KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The final two games of the series between Adrian and Kalamazoo on Sunday left fans on the edge of their seats. The Bulldogs staged a 7-5 comeback win in game one and then posted a 2-1 win in game two claiming at least a share of their seventh straight Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association regular season title. Adrian improved to 27-9 overall and 20-4 in the conference with the sweep. Calvin still has an outside chance of sharing the title but they would need two wins against Trine on Monday and then a four-game sweep of Adrian next week. The regular season champion will host the MIAA Tournament beginning May 6.
The Hornets drew first blood in game one in the fourth inning with a pair of runs. Adrian starter Jordan Frayer did not allow a hit until the fourth but it proved to be a two-out RBI double by Joey Aliotta which scored Jack Clark from first after an error. Carter Chandler then singled and took second on the throw to the plate as Aliotta slid safely for a 2-0 lead.
Adrian answered in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 2-2. John Joseph walked and stole second but stayed on the bases paths after a pair of fly outs by Josh Knorr and Drew Shutes. Ryan Dorow got Adrian on the board with a single to center to cut the lead in half. Jeff Gertley followed with a double to the wall in right field as Dorow scored for first to tie the game.
Kalamazoo built their lead to 5-2 with a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth. Ian Kobernick had a RBI single in the fifth and Alex Fultz had a big two-out, two-run single for a three-run lead heading into the top of the seventh. The championship pedigree showed up in the five-run seventh as Adrian took a 7-5 lead. Shutes doubled with one out to start the rally and Dorow was hit by a pitch to bring the tying run to the plate. Gertley had another big hit with a two-run double to left as Shutes and Dorow scored to cut the lead to one. Gertley took third on a wild pitch and Miccoy Drzewiecki singled him home with the tying run. Jake Gilstorff doubled to left and moved Drzewiecki to third to put the go-ahead runs in scoring position. Tommy Eng entered as a defensive replacement in the sixth and stepped to the plate for the first time since March 25 at Heidelberg. The layoff didn't seem to matter as he drilled a single off the glove of the pitcher for a two-run lead.
Frayer was replaced in the bottom of the seventh by freshman Collin Korte who nailed down the save with a 1-2-3 inning. Korte earned his fourth save of the season. Frayer went six innings and allowed one earned run with a walk and strikeout improving to 6-1 on the season. Dorow reached base four times going 3-for-3 with a double and two runs. Gertley went 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. Eng recorded his first RBI since March 21 at Albion in game one.
The Bulldogs and Hornets did all of their scoring in game two in the first inning of a 2-1 win for Adrian. Knorr led off with a single and Shutes drove him home with a double to left. Shutes moved to third on a wild pitch and Dorow grounded to short for a RBI and a 2-0 lead. The Hornets got a run in the first as Kobernick singled to right and Mitchell VanKoevering singled to right as well. With runners on the corners, a passed ball scored Kobernick and VanKoevering moved up to second. Adrian starter Tommy Parsons settled down to get the next three guys out to keep a 2-1 lead.
Parsons and Kalamazoo starter Adam McDowell dueled into the fifth inning before the Hornets made a threat to add another run. Fultz walked with one out and Korte was brought in to keep the score the same. Matt Donovan singled with two outs and both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Kobernick grounded out to Eng at third who made a nice play to preserve the lead.
The Hornets also made Adrian hearts skip a beat in the bottom of the seventh with another threat. The first two batters were retired before Todd Bonnivier reached on a fielding error. Donovan kept the inning alive with a single to right. Kobernick again had a chance to extend or win the game but Korte induced a fly ball to right to end the game.
Korte earned his second save of the day and fifth of the season moving into a tie for second in the MIAA. Parsons got the win moving to 6-1 as he pitched 4.1 innings and allowed two hits with a walk and strikeout. McDowell had one of his best outings this season taking the loss (3-2) in seven innings of work. He allowed three hits, two earned runs, one walk and struck out four. Shutes had the game's only extra-base hit.