Top-Seed Adrian Repeats MIAA Baseball Tournament Title; Stamps Automatic Bid to NCAAs

The 2018 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament champion Adrian College Bulldogs. (Photo by Corey Graham/Adrian Athletics)
The 2018 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament champion Adrian College Bulldogs. (Photo by Corey Graham/Adrian Athletics)

ADRIAN, Mich.--Sophomore Brady Wood broke a 2-2 tie with a run-scoring double in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift Adrian College to a 3-2 victory over Hope College on Friday, giving the Bulldogs a repeat of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament championship. Adrian clinches the MIAA's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship next week, when the Bulldogs will serve as one of the eight regional hosts.

THE BASICS
= Final Scoreline: #1 seed Adrian College 3-5-1; #3 seed Hope College 2-6-0 

= Location: Nicolay Field, Adrian, Mich.; Weather Conditions: Cloudy, 44 degrees, Wind ENE 10 mph

= Records: Adrian Bulldogs, 33-10 overall (24-4 MIAA); Hope Flying Dutchmen, 18-24 overall (14-14 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
= Freshman Trey Miller pitched three innings of scoreless relief to chalk up his first career victory (1-1). He did not allow a hit while walking one.

= Senior Tommy Parsons, Adrian's No. 1 starter in the rotation, worked the ninth inning to earn his first career save in his first relief appearance of 2018. He retired three of four batters he faced.

= Wood finished by getting two of Adrian's five hits on the afternoon.  

THE OPPOSITION
= Evan Maday went 2-for-5 from the leadoff spot. 

= Brant Kym had a double and two runs batted in.

HOW IT HAPPENED
= Hope left 13 runners on base and the Adrian defense proved to be resilient.

= The decisive eighth began with a leadoff single by Zack Zschering to left center field. Sophomore Gunner Rainey sacrificed Zschering into scoring position. After an HC pitching change, Wood greeted CJ Otteman with a double to the left field wall to score Zschering for the eventual game-winning run.

= Adrian knotted the score 2-all in the fifth. On the heels of a defensive stand in which Hope loaded the bases without scoring in the top half, the Bulldog offense sparked in the bottom half. Junior Dugan Darnell hit a leadoff infield single and advanced to second base after junior Jason Croci was hit by a pitch. After both runners moved up 90 feet due to a wild pitch, sophomore Tristin Richardson grounded out to second to plate Darnell. After senior Frank Resto walked, junior Jordan Torrento grounded into a fielder's choice to bring home Croci from third base. 

= Hope was staked to a 2-0 advantage in the top of the fourth when Kym delivered a two-run double to left field. Nick Lepore and Jonathan Sojka were the first two batters to reach and moved up a base after a Landon Brower sacrifice bunt.

= In a terrific low-scoring game dominated by pitching, the Adrian defense continually frustrated Hope by escaping numerous scoring threats. The first golden opportunity for Hope to dent the scoreboard came in the second when it loaded the bases after two outs, but could not score after a pop up in foul territory. The Flying Dutchmen left two runners on base in the third after one out, and had the bases loaded again in the fifth. In the following frame, they loaded the bases before a single out recorded but did not score after senior first baseman Hunter Hayes notched an unassisted double play.   

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.

= Adrian will be making its 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The 58-team field will be revealed Monday morning via NCAA.com.

= The Bulldogs are now 18-4 lifetime in the MIAA tournament with six titles since the event started in 2012. Adrian also captured MIAA postseason crowns in 2012-13-14-15-17.

= Adrian won the season series, 3-2, over Hope. HC leads 96-77 all-time, but AC has won 39 of the last 54 meetings. The teams met in the inaugural MIAA tourney event in 2012, when the Bulldogs won 17-2 in Adrian.

= Today's five runs combined were the fewest scored between the teams this season. Last weekend, Adrian and Hope scored 79 runs for the most in their regular-season series history.

= The Flying Dutchmen were making their third appearance in the MIAA championship round (2012, '16).

= Wood remains second in MIAA batting average at .414. Maday finishes his spring ranked sixth, .373.

= After losing the tourney opener, the Flying Dutchmen went 2-1 in elimination games.

= Besides Adrian's 9-2 first-round victory over Calvin, the other five MIAA contests were decided by two runs or less making for an exciting tournament.

UP NEXT
= Adrian will host the Division III Mideast Regional at Nicolay Field from May 17-21. Pairings and times will be announced on NCAA.com.

#AdrianBulldogs #GoDawgs #BulldogProud (Action photos by Corey Graham/Adrian Athletics)