NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round Day Two Recap
Day Two Highlights
There were 27 games played on day one of the 2021 Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The Marion Bracket in Marion, Ind., was able to play four to get back on schedule for Wednesday’s action while the O’Fallon Bracket in O’Fallon, Mo., dealt with more severe weather causing another game to get pushed to later in the week.
Bellevue (Neb.) followed its win over No. 1-seeded Science & Arts (Okla.) on Monday with a 7-3 win over Concordia (Neb.) on Tuesday. The Bruins are one of two, No. 4-seeds that will play for an Opening Round title on Wednesday.
Day two in Kingsport gave fans more than they bargained for. IU Southeast (Ind.) stunned a four-loss Tennessee Wesleyan squad to send the Bulldogs to an elimination game on Wednesday morning. Tennessee Wesleyan entered as the No. 1 overall seed and now sits with a 52-5 overall record.
Science & Arts (Okla.) was one of two top seeds to be eliminated on day two. The Drovers dropped a 6-4 decision to MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.). The Pioneers move-on to face Concordia (Neb.) on Wednesday in game one of the day in the Bellevue Bracket.
Reinhardt (Ga.) also provided a thrilling upset as the Eagles triumphed over Cumberlands (Ky.) 5-1. The loss was the second and final for the top seed in the Williamsburg Bracket.
Both Point Park (Pa.) and Bellevue (Neb.) are 3-0 as No. 4-seeds heading into Wednesday. Both are one win away from punching their ticket to Lewiston, Idaho for the Avista NAIA World Series.
Hope International (Calif.) remained perfect in the Santa Barbara Bracket after handing No. 1-seeded Georgia Gwinnett its first loss, 8-5. The Royals overcame a one-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh with a three-run effort.
In a day of highlights, Oklahoma City provided a spark of its own as the first game to go to extra innings in the 2021 NAIA Baseball Opening Rounds. The Stars tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run inning to send its game against Benedictine (Kan.) to extras. After the Ravens plated another run in the 12th, the Stars tied it yet again before etching their name into NAIA Baseball Championship lore yet again. Fredric Walter hit a walk-off home run to center with one out on a 1-2 pitch to breathe life back into Oklahoma City.
Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) got in on the fun from the No. 4-seed slot as the Lions knocked-off St. Thomas (Fla.) 7-6 in an elimination game. Things do not get easier for Freed-Hardeman, however, as it will face top-seeded Vanguard (Calif.) in an elimination game on Wednesday morning. The winner of that contest earns a date with Faulkner (Ala.) on Wednesday afternoon and would need to win force an if-necessary game on Thursday to play for a spot in Idaho.
The most runs scored on the day was 20 from Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio). The Cougars jumped-out to 15 runs in the first inning.
Mount Vernon Nazarene third baseman Aaron Saal tied an NAIA Opening Round record for doubles in a game with three.
Records by seeds through day two
No. 1 seed: 8-8
No. 2 seed: 14-4
No. 3 seed: 11-12
No. 4 seed: 12-12
No. 5 seed: 6-15
Records by seeds on day two
No. 1 seed: 4-6
No. 2 seed: 6-3
No. 3 seed: 10-4
No. 4 seed: 4-6
No. 5 seed: 3-8
The 12th annual opening round event takes place from May 17-20 at nine host locations. The format is a five-team, double-elimination tournament.
The nine opening round champions join Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at the 64th annual Avista NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 28 – June 4.
For Schedule and Results