ADRIAN, Mich.--Bolstered by the best start in program history through 13 games, the Adrian College baseball team moves up in both major national polls this week. The Bulldogs received 228 points to climb three spots to No. 15 in the D3baseball.com/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association national rankings and 332 to rise four rungs for No. 8 on the American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball Newspaper ladder.
Adrian went 4-1 last week with the loss coming to now D3baseball No. 24/ABCA No. 30 Heidelberg and including a four-game Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association weekend sweep of visiting Alma College in convincing fashion. Sophomore outfielder and reigning MIAA Player of the Week Brandon Cooper went 4-for-7, including a double, triple and home run, with six runs batted in during Sunday's doubleheader won by the Bulldogs, 11-4 and 18-0. The 19 hits in Game 2 ties a season-high in the March 2 opener versus nationally-ranked Wisconsin-Oshkosh and 18 runs equals a season's best at Oglethorpe on March 9.
Adrian has used a potent offense and solid pitching to compile an 11-2 overall mark and 4-0 in MIAA play.
Freshman LHP Maxwell Denny paces the MIAA with four victories (4-0) and his team-best 1.96 earned-run average is third. Junior right-handers Pierce Banks and sophomore Jordan Williams are both 3-0--both among the MIAA's strikeout leaders with 19 for fourth and 20 for third, respectively. The overall team earned-run average is 2.92, but the Bulldogs bullpen has been electric. That group has compiled a 1.47 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 43 innings.
Senior outfielder Zack Zschering is third in MIAA batting with a .447 clip, while Cooper jumps into the conference's top-5 at .444 for fourth place. Junior Gunner Rainey has widen his MIAA lead to 21 RBI.
As a team, Adrian is averaging 10.86 runs for fourth in NCAA Division III and batting .343. The team has percentages of .440 on-base and .448 slugging.
The Bulldogs crack the top-10 for the first time since 2013. Christopher Newport (17-2 record, 613 points, 16 first-place votes) is first in the D3baseball/NCBWA rankings over Concordia-Chicago (11-1, 584, 4) while the teams flip in the ABCA/CBN coaches' poll as Concordia has 471 points (8 first-place votes) to the Captains' 440 (7).
Adrian's first top-10 national ranking in six years will be tested today in Berea, Ohio, where the Bulldogs travel to Baldwin Wallace University for a 4 p.m. non-conference game at Fisher Field. The Yellow Jackets are 9-6 overall, 1-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference and coming off a 2018 NCAA Division III tournament appearance with a 33-14 record.
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