ADRIAN, Mich. – With a one-game lead in the MIAA standings in a race for a chance to host the upcoming MIAA Tournament, the Adrian College baseball team split with rival Trine University on Thursday night to pull into a dead heat with Hope College. Adrian (27-11, 19-7) is now two games ahead of Hope (17-7) who will play twice on Friday against Calvin at Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids. Those teams will conclude their weekend series on Saturday with two more games in Holland. The Bulldogs will head to Angola on Friday for an afternoon double-dip starting at 2 p.m.
Adrian squeaked out a 2-1 win in Game 1 as the Bulldogs posted two runs in the first and pitcher Rylie Robinson made it stick. Sam Fischer and R.J. Rios each had RBI singles in the first and Robinson allowed just one run in the sixth on a RBI single by Tom Wilder.
Robinson threw a gem allowing three hits in seven innings to improve to 5-1 on the hill this season. Robinson did not walk a batter in a start for the first time this season and fanned five to lower his season earned run average to 2.97. Kale Popp was saddled with the loss (5-3) going 5.2 innings and allowing two earned runs with four walks and five strikeouts. Jamey Sackett had Adrian's only extra-base hit in Game 1 which was a double down the right field line in the third inning.
Adrian's defense committed two crucial errors in the first inning of Game 2 allowing four runs to score against starter Brent Greenwood. Trine did have four hits in the inning as Kory Shackle had the only RBI on a sacrifice fly. Trine added two more runs in the second to take a 6-0 lead. Wilder received an RBI on a fielder's choice and another unearned run scored on an error.
Adrian began to chip into the lead but managed just single runs in four different innings and stranded 11 runners on base during the game. Dan Heatherly had a RBI double to put AC on the board in the third. DeLuca ripped a RBI double in the fourth to cut the lead to 6-2. Garrett Green had an infield RBI single in the fifth to make the margin 6-3 but Adrian left the bases loaded after a flyout.
The Bulldogs scored once more in the seventh off Trine closer Nick Cocanower. Rios reached on a fielding error and took second on a wild pitch. Rios continued to third with one out on a passed ball and with two down scored on an infield RBI single by Ben Yax. The Bulldogs had the tying run at the plate but Cocanower ended the game with a strikeout of Green.
Green, Sergi and Heatherly each had two hits in Game 2. DeLuca's double was his ninth of the season while Heatherly also had his ninth double and Green his eighth two-bagger. Greenwood went five innings and allowed just one earned run to keep his season earned run average below 2.00 at 1.91. Greenwood struck out seven and walked one. Jeff Davis threw two quality relief innings giving up no hits with a walk and three strikeouts.