ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Valley Conference has added Dallas Baptist University as an affiliate member in the sport of baseball and DBU will be eligible to compete for the league’s automatic NCAA bid beginning in 2014, Commissioner Doug Elgin announced today. The league’s President’s Council affirmed a recommendation to extend an invitation to Dallas Baptist for baseball affiliate membership, effective 2014 season, for multi-year inclusion (six years).
“There’s no question that Dallas Baptist University is a premier power in Division I baseball,” states Commissioner Doug Elgin. “Their addition to our conference as an affiliate member in baseball will strengthen our position in the national landscape, and we’re excited to commit to one another for a lengthy term. The Missouri Valley Conference has a rich tradition in baseball, and the addition of Dallas Baptist will make us stronger.”
The league previously entered into a “scheduling agreement” with Dallas Baptist during the 2012 season, playing three-game series against seven of the eight Valley baseball schools. As last season showed, the addition of the Patriots in baseball gives the league a significant boost, helping Valley schools build an impressive strength of schedule and conference RPI. The league finished the 2012 season ranked No. 6 in the RPI, including five schools in the top-85, helping two teams earn NCAA at-large berths. Last season Dallas Baptist earned a third-straight NCAA Tournament bid, finishing the season with a 41-19 record and a final RPI of 23. The Patriots went 14-7 against MVC schools in 2012.
The addition of Dallas Baptist will increase league membership in baseball to nine schools, as the Patriots join Bradley, Creighton, Evansville, Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, Southern Illinois and Wichita State as members of the Missouri Valley Conference. The MVC last had nine baseball teams in 2009, when UNI dropped its program. There are currently no plans in place to expand the baseball championship format beyond eight teams (all eight MVC teams currently qualify for the conference baseball tournament).
Dallas Baptist has enjoyed a long, storied tradition of winning baseball with 33 consecutive winning seasons. As a past NAIA member, DBU qualified for 10 NAIA World Series tournaments between 1984-2002, and was ranked in the top 10 for 16 consecutive seasons, including finishing twice as National Champion-Runner Up (1985 and 2000). The Patriots won back-to-back National Christian College Athletic Association World Series in 2003 and 2004.
In its seven years of active membership at the NCAA Division I level and competing as an Independent, Dallas Baptist has a record of 249-151 and, in 2008, just its third year as a Division I member, received an at-large berth to the College Station NCAA Regional (No. 2 seed), after finishing the regular season with a 37-17 record and the 29th best RPI in the country. Dallas Baptist became the first Independent team to make a NCAA Regional other than Miami since 1992.
In 2011, the Patriots were again selected as an at-large bid to the NCAA Regional Tournament. They defeated Oklahoma, TCU, and Oral Roberts to win the Fort Worth Regional Championship. This allowed the Patriots to move along The Road to Omaha where they faced the University of California in the Santa Clara Super Regional. With all games broadcast nationally on ESPN, Dallas Baptist took another step forward as a top program in NCAA Division I baseball.
For the third-straight season, Dallas Baptist was selected as an at-large team for the NCAA Tournament in 2012 after finishing the regular season with an overall record of 41-19 and a RPI of 23. The Patriots were a part of the Waco Regional where they defeated Texas-Arlington and Oral Roberts, before falling to host and regional champion Baylor.
Dallas Baptist recently unveiled plans for the upgrade to its current facility, Patriot Field, which will remain in its current location with the new ballpark, Dallas Baptist Patriot Ballpark, built up around it. Current plans include a brick façade that matches the current Georgian architectural-style of the buildings on campus, club seating, a state-of-the-art press box, two radio booths, a TV booth, and guest suites. Coaches' offices and a reception area will also be added alongside new dugouts and enhanced field lighting.
Construction is already underway on the 2,000-seat capacity facility and the project is scheduled to be completed before opening day in February of 2013.
Dallas Baptist is a private Christian university located in Dallas, Texas. Founded in 1898, the university has a current (fall of 2011) enrollment of 5,545. The Patriots sponsor 14 sports, and with the exception of baseball, compete at the Division II level in the Heartland Conference.