Shenandoah University, winner of the last two Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament championships, will be the No. 4 seed in the 2021 iteration of the tournament slated to begin on Friday.
The Hornets, who finished the regular season 26-8 and ranked 16th in the D3baseball.com/National College Baseball Writers Association poll released on Tuesday, went 17-5 in ODAC play to finish fourth in the conference standings behind Randolph-Macon (18-4), Lynchburg (18-4) and Roanoke (15-4).
Shenandoah will host No. 5 Hampden-Sydney in a best-of-three series at Bridgeforth Field starting with a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Friday. In other first-round action, No. 1 Randolph-Macon hosts No. 8 Eastern Mennonite, No. 2 Lynchburg hosts No. 7 Washington and Lee and No. 3 Roanoke hosts No. 6 Bridgewater this weekend.
Randolph-Macon, which split two regular-season meetings with Lynchburg, earned the tournament’s top seed through the ODAC’s “Five-Point Tiebreaker” criteria, according to a conference news release announcing the tournament seeding.
This season, the ODAC will maintain a best-of-three series format through three rounds of tournament competition, diverging from the two-round format that culminated in a four-team, double-elimination round in Salem in 2018 and 2019. In the 2021 format, the winners of the Randolph-Macon/Eastern Mennonite and Shenandoah/Hampden-Sydney matchups will play each other in a second-round best-of-three series on May 15-16, as will the winners of the Lynchburg/W&L and Roanoke/Bridgewater matchups.
The second-round winners will then compete in a best-of-three championship series on May 21-22 for the ODAC title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, which begins on May 27.
Shenandoah enters the conference tournament having won five of its last six games, the lone loss in that span coming to Hampden-Sydney in the opening game of a doubleheader last Saturday.
SU and Hampden-Sydney have met in the opening round of the ODAC tournament in each season since the conference switched to the current eight-team format in 2018. The Hornets ousted the Tigers in two games in each of their previous two tournament meetings on their way to back-to-back championships in 2018 and 2019.
The ODAC did not hold a conference tournament in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down competition midseason.
Shenandoah is seeking its fourth ODAC championship overall since joining the conference in 2013.