@AdrianBaseball Punches Ticket to MIAA Championship Game with 5-3 Comeback Win against Hope

Jason Croci rapped three hits and drove in a pair of runs to lead Adrian offensively in a 5-3 victory over Hope. (Action photo Special to AdrianBulldogs.com)
Jason Croci rapped three hits and drove in a pair of runs to lead Adrian offensively in a 5-3 victory over Hope. (Action photo Special to AdrianBulldogs.com)

MIAA Official Tournament Homepage l Host Site

ADRIAN, Mich.—Spurred by another postseason comeback, host Adrian earned another appearance in the championship round of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Baseball Tournament on Thursday with a 5-3 win over second-seeded Hope.

THE BASICS
= Final Scoreline: MIAA Tournament Game 3--Adrian College 5-9-0, Hope College 3-6-2

= Location: Location: Nicolay Field, Adrian, Mich.; Weather: Overcast, 66 degrees, Wind SW 13 mph

= Records: Adrian Bulldogs 34-7 overall (24-4 MIAA); Hope Flying Dutchmen 30-9 overall (14-14 MIAA)

= National Rankings:  Adrian is No. 14 by the American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (262 points) and No. 10 in the D3baseball.com/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (350) poll; AC's NCAA Mideast Regional Ranking: No. 5.

TOP 'DAWGS
= Senior Jason Croci went 3-for-4, including a triple, with two runs batted in and three runs scored.

= Senior Dugan Darnell picked up school-record-tying seventh save of the season with two strikeouts in a scoreless inning. At the plate, he had a triple and two walks.

= Sophomore Mo Hanley moved to 5-0 on the season after working eight innings. He scattered six hits and three runs and worked around four walks while getting five strikeouts.

= Classmate Brandon Cooper had a triple among two hits.

= Sophomore Jake Lemelin contributed two sacrifice bunts and a sacrifice fly.

THE OPPOSITION
= Mason Opple was 2-for-4 with two RBI.

= Relievers Sam Balke and CJ Otteman combined for a run on three hits in 3.2 innings to help the Flying Dutchmen in the game. 

HOW IT HAPPENED
= Trailing 2-1 in the top of the sixth inning, Adrian scored three times when Croci had a two-run triple down the left field line to the fence and Lemelin had a sac fly to left field to cap the rally.

= Hope got a run back in the bottom half when Nick Lepore lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to close the gap to 4-3.

= Adrian added an insurance run in the ninth when senior Zack Zschering had a RBI-single to third base to make it 5-3.

= Hope struck first with an Opple two-RBI single up the middle in the third frame. 

= In the fifth, Adrian cut the deficit in half to 2-1 on a fielding error that would have ended the fifth.

= The Flying Dutchmen had eight runners left on base.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= Adrian is now 20-4 lifetime in the conference tournament.

= The Bulldogs had three triples this afternoon for one shy of a school record and the most in a game since 2014.

= Adrian was the designated visiting team on the scoreboard for MIAA operational standards, but this was a home game on the official record.

= The 'Dogs set a program benchmark for their best record (34-7) through 41 games. The 2012 squad went 34-8 en route to a school-record 37-10 campaign.

= Opple takes over the RBI lead in the conference with 48 over Adrian's Thomas Miller who has 47. Miller's teammates Gunner Rainey, Brady Wood and Darnell have 46, 43 and 42, respectively, for third, fourth and fifth.

= Jack Sojka of the Flying Dutchmen had two stolen bases to overtake teammate Evan Maday, 27 to 26.

= Hanley is now in first place in the MIAA with 64 strikeouts, which is a career high by 33.

= Darnell leads the conference with seven saves to tie the AC record held by Chris Dubbs in 1997.

= Hope leads the all-time series, 97-81, but Adrian is 25-11 over the last 36 meetings.

UP NEXT
= Adrian will play in the conference championship round at noon on Friday. Any team--Albion, Alma or Hope--emerging from the second day of play, would have to beat the Bulldogs twice tomorrow to win the tournament.

#AdrianBulldogs #GoDawgs #BulldogProud