Whitworth Gets In NCAA Tournament

Whitworth Gets In NCAA Tournament

Whitworth University has been awarded an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship tournament and will compete at the Spokane Regional, hosted at Avista Stadium Wednesday through Saturday.

Whitworth (29-11) is the fourth-seeded team in the six-team regional, which will be a double-elimination format tournament. The Pirates will face third-seeded Case Western Reserve University (26-13) in the opening round on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

The other pairings in the first round will feature top-seeded Trinity (Tex.) University (35-7) against sixth-seeded Pacific Lutheran University (26-17) and second-seeded Cal Lutheran University (31-11) opposing fifth-seeded University of Texas-Tyler (30-17). 

Trinity and Pacific Lutheran will open the tournament at noon on Wednesday, followed by Cal Lutheran and Texas-Tyler at 3:15 p.m. before Whitworth and Case Western Reserve play during the evening.

Click here to view the Spokane Regional website, which includes a full schedule as well as live stats and video links along with other useful information. 

Top-seeded Trinity captured its fourth straight Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship to earn an automatic bid after sharing the regular season title with Texas Lutheran University.

Cal Lutheran, the No. 2 seed, also earned an automatic bid to the national tournament after sharing the regular season title and winning the postseason tournament championship in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Kingsmen won the SCIAC postseason title for the third time in the past four years after sharing the regular season title with Occidental College. 

Third-seeded Case Western Reserve, located in Cleveland, Ohio, received a Pool B at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Spartans compete in the University Athletic Association, and as an independent team did not have an opportunity to receive an automatic qualification. Case Western Reserve featured the nation’s toughest strength of schedule in 2016 and was one of two independent teams to receive a Pool B at-large bid.

Texas-Tyler, the No. 5 seed, earned an automatic bid after winning the American Southwest Conference Championship for the second consecutive season and fifth time in program history.

Sixth-seeded Pacific Lutheran also earned an automatic bid, finishing second to Whitworth in the regular season NWC standings before winning the NWC Tournament title over Whitworth in late April.

Whitworth will make its third appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament, and first by way of a Pool C at-large bid. The Pirates won their first outright Northwest Conference regular season title since joining NCAA Division III in 2016, but needed an at-large bid to enter national tournament after the Lutes won the NWC Tournament.  

The Pirates will be making their second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, after claiming the inaugural NWC Tournament title in 2015 and competing in the West Regional last season. Whitworth’s first NCAA tournament appearance was in 2012 and featured a regional championship and trip to the NCAA Division III World Series.  

Whitworth is partnering with the Spokane Sports Commission to serve as official hosts for the tournament. Whitworth and the Spokane Sports Commission are working in conjunction with the Spokane Indians Baseball Club to hold the tournament at Avista Stadium. The West Regional hosting privileges were awarded to Whitworth and the Spokane Sports Commission last fall. 

The Spokane Indians are a member of the Northwest League and the Class A Short Season minor league affiliate of the Texas Rangers. The field at Avista Stadium is a natural grass surface and has been named the Northwest League Field of the Year for 17 of the past 19 years, including the last 11 seasons.

The 2016 Division III baseball tournament consists of 56 teams at eight regionals being held May 18-22. There were 40 automatic bids awarded to conference champions, as well as two Pool B at-large bids and 14 Pool C at-large bids.

Four regionals are six-team tournaments while the other four regionals each have eight teams. The tournaments all follow a double-elimination format. Champions of each regional will advance to the Division III World Series, held May 27 through June 2 in Appleton, Wis.