@AdrianBaseball Advances to MIAA Championship Game with 5-4 Victory over Alma

Senior Hunter Hayes hit a key home run in Adrian's 5-4 victory over Alma in the MIAA Tournament Thursday. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
Senior Hunter Hayes hit a key home run in Adrian's 5-4 victory over Alma in the MIAA Tournament Thursday. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

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ADRIAN, Mich.--Senior Hunter Hayes hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the sixth inning, sophomore Pierce Banks improved to 6-2 on the season and freshman Jordan Williams recorded a two-inning save as the nationally-ranked Adrian College baseball team advanced to the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament championship day with a thrilling 5-4 victory over Alma College on Thursday. 

THE BASICS
= Final Scorelines: #1 seed Adrian College 5-7-0; #2 seed Alma College 4-9-2 

= Location: Nicolay Field, Adrian, Mich.; Weather Conditions: Cloudy, 64 degrees, Wind WNW 11 mph

= Records: Adrian Bulldogs, 32-10 overall (24-4 MIAA); Alma Scots, 24-18 overall (16-12 MIAA)

= National Rankings: Adrian is No. 29 by American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, 60 points; Adrian is "receiving votes" from D3baseball.com/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, 63 points 

TOP 'DAWGS
Hayes hit his MIAA-leading eighth home run in the top of the sixth inning.

= Banks improved to 6-2 on the season after working seven innings. He scattered eight hits, walked three and allowed four runs while striking out three.

= Williams threw two scoreless innings in which he allowed just one hit and a walk with a strikeout. It was his second career save.

= Junior Dugan Darnell and sophomore Brady Wood each had a double.

= Junior Jason Croci walked twice and scored a run.

THE OPPOSITION
= Ben Finzel went 3-for-4, including a pair of doubles, to lead Alma's nine-hit attack.

= Jordan Anstandig and Jaret Koin each had two hits and a run batted in.

= Vann Acker contributed a double. 

= Alex Dwan walked three times and scored a run.

HOW IT HAPPENED
= Adrian overcame a 3-2 deficit to score three runs on four hits and a walk in the sixth, reclaiming the lead 5-3. Wood led off with double down the left field line and Hayes followed with a home run to left to put the Bulldogs up 4-3. After a flyout, Croci drew a walk and sophomore Tristin Richardson sacrificed him to second base. Senior Frank Resto delivered home Croci with an insurance tally on a RBI-single down the third base line.

= In its previous at-bat, Alma struck for three runs on four hits and a walk of its own to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 advantage. The bottom of the fifth inning began with a one-out double by Finzel. After Dwan walked, Koin hit a RBI-single to left center to plate Finzel to get the Scots on the scoreboard. Pete Carravallah immediately followed with a RBI-single to left and two batters later Anstandig gave Alma a brief lead with a RBI-single to center.

= Alma posed scoring threats in the seventh and eighth innings, but Banks and Williams pitched out of jams. In the seventh, the Scots sent six batters to the plate but could score only one run on two hits and a walk. Acker connected for a RBI-double down the left field line to close within 5-4, but Banks got Logan Huff to ground out to third base and Matt Minaudo to foul out to the catcher with two runners in scoring position. In the eighth, Dwan walked and Koin singled off Williams and the Scots had two on-base with only one out. But the contest ended when Williams induced a force out and a pop up in the infield.

= Alma left nine runners on base and Adrian had seven.

= The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a throwing error and scored another run two frames later on a Richardson sacrifice fly to left field.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= Adrian is ranked sixth in the final NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Rankings available to the public. The NCAA Division III Baseball Championship Committee will conduct regional rankings this weekend to determine the NCAA tournament field.

= The Bulldogs are now 17-4 in MIAA tournament play since the event started in 2012.

= Banks ranks fifth in the MIAA with six wins.

= Williams lowered his earned-run average to 2.07, which is third in the conference.

= Hayes also leads the conference with 55 RBI--which is the second-most in school history. Ryan Dorow posted 56 in his 2016 junior year. For his career, Hayes now has 101.

UP NEXT
= Adrian will host the championship game on Friday at Noon versus the winner of Game 5. The "if necessary" contest follows at 3 p.m.

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