Bulldogs Fend Off Lions in Battle Between Nationally-Ranked Squads, 9-7

Dugan Darnell played an integral part in No. 26 Adrian's 9-7 upset at No. 19 Piedmont with two runs batted in as a third baseman and then striking out the side in the ninth for his first career save. (Action photo Special to AdrianBulldogs.com)
Dugan Darnell played an integral part in No. 26 Adrian's 9-7 upset at No. 19 Piedmont with two runs batted in as a third baseman and then striking out the side in the ninth for his first career save. (Action photo Special to AdrianBulldogs.com)

DEMOREST, Ga.--Senior Zack Zschering went 3-for-6, freshman Maxwell Denny earned his first collegiate win and senior Dugan Darnell notched his first career save as the Adrian College baseball team knocked off host Piedmont College in a battle of nationally-ranked teams on Tuesday.

THE BASICS
= Final Scoreline: Adrian College 9-8-1, Piedmont College 7-10-4

= Location: Loudermilk Field, Demorest, Ga.; Weather Conditions: Sunny, 34 degrees, Wind NW 14 mph

= Records: Adrian Bulldogs, 2-1 overall; Piedmont Lions, 11-4 overall

= National Rankings: Adrian is No. 26 by American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (215 points) and "receiving votes" in D3baseball.com/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (40 points) poll; Piedmont is No. 19 by D3baseball/NCBWA (172 points) and "receiving votes" in ABCA/CBN poll

TOP 'DAWGS
= Zschering finished with two runs scored and a run batted in.

= Darnell, who started at third base and finished off the ninth on the mound, had a hit with a walk and two RBI.

= Senior Brandon Baldus had a hit and knocked in two runs.

= The Adrian bullpen of Denny (1.1IP, 2K), senior Jesse Marks (0.0IP), junior Spencer Ford (1.1IP, 2K) and Darnell (1.0 IP, 3K) did not allow an earned run.

FOR THE OPPOSITION
= Cameron Johnson and Brady Ballstadt both went 2-for-5 with a run scored, two RBI and a walk.

= Andrew Burden and Noah Heatherly chipped in two hits apiece.

= Jonathen Burkett drew three walks and knocked home two runs.

= Tyler Sheley scored three times and had three walks.

HOW IT HAPPENED
= With Adrian taking a slim 9-7 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, Darnell struck out the side in order while throwing nine strikes on 14 pitches to preserve the win. 

= In the eighth inning, sophomore Nick Rauch drew a bases loaded walk to give the Bulldogs an insurance run by extending the lead to 9-7.

= The teams combined for seven runs in a wild seventh inning. Zschering snapped a 4-4 tie when he scored on a wild pitch as Adrian went ahead to stay. Darnell, Baldus and sophomore Brandon Cooper added on RBI-singles to make it 8-4. The Lions, however, got three runs back in the bottom half on a Ballstadt two-run single and Burkett bases loaded walk.

=Adrian jumped out to a 4-0 advantage with a run in four of the first five frames. Rainey opened the scoring with a RBI-single in the first as the Bulldogs never trailed.

= Piedmont got on the scoreboard in the fifth when Burkett walked with the bases loaded and Ballstadt later scored on a wild pitch. Johnson had a two-run single in the next inning to knot the score 4-all.

= The Lions left 14 runners on base while the Bulldogs had 11.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= Adrian is 2-0 versus nationally-ranked teams in 2019, including the season opener over No. 13/21 Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

= Darnell, who is an infielder by trade, earned his first career save in his first pitching appearance as a Bulldog.

= Adrian improves to 4-6 all-time at Piedmont and earns its first victory over the Lions since Feb. 28, 2012, 8-3.

= Luke Harris '15, who played and coached with the Bulldogs, is now in his first season as an assistant on the Piedmont coaching staff.  

= Senior Korey Mazur, who alongside teammate Gunner Rainey is on the D3baseball.com National Team of the Week, is ranked fifth in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association with a .455 batting average.

UP NEXT
= The Bulldogs wrap up their spring break trip in Georgia with a pair of non-conference games at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, starting on Friday at 5 p.m. and concluding on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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