Kansas City, Mo. - Led by head coach Mike Dooley, the No. 24 ranked Saint Xavier University baseball team has earned a No. 3 seed in this week's NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round and will head to Rome, Ga., to take part in the five-team Field 3 Tournament hosted by Berry College (Ga.). Berry's William R. Bowdoin field and eight other sites around the country will each host a five-team double-elimination tournament from May 12-15. The Cougars (39-13 overall) will match-up first against No. 2 seed and No. 17 ranked Malone University (Ohio) at 3:30 p.m. (eastern) Tuesday in first round action of the event. The Pioneers bring a 44-12 overall record into the tournament.
The winners of the nine National Championship Opening Round tournaments, in addition to host school Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) University, will then take part in the 53rd Annual Avista-NAIA World Series that is to be held May 22-29 in Lewiston, Idaho. Saint Xavier, which moved up one spot to No. 24 in the final NAIA National Poll of the season (May 8), had locked up one of the 45 bids to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round by winning the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) last week. The NAIA officially announced competition sites and seedings for each of the 45 Opening Round participants late Friday. In addition to the Cougars and second-seeded Pioneers, the other Berry tournament participants include top-seeded host Berry College (Ga.) as well as No. 4 seed The Master's College (Calif.) and No. 5 seed Taylor University (Ind.). A victory Tuesday would advance SXU to the winner's bracket Wednesday for a 3:30 p.m. match-up, while a loss would have the team playing in the first elimination game at 12 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets to each one-day session (up to three games per-day) are $10 and will be sold only at the field the day of the game. Tickets will be made available for sale one hour before the start of the first game of the day.Click here for a bracket of the tournament in Rome, Ga.Click here to see all the sites for the NAIA Opening Round