ADRIAN, Mich. – The Adrian College baseball team split a pair of games on Saturday against second place Kalamazoo to remain three games ahead of the Hornets in the MIAA standings. The first game saw a milestone reached as senior pitcher Eric Schmidt picked up his 28th career win establishing a new record at Adrian College. Schmidt and the Bulldogs won 5-3 in a game that shifted monumentally on an error in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Kalamazoo scored single runs in the first, third and fifth inning to take a 3-0 lead. Schmidt got out of trouble giving up just one run in the first despite having to throw 27 pitches. The Hornets capitalized on a leadoff walk by Ian Kobernick and with two outs it was Jack Clark with an RBI single to center. Kalamazoo did strand runners on first and third to end the inning. In the third, another walk to Mitchell VanKoevering proved costly as he scored on a two-out throwing error by Ryan Dorow off the bat of Clark. In the fifth, Kobernick singled with one out and Scott Devine singled with two outs to put runners on the corners. Devine broke for second during the next at-bat and he got in a run-down as Kobernick took home before a tag was applied on Devine.
Adrian was held in check by Ryan Orr who came into the game with a perfect 7-0 record on the mound for the Hornets. The Bulldogs had just two hits in the first four innings before getting divine intervention in the fifth. Dakota Cararo and John Joseph singled to start the inning and Zach Leach then grounded to Orr allowing both runners to move up a base. Dorow was then hit by a 3-2 pitch to load the bases with two outs. Jeff Gertley drove a 1-0 pitch to deep right center and Kobernick camped under it but then dropped the fly ball near the wall allowing three runs to score and tie the game. Gertley ended up on third due to the error and then scored the winning run on a wild pitch with Miccoy Drzewiecki at the dish.
Schmidt closed the door in the final two at-bats for the Hornets. He retired the final six batters to secure the win. He finished with just four hits allowed, two walks and seven strikeouts improving to 7-1 this season. Orr seemed to run out of gas in the bottom of the sixth as Adrian added an insurance run. Orr began to reach over 100 pitches and Adrian took advantage. Joseph got his second hit of the game with one out and Leach had an infield single to put runners on first and second. Brian Killinger pinch ran for Joseph at second and Drew Shutes took the first pitch down the left field line for a RBI single scoring Killinger for a 5-3 lead. Orr finished with six innings and allowed seven hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
The story of game two was the pitching of Aaron Schwark for the Hornets. He tossed a complete-game shutout and allowed just five hits in a 3-0 win. He used 95 pitches (60 strikes) and walked one with four strikeouts. Schwark picked up his third win of the season and got run support in the fifth and sixth innings. The Hornets scored twice in the fifth off Adrian starter Tommy Eng. Carter Chandler led off with a single to left and Aidan Cullen pinch ran at first. Cullen moved to third after a pair of outs and then Nate Donovan chopped a RBI infield single to third for a 1-0 lead. Donovan appeared to be picked off for the final out but was ruled safe and it came back to bite the Bulldogs. Kobernick smacked a 1-1 pitch from Eng into the left center gap and Donovan raced home from first for a 2-0 lead.
Scott Devine led off the sixth with a beautiful bunt single down the third base line. He swiped second for his 15th steal of the season and was bunted to third for the first out. Joey Aliotta delivered on a full count with a sharp single to center scoring Devine for the 3-0 lead. The Bulldogs left six runners on base in game two and Eng took the tough-luck loss falling to 2-1 this season. He finished with seven innings, three earned runs, no walks and three strikeouts. Adrian was shutout for the first time since May 6, 2012 in a 1-0 loss at Trine. The two teams will play another pivotal doubleheader tomorrow (Apr. 26) in Kalamazoo beginning at 1 p.m.