TUCSON, Ariz.--Adrian College begins 2017 nationally-ranked according to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper preseason poll, it was announced recently. In addition, three Bulldogs--seniors Ryan Dorow, Ian Mikowski and junior Tommy Parsons--have been named to the NCAA Division III Players to Watch List as selected by head coaches from around the nation and compiled by CBN.
The NCAA Division III Season Preview layout appears in the Jan. 7, 2017, issue of the publication, which was founded in 1958.
Adrian received 225 points to come in 23rd, just behind No. 20 California Lutheran (31-13, 232 points), No. 21 Occidental (32-10, 230) and No. 22 Concordia-Chicago (34-13, 228). The Bulldogs finished last spring with a 30-12 record--their ninth consecutive 30-win campaign. Adrian won the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship for the eighth time in a row with a 24-4 league slate, tying Alma's conference mark first set between 1951 and 1958.
2015 national champion Cortland (N.Y.) State is the preseason No. 1 with 274 points (43-8), edging Keystone (Pa.) with 272. Wisconsin-La Crosse (39-10) is No. 3 with 270.
Adrian--the only MIAA member ranked in CBN's preseason rankings--is set to return 26 student-athletes who saw varsity playing time last season, including six starters in the lineup and three pitchers in the main rotation.
The list is headed by Dorow, a four-year starter at shortstop, who is a two-time All-American by the American Baseball Coaches' Association and D3baseball.com. The 2016 MIAA Player of the Year (Dorow earned the same award as a freshman) finished the season with several career highs while ranking in the MIAA top-5, including 66 hits (2nd), eight home runs (2nd), 102 total bases (2nd), school-record 56 runs batted in (2nd), 46 runs scored (4th), four sacrifice flies (4th) and a .611 slugging percentage (4th). He also batted .395 for sixth, walked 25 times for eighth, hit two triples for eighth and had a .480 on-base percentage for seventh. The South Haven (Mich.) High School graduate also had NCAA statistical rankings of 13th in total RBI and 16th in RBI per game.
Parsons, of New Albany [Ohio] High, is the Bulldogs' ace on the mound who led the MIAA with a career best 9-1 won-lost record en route to the conference's pitcher of the year award. He also established personal records with 82.2 innings pitched and a 2.18 earned-run average--both second in the conference. He walked only 11 batters while striking out 50 for another PR, and opponents hit just .212 (8th in the MIAA) against the young man who faced the most batters in the league.
An ABCA All-Mideast Region and All-MIAA First Team selection, Mikowski (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Northview HS) also enjoyed a career year that included a conference-leading 26 stolen bases to set a school record. He also topped the MIAA with 52 runs scored while ranking second in walks (35), hits (66), batting average (.426 in 155 at-bats) and on-base percentage (.526). He's also registered a .542 slugging percentage for eighth.
With a bevy of lettermen returning, Adrian's potent offense is largely intact for 2017. A year ago, the Bulldogs were the national statistical champion with a .438 on-base percentage for one of numerous school records broken or tied.
As a team, Adrian also was nationally ranked fourth with 228 walks, fifth in scoring at 8.7 runs per contest, 14th with a .333 batting average, 14th with 366 runs scored, 16th in slugging percentage at .485, 24th with 2.26 doubles per game, 27th with five shutouts, 29th with 95 doubles, 31st with a .714 won-lost percentage, 32nd with a .965 fielding percentage, 39th with 24 sacrifice flies, 41st with 28 home runs and 44th with 0.67 homers per game.
In each of those categories, the Bulldogs also paced the MIAA. In addition to on-base percentage, the team set program records for walks (previous: 209 in 2014) and runs (previous: 359, 2012) in marks that were ranked among NCAA leaders.
Adrian will commence the season on Sunday, Feb. 26, at Berry College and remain in Georgia to play again two days later at Piedmont College to begin a two-game series with the Lions. The non-conference schedule will be formidable as the Bulldogs play CBN nationally-ranked teams in the first three weeks: No. 5 Birmingham Southern (Mar. 2), No. 19 Wooster (Mar. 18), No. 24 Marietta (Mar. 17) and No. 27 North Central-Ill. (Mar. 19).
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(Editor's note: This story was updated at 6:01 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, to reflect that Cortland State is not the defending national champion; Trinity-Texas won in 2016. AdrianBulldogs.com apologizes for the error.)