TUCSON, Ariz.--The Adrian College Bulldogs received 188 points to appear 39th in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top-40 preseason coaches' poll among NCAA Division III teams. Adrian is the only school representing the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association in these national rankings.
In addition, three-fourths of Adrian's MIAA starting pitching rotation made the CBN Players to Watch list, a defacto preseason All-America team selected by the nation's head coaches. Senior right-hander Tommy Parsons (New Albany, Ohio) headlines that group and he is joined by junior right-hander Jason Schroeder (Kimball Twp., Mich./Marysville High School) and sophomore righty Pierce Banks (Sterling Heights, Mich./Parkway Christian HS). Senior first baseman Hunter Hayes (Adrian High School) also made the watch list.
Despite losing four position players in the lineup, including All-Americans Ryan Dorow and Ian Mikowski who both played professionally last summer, the Bulldogs still return several key offensive parts as well as a strong pitching staff. Adrian returns six defensive starters, plus three MIAA-starting pitchers, among 30 lettermen from last season's team that finished 34-13 overall (10th 30-win season in a row) and 23-5 in the MIAA, captured a conference-record ninth-straight MIAA championship and gained their 11th NCAA tournament bid in program history.
Parsons claimed NCAA statistical titles last season with 12 victories (12-1) and a 14.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio--both school records. The two-time MIAA Pitcher of the Year also ranked highly in the nation in complete games (2nd with nine), fewest walks allowed per 9 innings (9th with 0.68), strikeouts (10th with 101 strikeouts, tying a school record) and earned-run average (69th with 2.23). The business management major went 44-1/3 innings at one point without issuing a walk for what's believed to be a NCAA Division III all-time record and 25 scoreless innings for the 18th-longest streak in D-III history. As a result, he was a third-team All-America selection by both the American Baseball Coaches' Association and D3Baseball.com.
Banks made an immediate impact as the No. 2 starter in the Adrian rotation, compiling an 8-1 record with a MIAA-second-leading 2.43 ERA in his debut season. The athletic training major struck out 60 batters and opponents batted only .223 against him in 77-2/3 innings of work. As a result, he was named ABCA All-Mideast Region Second Team and All-MIAA First Team. The MIAA Pitcher of the Week for April 10 threw his first career collegiate shutout on April 22 against Albion, a four-hitter with seven strikeouts.
In his first season with the Bulldogs, Schroeder posted a perfect 6-0 record with a MIAA-third-leading 2.49 ERA in 50-2/3 innings of work. He had 39 strikeouts and ranked 15th in the nation while giving up only 6.04 hits per 9 innings, which led the conference.
The offense is led by All-MIAA second-team Hayes and first-team choice Frank Resto (Miami, Fla./South Miami HS), at catcher. Hayes made an immediate impact in his first season with the Bulldogs after playing his first two years at Jackson College. The exercise science major listed 28th in the nation with 18 doubles to lead the conference. He produced a .345/.374/.524 slashline on the season, but those figures are amplified in conference games at .374/.406/.626. The May 15 MIAA Player of the Week had four home runs and 46 runs batted in despite missing the last four games of the regular season. Resto also made his debut on the all-conference squad while enjoying a breakout season. The communications major didn't allow a passed ball in league play only (and just four all season) and threw out seven would-be base stealers during the season. Offensively, he has established personal records in runs (21), hits (35), total bases (38), RBI (22) and sacrifice flies (3). He earned MIAA Player of the Week on April 3.
Adrian commences the 2018 season--its 25th under head coach Craig Rainey '89--on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala.
Cortland State edged national champion California Lutheran for the top spot in the preseason poll, 283 to 281 points.
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