Eagles Headed to South Carolina for NAIA Opening Round
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Asbury baseball will be the 5th seed in the NAIA Opening Round hosted by the University of South Carolina Beaufort in Hardeeville, S.C. The five-team tournament opens up on Thursday May 10 with Asbury taking on 4th seed Union (Tenn.). Other teams in the tournament include top seed Faulkner and second seeded St. Thomas (Fla.). USC Beaufort is the third seed in the tournament.
Asbury and Union open the tournament on Thursday, May 10 at 10 am. The winner will play again against top seed Faulkner on Thursday at 6 pm, the loser will play again on Friday at 10 am.
Complete bracket information can be found on the tournament homepage here.
The Eagles (18-37) earned their first bid to the NAIA Opening Round by winning the Unaffiliated Grouping Tournament by beating now No. 12 Point Park two-out-of-three times. The Unaffiliated Tournament paired teams from the America Mideast, Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic and Gulf Coast Athletic conferences. Asbury also won the KIAC Tournament Title which got them into the Unaffiliated Tournament.
Asbury is one of 15 teams making their first appearance in the Opening Round, and is making their first trip to any part of the National Tournament after the format was changed beginning with the 2009 season.
First round opponent Union (Tenn.) (37-17) qualified by winning the Transouth Conference Tournament. They finished second in the TSAC behind Freed-Hardeman with a 14-8-1 mark in league play. Union is making their fourth trip to the Opening Round and holds a 2-6 record.
Top seed Faulkner (48-11) will play the winner of the Asbury-Union game. Faulkner qualified as the Southern States Athletic Conference Runner-up, losing to Lee University in the championship game. Faulkner won the SSAC Regular Season with a 27-3 mark. Faulkner is making their third appearance in the Opening Round and has a 3-3 record in the tournament.
St. Thomas (Fla.) (43-12) finished third in the regular season in The Sun Conference and earned their way to the Opening Round by winning the conference tournament. The Bobcats are making their third appearance in the Opening Round and have compiled a 4-4 record. St. Thomas finished third in The Sun regular season behind USC-Beaufort and Embry-Riddle.
USCB (35-15), the only non-champion in this bracket, received the 6th at-large selection. The Sand Sharks finished one game ahead of St. Thomas in The Sun Conference regular season and were eliminated in the conference tournament in by Embry-Riddle.
Times will be announced at a later time as well as options for following the Eagles in South Carolina (video, audio, live stats, etc.).
The NAIA Opening Round started in 2009 as a change from the old regional pairings, allowing for more teams from one area to qualify for the NAIA World Series. The World Series will be held in Lewiston, Idaho by Lewis-Clark State beginning on May 25.