KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Bellevue University baseball team will travel to Bowling Green, Ky. for the 2018 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round – Bowling Green Bracket. The Opening Round will take place from May 14-17 at BG Ballpark hosted by the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Bruins (37-21, 17-5 NSAA) will be the fourth seed in the bracket and open against a familiar foe in 5th-seeded Midland (Neb.) (32-20) a team they split a pair of games with during the regular season. They'll be joined in the bracket by top-seeded Science & Arts (Okla.) (45-6), 2nd-seeded Campbellsville (Ky.) (36-15), and 3rd-seeded Reinhardt (Ga.) (38-17).
Bellevue qualified for an automatic berth by defeating Presentation College, 21-1, in the North Star Athletic Association Tournament Championship Game on May 7.
Following a 10-13 start to the campaign the Bruins have won 27 of their last 34 contests to enter the field as one of the hottest teams in the nation. Over the course of the team's last 15 games (13-2), the bats have come alive as BU has averaged 12.0 runs per game and hit .388 as a team. The pitching in that same span has posted a 3.43 ERA and averaged 10.45 strikeouts per nine innings as a staff.
The Opening Round consists of nine five-team double-elimination tournaments across the country that will be conducted from May 14-17 with the winner of each bracket advancing to the 62nd Avista-NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. The World Series is a 10-team double-elimination tournament and will be played from May 25-June 1 at Harris Field on the campus of Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State College. Last season LC State defeated Faulkner (Ala.) 6-4 to secure their third-straight NAIA National Championship.
BU is receiving votes in the latest NAIA Top 25 Poll. Science & Arts and Campbellsville are ranked eighth and 21st, respectively, while Reinhardt is also receiving votes.
Bellevue is making their 20th National Tournament Appearance and ninth Opening Round Appearance (eighth-straight). Last year Bellevue reached the Championship Round of the Opening Round before succumbing to Science & Arts (Okla.).
The Bruins will be looking to make their 14th Avista-NAIA World Series Appearance in the program's storied history.
NAIA National Championship Opening Round
Bowling Green Bracket | BG Ballpark | Hosted by Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau
Monday, May 14:
Game 1: #4 Bellevue def. #5 Midland, 7-1
Game 2: #3 Reinhardt def. #2 Campbellsville, 8-3
Game 3: #1 Science & Arts def. #4 Bellevue, 15-5
Game 4: #2 Campbellsville def. #5 Midland, 11-5 (Midland eliminated)
Tuesday, May 15:
Game 5: #3 Reinhardt def. #1 Science & Arts, 7-6 (10 Inn.)
Game 6: #2 Campbellsville def. #4 Bellevue, 9-7 (Bellevue eliminated)
Game 7: #2 Campbellsville def. #1 Science & Arts, 7-5 (Science & Arts eliminated)
Wednesday, May 16:
Game 8: #2 Campbellsville def. #3 Reinhardt, 10-7
Game 9: #3 Reinardt def. #2 Campbellsville, 5-1 (Campbellsville eliminated)
Reinhardt advances to Avista-NAIA World Series