Adrian Edged by Visiting Heidelberg, 4-3, in NCAA Division III Baseball Regional Opener

Sophomore Brandon Cooper is tied for the Adrian lead with four home runs on the season after connecting in the NCAA Regional on Friday. Heidelberg won 4-3. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
Sophomore Brandon Cooper is tied for the Adrian lead with four home runs on the season after connecting in the NCAA Regional on Friday. Heidelberg won 4-3. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

ADRIAN, Mich.--Sophomore Brandon Cooper hit a solo home run as part of a 3-for-4 performance at the plate and junior Gunner Rainey matched him with three hits, but it wasn't enough for Adrian in a 4-3 defeat at the hands of visiting Heidelberg on Friday in their opening game of the NCAA Division III Baseball Regional Championship Tournament.

THE BASICS
= Final Scoreline: NCAA Division III Adrian Regional, Game 2--No. 2 seed Heidelberg University 4-7-1, No. 3 seed Adrian College 3-10-0

= Location: Location: Nicolay Field, Adrian, Mich.; Weather: Cloudy, 64 degrees, Wind NE 5 mph

= Records: Heidelberg Student Princes 31-13 overall; Adrian Bulldogs 35-8 overall

= National Rankings:  Adrian is No. 13 by the American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (281 points) and No. 9 in the D3baseball.com/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (378) poll; AC's NCAA Mideast Regional Ranking: No. 4...Heidelberg is receiving votes by D3baseball.com.

TOP 'DAWGS
= Cooper finished with two singles.

= Rainey had a double as part of his three hits to tie Cooper for game-best honors and had a run batted in.

= Seniors Dugan Darnell and Zack Zschering chipped in a double apiece.

= Classmate Jason Schroeder pitched the final two innings without giving up a run or a hit to try to keep the Adrian offense close. He walked two and struck out three Student Princes.

THE OPPOSITION
= Alex Sir Louis (W, 9-2) got the win on the mound after pitching seven innings, allowing three runs, three walks and scattering nine hits. He had six strikeouts.

= Seven different Student Princes had at least one hit. 

= Tyler Smith and Kane Bateman both had a hit and walked twice.

HOW IT HAPPENED
= Marc Ochoa scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Heidelberg snapped a 2-2 tie when Eric Devore reached on a fielder's choice to bring in a run and Zach Doran plated Ochoa with a RBI-single to right field.

= Cooper homered just over the glove of centerfielder Robert Hunt in left-center to bring Adrian within 4-3 in the top of the seventh.

= The Bulldogs tried to keep a rally going in that frame as sophomore Thomas Miller walked and Rainey singled to right field after Cooper's solo shot. But Sir Louis got junior Brady Wood to strike out swinging on a full count to escape further damage.

= Things started well enough for Adrian, which opened with two runs in the top of the first inning. Rainey doubled to right field to score Zschering, who led off the game with a double down the left field line. Rainey scored on Wood's RBI-single to center.

= But the lead was shortlived as the Student Princes scored two of their own in the bottom half. Matt Psychas tripled down the left field line to score Bateman, who had a leadoff walk. Parker Fronk tied it 2-2 with a single to left center to bring home Psychas.

= The Bulldogs outhit the Student Princes, but left 10 runners on base.

= Adrian had another good rally going in the ninth, but could not get the tying run in. Cooper opened with a single to left field and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Zschering. Cooper moved up 90 feet after Miller grounded out to shortstop. After Rainey was intentionally walked to put runners on the corners, HU closer Joey Wenning (1IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB) got the final out by getting Brady to hit into a force-out and earn his ninth save of the year.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= Rainey is Adrian's active career hits leader with 188.

= Heidelberg leads Adrian in the all-time series, 22-15. Adrian drops to 9-7 at home against the Student Princes.

= Due to a lower seeding, Adrian was the designated "visitors" on the scoreboard for administrative purposes. Per NCAA rules, the contest counts on Adrian's historical record at home.

= The Bulldogs fall to 20-26 lifetime in the NCAA Tournament. Adrian defeated The Berg the last time these teams met in NCAA regional play; it was 8-1 on May 14, 2014, in Whitewater, Wis.

UP NEXT
= Adrian will play La Roche at noon Saturday in an elimination game.

#AdrianBulldogs #GoDawgs #BulldogProud