The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 46 qualifiers for the 2010 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round, and Wayland Baptist failed to nab one of the at-large bids. WBU, which was ranked 31st in the final NAIA Coaches Poll, fell just two places short of making the 46-team field.
This year's field is comprised of 32 automatic qualifiers from NAIA affiliated conferences, Association of Independent Institutions and unaffiliated groupings and 14 at-larges, which were determined using the final Top 25 rating released on Wednesday. A year ago, the top 33 teams in the final rankings made the cut, but upsets in several conference tournaments were a major blow to Wayland's chances this spring.
The Pioneers finish up the year with a record of 32-19. They picked up three wins on Wednesday when it was learned that Bellevue University had to forfeit all but two of their games this season for using an ineligible player. Bellevue took three-out-of-four from Wayland back in February at Wilder Field.
Only two teams from the Sooner Athletic Conference get to advance. Lubbock Christian, the SAC regular season champion, and Oklahoma City, the tournament champion, received automatic bids to the Opening Round Tournament, which will be held May 18-21 at nine different sites. The list of official National Championship Opening Round host sites is: Cleveland, Tenn., Columbus, Ga., Daytona Beach, Fla., Fresno, Calif., Jackson, Miss., Joliet, Ill., Lubbock, Texas, Oklahoma City, Okla., and Riverside, Calif.
The winners of those nine National Championship Opening Round tournaments, in addition to host school Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), will meet at the final site of the 54th Annual Avista-NAIA World Series from May 28-June 4 in Lewiston, Idaho. The 10-team, official bracket for the Avista-NAIA World Series will be announced by 7 p.m. CDT on May 21.