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NAIA Baseball National Championship Qualifiers Revealed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The NAIA has announced the 45-team field and pairings for the 2021 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The 12th annual event takes place May 17-20 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 64th annual Avista NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 28 – June 4. For more information on the World Series, click here.

The field consists of 30 automatic qualifiers – given to conference regular-season champions, tournament champions or tournament runners-up – and 15 at-large teams. Conferences with 10-or-more members receive two automatic qualifiers, while leagues with less than 10 get one. This season due to COVID, any conference was allowed a drop of up to three schools from its original total in order to keep multiple bids. Any conference that started with six schools was guaranteed to keep its bid.

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, a member of the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association Executive Committee and three at-large members. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria.

Institution Qualifying Method 2021 Record Appearances Last Time OR Titles Opening Round Record
Bellevue (Neb.) At-Large 38-16 11 2019 2 18-17
Benedictine (Kan.) At-Large 34-14 1 N/A 0 0-0
Benedictine Mesa (Ariz.) At-Large 31-14 1 N/A 0 0-0
Bryan (Tenn.) Appalachian Pool B Champion 35-16 6 2019 0 6-10
Central Methodist (Mo.) Heart Tournament Champion 43-6 4 2019 0 2-6
Columbia (Mo.) AMC Tournament Champion 36-9 2 2019 0 2-2
Concordia (Neb.) GPAC Regular Season/Tournament Champion 38-9 3 2019 0 2-4
Corban (Ore.) Cascade Tournament Runner-Up 22-29 1 N/A 0 0-0
Cumberlands (Ky.) Mid-South Tournament Champion 46-6 4 2019 0 4-6
Doane (Neb.) GPAC Regular Season Runner-Up 35-17-1 4 2014 0 4-6
Faulkner (Ala.) At-Large 35-9 11 2019 7 25-7
Fisher (Mass.) A.I.I. Tournament Runner-Up 31-20 1 N/A 0 0-0
Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) Mid-South Tournament Runner-Up 26-23 6 2019 2 10-7
Georgia Gwinnett A.I.I. Tournament Champion 42-9 7 2019 3 17-7
Hope International (Calif.) At-Large 27-13 3 2019 1 6-2
Indiana Tech WHAC Regular Season Champion 31-25 10 2019 1 17-16
Indiana Wesleyan Crossroads Regular Season/Tournament Champion 43-12 3 2018 0 1-4
IU Southeast (Ind.) River States Tournament Champion 45-14 7 2019 0 8-12
Keiser (Fla.) At-Large 33-16 2 2018 0 1-2
Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) World Series Host Berth 41-4 N/A N/A 0 0-0
Loyola (La.) At-Large 36-13 1 N/A 0 0-0
LSU Shreveport (La.) Red River Tournament Champion 40-13 12 2019 2 16-18
Mayville State (N.D.) North Star Tournament Champion 35-16 7 2017 0 4-12
McPherson (Kan.) At-Large 36-13 1 N/A 0 0-0
MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) Heart Tournament Runner Up 39-14 4 2017 0 3-6
Middle Georgia State At-Large 34-19 5 2019 0 6-8
Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) Crossroads Tournament Runner Up 32-19 7 2015 0 5-12
Northwestern Ohio WHAC Tournament Champion 29-17 4 2018 1 8-4
Oklahoma City At-Large 33-17 11 2019 6 24-10
Oklahoma Wesleyan KCAC Regular Season Champion 46-8 6 2019 2 13-7
Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) Chicagoland Regular Season/Tournament Champion 36-18 3 2019 0 1-4
Ottawa (Kan.) KCAC Tournament Champion 35-18 1 N/A 0 0-0
Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) Red River Regular Season Champion 34-17 1 N/A 0 0-0
Point Park (Pa.) River States Tournament Runner-Up 37-14 5 2018 1 5-6
Reinhardt (Ga.) At-Large 32-19 2 2018 1 3-1
Saint Katherine (Calif.) CalPac Tournament Champion 29-16 1 N/A 0 0-0
Saint Xavier (Ill.) Chicagoland Tournament Runner-Up 32-25 4 2019 0 2-6
Science & Arts (Okla.) Sooner Tournament Champion 34-10 6 2019 2 11-4
Southeastern (Fla.) The Sun Tournament Champion 47-7 6 2019 2 10-6
St. Thomas (Fla.) At-Large 33-19 9 2019 3 18-11
Tennessee Wesleyan Appalachian Pool A Champion 51-4 12 2019 5 29-16
USC Beaufort (S.C.) At-Large 31-21 5 2016 1 8-7
Vanguard (Calif.) GSAC Tournament Champion 37-14 5 2016 1 10-6
Warner (Fla.) At-Large 33-21 2 2009 0 0-2
Westmont (Calif.) At-Large 27-18 6 2019 0 7-10
William Carey (Miss.) SSAC Tournament Champion 34-10 7 2018 1 15-11
Opening Round Notes

Overall, there are 23 repeat qualifiers from the 2019 opening round, including all nine teams that won opening round titles last season – Bellevue (Neb.), Faulkner (Ala.), Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Georgia Gwinnett, Indiana Tech, Science & Arts (Okla.), Southeastern (Fla.), St. Thomas (Fla.), and Tennessee Wesleyan.
Tennessee Wesleyan is the lone team in the field with 50 or more wins at 51-4 overall. Southeastern has the next highest win total at 47-7.
LSU Shreveport (La.) and Tennessee Wesleyan are back in the field for a 12th time, which leads the field. These two clubs are the only NAIA teams to have participated in every event since the format was established in 2009. Bellevue (Neb.), Indiana Tech, Bellevue, Faulkner, and Oklahoma City all have 10 or more appearances.
There are nine newcomers to the opening round in this year’s field in Benedictine (Kan.), Benedictine Mesa (Ariz.), Corban (Ore.), Fisher (Mass.), Loyola (La.), McPherson (Kan.), Ottawa (Kan.), Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) and Saint Katherine (Calif.).
Faulkner has the honor of the most opening round championships with seven. 19 teams in the 2021 field have at least one opening round championship to their credit.
The Sun Conference leads all leagues with five teams in the 2021 field. The Southern States is second on that list with four. Four leagues checked-in with three teams.