ADRIAN, Mich. - The build up to the MIAA Tournament final quickly turned into an easy afternoon for the Adrian College baseball team. Adrian and Hope had played four very competitive contests in the regular season, but on this day it was Adrian early and often as the Bulldogs wrapped up the inaugural MIAA Tournament championship with a 17-2 win over Hope on Friday from Nicolay Field.
The Bulldogs (35-8) will now advance to the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament which begins next week. The Bulldogs have become a fixture in the NCAA's as they will be making their fifth straight trip.
Adrian jumped all over Hope starter Phil Haywood who recorded just one out in the first. Adrian put four runs on the board and it all started with a leadoff homer by Sam Fischer. His fourth blast of the season was over the left field wall and set the tone for an Adrian offense which pounded out 19 hits. Haywood did not help his own cause with a throwing error in the inning on a sacrifice bunt by Garrett Green. Kyle Strawn had a foulout to first base in the inning which was a sacrifice fly for an RBI. Mitch Stefanski had an RBI single and Mike Herzog also had a sacrifice fly to center in the frame.
Hope scratched across one run in the top of the second off Adrian starter Eric Schmidt. Josh Kranz doubled down the left field line and later scored on an infield single by Steve Esbin. Adrian came back in the second inning against Cooper Hartman and added three more runs to take a 7-1 lead. Strawn had an RBI single up the middle in the inning and Stefanski drove in a pair with a double that deflected off third baseman Eric Dawson.
The Bulldogs also added a single run in the fourth as Strawn reached on a leadoff single and came around to score on a passed ball. Hope's other run came in the fifth and it was unearned as Chris Blair lifted a sacrifice fly to right allowing Dawson to score from third.
Adrian tacked on three runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings as Hope used five different pitchers in the contest. For Adrian, Schmidt went six innings to improve to 8-0 this season. He allowed seven hits and one earned run to go with a walk and one strikeout. Sean Hartman worked the seventh, Craig Steadman worked the eighth and Lucas Willitzer closed out the game in the ninth. The three relievers combined to give up just three hits and no runs.
Several Bulldogs had big games as Fischer and Green each had three hits. Fischer scored twice and Green scored four runs while driving in three more. He had his 10th double of the season in the game and upped his season average to .356. Andrew DeLuca scored three times and collected two hits including his 11th double of the season. Stefanski drove in three runs and his double was the sixth of the season. R.J. Rios went 2-for-3 with a walk and his third two-bagger of 2012. Mitch Sroka and Anthony Sergi came off the bench and collected two RBI's.