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College | Rankings | 1/19/2021

2021 NAIA Baseball Preview

Nick Herfordt     
Photo: Luis Vargas (Wayland Baptist)
Advancing to the opening round of the NAIA championships is not a goal for Tennessee Wesleyan, it’s a given. The Bulldogs have earned a berth to the NAIA national tournament every year since its inception in 2009 - an accomplishment only one other school can claim. TWC hasn’t completed a full season with a win total under 35 since 2005 and they’ve advanced to the NAIA World Series five times since 2010. They are the reigning champions of NAIA having won the title in 2019, as well as in 2012. This spring they are the Perfect Game preseason favorite to take home the title once again.

The Bulldogs return their top batters from last season, and bolster their run-producing ability with the return of an All-American and the addition of a prospect who received a 10 grade by Perfect Game scouts coming out of high school. The pitching staff is loaded with an arsenal of arms that are ready to fluster opposition from the first pitch to the last out. TWC can also claim a head coach who has mentored 43 athletes to the professional ranks and a dozen players who have been named first or second team All Americans.

TWC will be changed by the ilk of USAO, who has one of the top pitching staffs in all of college baseball and the 2018 titleholder, Southeastern. Both clubs only lost a single game last season. St. Thomas, who finished runner-up to the Bulldogs in 2019, Freed-Hardeman, who are on the precipice of becoming a new annual power, and LSU Shreveport, the only other team to advance to the NAIA Opening Round every year since 2009, all have title-winning talent as well. Faulkner, who has advanced to Lewiston more than any other team over the past decade, is also a strong candidate to claim the national championship, as are the rest of the teams which comprise this list.

Rk. School State Record 2020 Finish
1 Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs TN 16-6 10
2 USAO Drovers OK 17-1 4
3 Southeastern Fire FL 26-1 3
4 St. Thomas Bobcats FL 19-5 2
5 Freed-Hardeman Lions TN 16-4 1
6 LSU Shreveport Pilots LA 22-4 8
7 Faulkner Eagles AL 18-4 6
8 Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies GA 21-2 15
9 Cumberlands Patriots KY 19-1 16
10 Indiana Southeast Grenadiers IN 18-1 23
11 Campbellsville Tigers KY 13-8 12
12 Oklahoma City Stars OK 17-8 5
13 Benedicine Mesa Redhawks AZ 22-7 19
15 Bryan Lions TN 14-6 13
15 Vanguard Lions CA 21-6 NR
16 Central Methodist Eagles MO 16-5 18
17 Keiser Seahawks FL 19-6 NR
18 Arizona Christian Firestorm AZ 18-9 14
19 Indiana Tech Warriors IN 11-5 12
20 Georgetown Tigers KY 11-8 9
21 Wayland Baptist Pioneers TX 21-7 NR
22 Reinhardt Eagles GA 18-7 NR
23 Central Baptist Mustangs AK 21-5 NR
24 Concordia Cardinals MI 13-4 20
25 Lyon Scots AR 20-6 22

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