Bulldogs Equal School Record for Wins to Punch Ticket to NCAA Baseball Regional Championship Game

Junior Brandon Schulze chalked up his first career save with the Bulldogs in one of his finest outings in this, his debut season at Adrian. (Action photo Special to AdrianBulldogs.com)
Junior Brandon Schulze chalked up his first career save with the Bulldogs in one of his finest outings in this, his debut season at Adrian. (Action photo Special to AdrianBulldogs.com)

ADRIAN, Mich.--No. 3 seed Adrian never trailed in a 5-3 victory Saturday over top-seeded Denison to reach the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship regional final for the first time since 2014, tying the school record for wins at 37 in the process. The Big Red are eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.

THE BASICS
= Final Scoreline: NCAA Division III Adrian Regional, Game 5--No. 3 seed Adrian College 5-8-1, No. 1 seed Denison University 3-11-2

= Location: Location: Nicolay Field, Adrian, Mich.; Weather: Clear, 74 degrees, Wind SE 10 mph

= Records: Adrian Bulldogs 37-8 overall; Denison Big Red 39-9 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; Denison is eighth (352 points) in the ABCA Top-30 and 13th (325) in the D3baseball.com Top-25.

TOP 'DAWGS
= Sophomore Brandon Cooper hit his third home run in as many NCAA tourney games.

= Senior Chad Paddock and junior Brady Wood both had two hits. Wood had a run batted in and one of Paddock's hits was a double.

= Senior pitcher Jesse Marks picked up the win in relief, going two innings.

= Junior college transfer Brandon Schulze earned his first save with the Bulldogs, throwing 2.2 scoreless innings with three hits allowed. 

THE OPPOSITION
= Anthony Ruggieri went 5-for-5 and had an RBI from the No. 9 spot in the batting order.

= Ty Robinson was 3-for-3 with a walk and RBI.

= Leadoff man Max Lahn was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and an RBI.

HOW IT HAPPENED
= Adrian grabbed a 2-0 lead with single runs in the second and third innings. Senior Jason Croci lifted a sacrifice fly and then Wood had a RBI single to center field.

= Denison cut it to 2-1 in the fourth on a RBI-single to left-center field by Ruggieri. 

= Adrian got two insurance runs in the fifth when sophomore Thomas Miller had a RBI-single up the middle and junior Gunner Rainey followed with a RBI-single to left.

= The Big Red, however, got back within one again, 4-3, with two runs of their own in the sixth (a Robinson sacrifice fly) and seventh (a Lahn fielder's choice).

= Cooper capped the scoring for both sides with his AC-leading sixth home run of the season over the left field wall.

= Denison threatened again in the top of the ninth after two outs. Ruggieri singled to center field and Lahn doubled to left center to put runners in scoring position. But Schulze got Grady Paine to swing at a pitch in the turf and Rainey threw to Paddock at first base to complete the strikeout, ending the game in thrilling fashion.

= Denison left 17 runners on base, including the bases loaded (with less than two outs) in the first and fifth.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= Adrian is now 22-26 in the NCAA Tournament all-time.

= The Bulldogs were the NCAA Midwest Regional Runner-Up in 2014 at Whitewater, Wis.

= The 2012 squad set the AC record with 37 victories against 10 losses.

= Adrian is now 4-0 against Top 25-ranked teams in 2019.

= Denison's 39 wins are the most in their program history.

NEXT UP
= Adrian will play Heidelberg at noon on Sunday. The Bulldogs will need to beat the Student Princes--who edged Adrian 4-3 in Friday's opening round--twice in order to advance to the Super Regionals. The "if necessary" game will follow approximately 40 minutes later.

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