given one. The Unaffiliated Group comprised of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) and the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference received three automatic berths due to its size (15 schools).

For the second year, 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 (NAC) Rules and Ratings Committee, the president of the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association and three at-large members. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria.

Overall, there are 23 repeat qualifiers from the 2015 National Championship Opening Round, including six teams that won their respective Opening Round last season – Davenport (Mich.), Faulkner (Ala.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), St. Thomas (Fla.), Tabor (Kan.) and Vanguard (Calif.).

This season's Opening Round marks the eighth year of the current format. Tennessee Wesleyan and LSU Shreveport (La.) are the only programs that hold the distinction of playing in every opening round since its inception in 2009. The Bulldogs own a 2016 qualifier-best 18 all-time wins in the event and trail only Faulkner (four) for the most Opening Round titles with three.

Seven programs punched their first-ever ticket to the event: Central Baptist (Ark.), Clarke (Iowa), Indiana Wesleyan, Middle Georgia State, Morningside (Iowa), Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) and Texas A&M-Texarkana. Six of the seven clubs claimed an automatic berth, while Middle Georgia State grabbed an at-large spot. Texas A&M-Texarkana reached postseason in the team's first season.

A.I.I. Tournament champion and top-ranked Georgia Gwinnett enters the championship field with an NAIA-best 55 wins. Jamestown (N.D.) (50-9), which claimed an at-large berth, is the only other club in the field with 50-or-more wins.

Six qualifiers have previously won a World Series title, led by defending national champion Lewis-Clark State's 17. The Warriors also own the record for World Series victories (133) and appearances (35 – including 2016). Bellevue (Neb.) (1995), College of Idaho (1998), Faulkner (2013), Tennessee Wesleyan (2012) and William Carey (Miss.) (1969).

The Southern States Athletic Conference leads all leagues with four teams in the field – Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), Faulkner, Middle Georgia State and William Carey. Nine other conferences are represented by three teams.

Last season, three top-seeds earned a trip to Harris Field with an Opening Round title. Arguably the biggest surprise from the 2015 event was fourth-seed Vanguard's (Calif.) title at the Santa Clarita Bracket. The title made the Lions only the second team seeded lower than third to reach the World Series – former member Rogers State (Okla.) in 2013 was the other.

For more information on the 2016 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round and Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, click here.

By Alan Grosbach, NAIA Manager of Communications and Sports Information

2016 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round Qualifiers

School

Qualification

Record^

OR Appearances%

OR Record

OR Titles

Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)

Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up

42-15

5th

7-8

0

Avila (Mo.)

Heart of America Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion

33-24

4th

5-6

0

Bellevue (Neb.)

North Star Athletic Association Regular-Season Champion

47-9

7th

8-12

0

British Columbia

NAIA West Group Regular-Season Runner-Up

38-20

6th

8-10

0

Campbellsville (Ky.)

Mid-South Conference Tournament Champion

36-15

6th

9-9

1

Central Baptist (Ark.)

American Midwest Conference Tournament Champion

44-14

1st

0-0

0

Central Methodist (Mo.)

Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

43-15

2nd

0-2

0

Clarke (Iowa)

Unaffiliated Group (A.I.I./GCAC) - Tournament Runner-Up

37-15

1st

0-0

0

College of Idaho

NAIA West Group Tournament Runner-Up

38-20

3rd

4-3

1

Davenport (Mich.)

At-Large

41-15

3rd

4-3

1

Faulkner (Ala.)

Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

46-12

7th

13-6

4

Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.)

At-Large

40-17

3rd

2-4

0

Georgia Gwinnett

Unaffiliated Group (A.I.I./GCAC) - Tournament Champion

55-4

3rd

7-3

1

Indiana Tech

Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up

39-18

6th

8-10

0

Indiana Wesleyan

Crossroads League Co-Tournament Champion

36-23-1

1st

0-0

0

IU Southeast (Ind.)

At-Large

42-13

3rd

1-4

0

Jamestown (N.D.)

At-Large

50-9

6th

6-10

0

Keiser (Fla.)

The Sun Conference Tournament Champion

37-20

2nd

1-2

0

Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)

World Series Host

48-7

n/a

n/a

n/a

Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)

At-Large

37-22

4th

8-4

1

LSU Shreveport (La.)

Red River Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

38-18

8th

14-10

2

Madonna (Mich.)

Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion

41-15

5th

4-8

0

Mayville State (N.D.)

North Star Athletic Association Tournament Runner-Up

31-28

5th

4-8

0

Middle Georgia State

At-Large

39-16

1st

0-0

0

Midland (Neb.)

Great Plains Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion

41-18-1

3rd

0-4

0

Missouri Baptist

American Midwest Conference Tournament Runner-Up

42-13

7th

11-11

1

Morningside (Iowa)

Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

43-14

1st

0-0

0

Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)

Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion

39-15

1st

0-0

0

Point (Ga.)

Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up

30-28

2nd

1-2

0

Rio Grande (Ohio)

Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

37-23

3rd

4-4

0

Saint Xavier (Ill.)

Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

30-24

2nd

2-2

0

Science & Arts (Okla.)

Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

45-11

2nd

1-2

0

St. Thomas (Fla.)

At-Large

35-20

5th

9-7

1

Sterling (Kan.)

Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

47-13

5th

7-6

1

Tabor (Kan.)

Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion

42-16

5th

12-5

2

Taylor (Ind.)

Crossroads League Regular-Season Champion

40-16-1

5th

4-8

0

Tennessee Wesleyan

Appalachian Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion

45-12

8th

18-10

3

Texas A&M-Texarkana

Unaffiliated Group (A.I.I./GCAC) - Tournament Third-Place

31-18

1st

0-0

0

Texas Wesleyan

At-Large

39-17

4th

8-6

0

The Master's (Calif.)

Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Champion

38-17

5th

4-6

1

USC Beaufort (S.C.)

At-Large

43-12

4th

7-5

1

Vanguard (Calif.)

At-Large

37-15-1

4th

7-4

1

Wayland Baptist (Texas)

At-Large

44-15

2nd

3-2

0

Westmont (Calif.)

At-Large

41-11

3rd

3-4

0

William Carey (Miss.)

At-Large

37-19

4th

5-6

0

York (Neb.)

At-Large

44-15

5th

4-6

1


^Overall record as of May 13, 2016 via DakStats
% includes 2016 Opening Round