Senior Jason Croci Walk-Off Single Highlights Baseball Sweep of Albion; Adrian Moves into First Place

Jason Croci was the hero with a Game 1 walk-off single to spark Adrian to a sweep of the Albion Britons on Monday. (Action photo Special to AdrianBulldogs.com)
Jason Croci was the hero with a Game 1 walk-off single to spark Adrian to a sweep of the Albion Britons on Monday. (Action photo Special to AdrianBulldogs.com)

ADRIAN, Mich.--Senior Jason Croci delivered a pinch-hit single with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to drive home junior Gunner Rainey from second base for an Adrian 5-4 come-from-behind, walk-off victory over visiting Albion in the first game of a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association baseball doubleheader on Monday. The Bulldogs used their depth in the second game to win 9-5 and complete the sweep.

THE BASICS
= Final Scorelines: Game 1—Adrian 5-7-0, Albion 4-6-0; Game 2--Adrian 9-7-1, Albion 5-10-0

= Location: Nicolay Field, Adrian, Mich.; Weather: Sunny, 72 degrees, Wind S 12 mph

= Records: Adrian Bulldogs 24-6 overall (17-3 MIAA); Albion Britons 17-14 overall (12-8 MIAA)

= National Rankings: Adrian is No. 12 by the American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (302 points) and No. 13 in the D3baseball.com/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (326) poll

TOP 'DAWGS
= Junior Brady Wood and sophomore Brandon Cooper had two hits apiece in the opener.

= Senior Zack Zschering had a single and he walked three times in Game 1.

= Classmate Dugan Darnell was the winner in relief of starter Mo Hanley. Darnell improved to 2-1 on the season after pitching one scoreless inning.

= Sophomore Jordan Williams (6-1) won the nightcap, scattering eight hits and allowing two runs in five innings. He posted four strikeouts and did not issue any walks. 

THE OPPOSITION
= Justin Charron went 2-for-3 with a run batted in during Game 1.

= Drew Olszewski and Jordyn Finney had two hits each in the second game.

HOW IT HAPPENED, Game 1
= The Adrian rally in the last frame began when Zschering led off with a walk and he advanced 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Thomas Miller. Junior Gunner Rainey, the next batter, tied it 4-4 with a RBI-double to right-center field to plate Zschering. Croci followed with the game-winning single to left center on a two-strike count.

= Albion sent nine batters to the plate in the top of the fifth when it scored four runs on three hits, two walks and a hitbatsman. Riley Stesiak drew a bases loaded walk to tie it at 1-all and Kellan Huang produced a two-run single up the middle to give the Britons their first lead at 3-1.

= The Bulldogs pulled within 4-3 in their home half when Darnell scored on a wild pitch and Wood had a RBI-single to right.

= In the fourth, Cooper had a RBI single to right center to break a scoreless tie for the Bulldogs. 

HOW IT HAPPENED, Game 2
= Adrian raced to a 7-2 advantage after four innings and never looked back. Seven different Bulldogs had one hit and Darnell, Miller and Wood had two RBI apiece.

= Leading 3-2 going to the bottom of the fourth after Stesiak's home run to left, Adrian got some insurance by crossing four runs across the plate. Miller had a RBI-single through the left side, Rainey and Wood had back-to-back walks with the bases loaded and Darnell sent a sacrifice fly to center.

= The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the seventh for a comfortable 9-2 cushion. Darnell scored on a wild pitch and Croci had a RBI-groundout to shortstop.

= The Britons made things interesting with three runs in the eighth, pulling within 9-5. Dylan Perry had a pinch-hit, ground-rule RBI-double down the right field line and Joe Turnbull and Charlie Pasco hit back-to-back sacrifice flies both to center.

= But senior Jason Schroeder preserved the win with a scoreless relief appearance in the ninth, allowing no walks or hits with a strikeout.

= Both teams had nine runners left on base. Albion outhit Adrian, 10-7.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= Albion leads Adrian in the all-time series, 104-74. Adrian is 47-57 at home against the Britons.

= Wood became the fourth Bulldog this season and the 41st overall to surpass 100 career hits when--in the fourth of Game 1--when tried to stretch a single into a double but was thrown out by the right fielder. He finished the day with three hits and now has 102 in his career.

= Today's doubleheader was originally scheduled for last Saturday, but postponed due to rain in Adrian. 

= By virtue of Hope's (15-3) twinbill defeat at Alma, Adrian (17-3) leapfrogs the Flying Dutchmen into first place in the MIAA standings with a one-game lead. 

= Miller and Rainey are now tied atop the MIAA RBI race with 38 apiece; Wood has 37. It signals a career high for each student-athlete.

= Zschering maintains his top billing in the conference with a .443 batting average.

= Huang is fifth in the conference with 33 RBI.

= With a career-high 10 strikeouts this afternoon, Hanley moves into fourth in the MIAA with 42 strikeouts.

= Williams breaks a tie with teammate Pierce Banks for sole possession of second place with six MIAA victories.

UP NEXT
= Adrian steps out of MIAA play on Wednesday to play at regional opponent Earlham College for a single non-conference contest starting at 5 p.m.

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