Pompano Beach, FL – The field for the 2023 Black College World Series is set. Eight HBCU baseball programs, four from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II and four from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) will make the trip.
The format for the event that heads into its third year is two divisions, one bracket of four NCAA Division II teams and one bracket of four NAIA teams, playing a double-elimination format, and winners of each division face off in a one-game playoff to determine a champion.
The field of eight is sure to include several unknown names elevating their game to star status. After a stellar regular season and this past weekend, eight teams punched their tickets to Montgomery. They came on walk-offs, they came late at night, they came after rain delays, they came in triumph, and in heartbreak. It is time for a postseason run.
Now, get ready for the pandemonium that is the 2023 Black College World Series.
Here are the eight teams slated Montgomery…
Who is in the NCAA DII Bracket?
Albany State (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
Savannah State (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
West Virginia State (Mountain East Conference) **
Bluefield State (DII Independent)
Edward Waters (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
Miles (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) – alternate
How did they get here?
Just as Albany State has done the entire season, the Golden Rams have set the tone on the mound and at the plate. There is no better team at the collegiate level at getting players on base and putting the ball in play this season than the Golden Rams. Four players are hitting .400 or better. They are ranked 12th in the nation in runs (422), 7th in batting average (.337), 10th in W/L percentage .789 (30-8) overall. The second-best scoring team per game in the country.
The Savannah State Tigers entered the 2023 season as the standout No. 2 HBCU small school team in the nation. Head coach Carlton Hardy returned a boatload of talent from last season. They have some of the nation’s best hitters. But even more importantly, their pitching staff went from being really good last season to their biggest strength this year.
Bluefield State is making its third appearance to the Black College World Series. Big Blues won it all in 2021. Bluefield State captured their second straight 20 plus-win season in school history. Head coach Drew Bailey has also led his team to single season wins with 24 this year.
Edward Waters, when hitting and pitching are on, they are hard to beat. Pitching was one of the main storylines for the 2023 season in 20 wins this season. While that trend is likely to continue for this year’s tournament, head coach Reginald Johnson has an experienced roster. They are the team on the rise heading into the world series. They are also the defending Black College World Series champions.
Miles is a streaky team when they play at their best. Head coach Ty Roberts Golden Bears will enter the BCWS with home-field advantage considering Birmingham is a two-hour drive to Montgomery. Streaky team at best. Miles isn’t winning pretty, but they do scratch out victories.
Who is in the NAIA Bracket?
Talladega (Southern State Athletic Conference)
Rust (Gulf Coast Athletic Conference)
Wiley College (Gulf Coast Athletic Conference)
Paine College (National Christian College Athletic Association)
How did they get here?
Talladega plays a very competitive schedule in the HBCU small school. The Tornadoes schedule 20 plus games against top-rank teams in the NAIA Top 25. When they click on all cylinders at the plate, head coach Marco Dominguez’s team is hard to beat. Talladega received votes in the Top 25 Coaches Poll this season.
When the season started, Rust College was heading for a losing season. At one point, they were 3-12, and I wondered if they could win ten games. Then they made a late-season push. What did it for the Bearcats, the weekend rotation was an issue because they used about five or six pitchers a game. After head coach John Bates adjusted, Rust has become a really deep pitching staff and outstanding offense. Regular season GCAC champs for the second straight year. Rust is making its third Black College World Series appearance.
This season, Wiley College took a big step forward and made the GCAC conference tournament and the Black College World Series. Now, I feel it is their time to make a run. Wiley will surprise you and the team to beat out of them all. They had a dry spell of games where the defense made costly errors. Head coach Kendrick Biggs worked on the team’s defense which led to a late season wins. The Wildcats are a battle-tested team. Wiley College is making its first Black College World Series appearance.
Paine College punched its ticket to the BCWS in Montgomery and put on a defensive clinic during the season which led to wins. What stops head coach Kerby Marshall team from winning 25-plus ball games, inclement weather. Rainstorms prevent makeup dates which lead to canceling games. Paine has live bats at the plate. This will be Paine’s first Black College World Series appearance.
The SIAC teams will follow NCAA governing body guidelines. Baseball programs cannot compete in more than one national setting.
The team selected from the NCAA Division II:
**West Virginia State
These teams will opt out if they win their conference tournament.
West Virginia State has opted out as it looks to play in their Mountain East Conference Tournament and compete for a Regional tournament spot.
Miles is the alternate team. If an HBCU wins the SIAC Conference Tournament, Miles is the alternate replacement.