Bat Pats qualify for NAIA Opening Round

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) officially announced the 45-team field for the 2015 NAIA National Championship Opening Round. The event will take place 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 59th annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 22-29.

     The official pairings for the Opening Round were unveiled earlier tonight in the bracket show. The Patriot Baseball team will be heading to Lawrenceville, Georgia to compete in the Lawrenceville Bracket. This will be the first ever trip to the NAIA National Baseball Tournament in the history of the baseball program.

“I am really proud of our guys for qualifying for the National Tournament. They have put in the work this season for this moment and they deserve it,” stated Patriot baseball coach, Luther Bramblett. “We are proud to be able to represent the Mid-South Conference,” noted Bramblett.

     The Bat Pats are the No. 4 seed in the Lawrenceville Bracket hosted by top-seeded Georgia Gwinnett in Lawrenceville, Ga. Their opening game will be on Tuesday, May 12 at 11 a.m. ET against fifth-seeded Spring Arbor (Mich.). The winner of that match-up advances to play Georgia Gwinnett later that day. No. 2 seed Westmont (Calif.) and No. 3 seed St. Thomas (Fla.) meet in the other opening-round game.

     The Patriots (37-15) – who are coming off a runner-up finish in the Mid-South Conference Tournament – are one of the four conference runners-up in the bracket. They join Georgia Gwinnett (AII), St. Thomas (Sun) and Westmont (Golden State). The teams enter the tournament with records of 47-12, 41-15 and 39-15, respectively. Spring Arbor, 30-16 this season, is the only conference champion from the Crossroads League.

     The Opening Round field is comprised of 29 automatic qualifiers – given to conference regular-season champions, tournament champions or tournament runners-up – and 16 at-large teams. Conference with 10-or-more members received two automatic qualifiers, while leagues with less than 10 are given one.
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