PITTSBURGH--The Adrian College club baseball Bulldogs, who are the reigning NCBA Division 3 World Series champion, achieved another program milestone this week when they were included in the National Club Baseball Association Division 2 preseason Top-20 rankings at No. 12. Adrian received 113 points for that position, just two points shy of No. 11 SUNY-Binghamton and 22 from top-10 New Hampshire.
Pittsburg State tops the Top-20 preseason rankings for NCBA D2 with 293 points, including nine first-place votes.
Effective for the 2018-19 campaign, the Bulldogs moved up to tougher competition at the NCBA Division 2 level. In Year 2 of the program, Adrian went 9-2 during the fall campaign before heading into the spring portion of its schedule next month. The Bulldogs, who have won five-straight overall, are off to a 4-1 start to the conference which includes a perfect game against Northern Plains rival and No. 17-ranked Grand Valley State. The Black and Gold have also swept No. 13 Akron on Nov. 3, 5-0 and 6-1.
Adrian has 20 returning players--including a watch list of seniors Tyler Roushia, Brandon Milligan, Mark Cash--who played key roles off a 2017-18 squad that finished 22-5 overall, won the NCBA District 2 West Conference regular-season crown with an 11-0 record, defeated East Champion Edinboro for the district title and captured the NCBA D3 World Series championship in Dubois, Pa., where it outscored the opposition 17-0.
"I didn't know what to think (about) being a first-year D2 team but I am happy with the No. 12 preseason NCBA ranking," said second-year Adrian coach Brent Greenwood '14, who brought in nine freshmen to mesh the skillset of his veteran group. "It puts us on the map and gives us some motivation to climb the ladder and see how high we can get.
"With two other conference opponents being ranked in the national top twenty--Ohio State at No. 2 and Grand Valley--we obviously have our work cut out for us this spring. Ultimately, we know we have to win the conference to get a chance in the postseason and that is our goal."
Senior Kyle Stratton was the NCBA Division 3 Tournament's Most Outstanding Player last spring. Cash is a two-time NCBA Division 2 National Pitcher of the Week on Nov. 8 and Oct. 7 and also was twice named the Northern Plains Pitcher of the Week. Roushia earned the Northern Plains Hitter of the Week on Nov. 8 and Milligan was recognized on Oct. 3.
Adrian resumes its schedule on March 16 and 17 at home at Nicolay Field to host Toledo in a three-game Northern Plains East Region Conference series.
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(Editor's note: The NCBA office contributed to this outlook.)