FREELAND, Mich. - The Adrian College baseball team has been predicted to capture the 2016 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship, according to the MIAA coaches' preseason poll released on Thursday.
Adrian was listed first on all but one ballot cast by each of the league's eight head coaches, and received seven points to top second-place Hope (15 points, 1 first-place vote).
Rounding out the poll are Kalamazoo, Calvin, Trine, Albion, Alma and Olivet.
The Bulldogs last spring swept the MIAA regular-season and tournament titles to earn its eighth straight NCAA Division III Baseball Championship appearance. Adrian defeated Kalamazoo (3-2), Hope (6-5) and Calvin (11-4) to capture its fourth conference crown in as many years that the MIAA has conducted a postseason tournament. Adrian was seeded second---the highest in program history--at the NCAA Mideast Regional, hosted by Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa.
Adrian fashioned a 33-12 record last year while winning its seventh MIAA championship and eighth NCAA tournament bid since 2008, while posting its eighth 30-win campaign in a row. The team went 23-5 in the MIAA, recording the third-most overall and conference wins in AC history.
Coach Craig Rainey's 23rd season features four returning all-MIAA standouts, headlined by 2014 All-America junior shortstop Ryan Dorow (South Haven, Mich.), senior right-handed pitcher Jordan Frayer (New Boston, Mich./Huron High School), senior outfielder Jeff Gertley (Northville, Mich.), and junior designated hitter/first baseman Miccoy Drzewiecki (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales HS).
In addition, senior pitcher Tommy Eng (Troy, Mich./Athens HS) and sophomore pitchers Collin Korte (Bowling Green, Ohio/Toledo St. John's HS), Tommy Parsons (New Albany, Ohio) join Dorow, Frayer, and Gertley as "preseason All-Americans" named last month in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper 2016 Watch List chosen by NCAA Division III head coaches.
Adrian will begin the season on Wednesday, March 2, at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., where the Bulldogs will also play Blackburn College on the 5th and 6th.
Fans can catch their first glimpse at home when the Bulldogs make their Nicolay Field debut on Saturday, March 26, against MIAA opponent Olivet.
Team, Points (1st place votes)
1. Adrian, 7 (7)
2. Hope, 15 (1)
3. Kalamazoo, 24
4. Calvin, 26
5. Trine, 30
6. Albion, 31
7. Alma, 42
8. Olivet, 49