Three Sooner Athletic Conference Schools were among the 45 teams awarded bids to the 2017 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. League champion Oklahoma City University, Texas Wesleyan and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma each have been assigned to a five-team, double-elimination regional that takes place May 15 – 18 at nine host locations.
OCU, the nation's No. 1 team with a 45-8 record, will host a regional that features that features, Mayville State (N.D.) (46-10), Campbellsville (Ky.) (33-19), Friends (Kan.) (31-20) and College of Idaho. (24-28). The Stars first game will be Monday at 6 p.m. against the winner of the Friends vs. College of Idaho game.
TWU, owners of a 45-13 record, will play in a region at Hattiesburg, Miss. The Rams are the second seed and will play host William Carey (Miss.) (37-17) in their first game. Other teams in the regional are Southeastern (Fla.) (48-9), Lyon (Ark.) (34-22) and LSU Alexandria (La.) (33-22).
USAO, owners of a 41-15 record, will play in the Bellevue (Neb). The Drovers are the second seed and will play third-seeded Davenport (Mich.) (41-15). Other teams in the region include Bellevue (Neb.) (49-9), Antelope Valley (Calif.) (36-16) and Judson (Ill.) (37-18)
The nine Opening Round champions join Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at the 61st annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 26 – June 2.
The 45-team 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 received two automatic qualifiers, while leagues with less than 10 are given one.