ADRIAN, Mich.--After Kalamazoo College gave Adrian College its first loss in Game 6 of the 2017 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Baseball Tournament, the host Bulldogs bounced back in a "winner-takes-all" final game and defeated the Hornets, 8-3, to capture their fifth MIAA tournament title.
By virtue of the MIAA's automatic bid, Adrian will be making its 11th NCAA Division III Baseball Championship appearance in school history. The NCAA will announce the 56-team field on Monday morning via NCAA.com and right here at AdrianBulldogs.com.
= Final Scoreline: Kalamazoo 4-6-1, Adrian 2-7-2 (MIAA Tournament Game #6)
= Final Scoreline: Adrian 8-12-1, Kalamazoo 3-7-2 (MIAA Tournament Game #7)
= Location: Nicolay Field, Adrian, Mich.; Weather: Sunny, 63 degrees, Wind NE 10 mph
= Records: #1 seed Adrian Bulldogs 33-11 overall; #2 seed Kalamazoo Hornets 31-14 overall
= National Rankings: Adrian ("RV" National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association/D3baseball.com, 29 points; "RV" American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, 10 points)
= Junior Hunter Hayes continued his hot streak in his return to the lineup by going 5-for-9 on the afternoon.
= Freshman Tristin Richardson had five hits between the two games, including a 4-for-4 performance in the finale, and two runs batted in.
= Freshman Gunner Rainey had four hits and drove in four runs--including a career-high three in the clinching win--during the afternoon
= Junior Tommy Parsons, the Bulldogs' No. 1 ace, pitched 3-2/3 innings of scoreless relief to pick up his 11th win of the season in the second game. He allowed just two hits and one walk with two strikeouts.
QUOTING HEAD COACH CRAIG RAINEY, who is in his 24th season at his alma mater
= "Our seniors have worked extremely hard this year and have been great leaders. After falling short of our goals of an MIAA tournament championship and NCAA Regional appearance in 2016, our 12 seniors refocused their drive to build up to this season.
= "We played a grueling non-conference schedule to make sure we challenged our team to elevate their game and focus. We encountered success out-of-conference, which help us build great confidence heading into MIAA play. (Adrian went 3-1 versus the Top-25 in 2017, plus had victories over strong NCAA Division III programs Marietta and Baldwin-Wallace as well as NAIA-scholarship Siena Heights.)
= "I think the coaching staff felt more pressure this year to make sure our goals were met, because of the strong group of baseball junkies, we coached this year. We knew we had to get back to the NCAA tourney. The coaching staff had to make sure this group was ready for the task at hand.
= "This group of guys--seniors to freshman--have been up for all challenges this year and we will be prepared for the NCAA Tournament. We want to represent the MIAA and this baseball conference."
= Mitch VanKoevering and Jordan Wiley had three hits apiece in the playoff doubleheader.
= Alex Fultz had a double in each contest.
= In MIAA Game#6, Joe Giacalone (W, 1-0) pitched a perfect seventh inning to get credit for his first victory of the spring.
HOW IT HAPPENED, MIAA Tournament Game#6
= Kalamazoo doubled up Adrian, 4-2, to stay alive and force another meeting. In the top of the eighth inning, Fultz hit a RBI-double down the third base line for the go-ahead run breaking a 2-2 tie. Jack Clark gave the Hornets an insurance run in the ninth with a sacrifice fly.
= Things started well enough for the Bulldogs who led 2-0 after two innings. Rainey and senior Miccoy Drzewiecki had RBIs on a single and fielder's choice, respectively.
= But the Hornets clawed back with runs in the third and fourth frames to even it, 2-2. Ian Kobernick singled to right center for their first run, and VanKoevering scored on a throwing error that would have ended the fourth.
= Ryan Orr, Kzoo's ace, entered the ninth in a relief role and induced three groundouts to pick up his third save this season.
= Adrian had a big five-run third inning for all the offense the Bulldogs would need. Trailing 1-0 as the "visiting" team, Adrian got five of the first six batters to reach base. Hayes and Richardson had RBI-singles while Rainey had a two-run single. The Bulldogs scored another run on Rainey's single when the right fielder misplayed the ball that allowed an unearned tally to come across.
= The Bulldogs' defense turned three double plays in the last four innings to make sure Kzoo would stay off the board.
= Fultz had a two-out RBI-double in the bottom of the second to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead. But he was stranded at second base after an inning-ending strikeout.
= The Hornets scored single runs in the fourth and fifth to make it 7-3 in favor of Adrian. VanKoevering had a RBI groundout and pinch-runner Alex Kracht scored, unearned, on a throwing error. Kzoo left two runners on base in the fifth.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= Adrian remains ranked third in the third NCAA Division III Mideast Region Rankings, released on Thursday.
= The Bulldogs are now 15-4 in MIAA Tournament play since the event started in 2012. Adrian also won titles in 2012-13-14-15.
= The Mideast Regional Tournament will be hosted by Washington and Jefferson College at Ross Memorial Park in Washington, Pa.
= Parsons tied Jason Fryman (11-1 in 2012) for the most wins in an Adrian single-season.
= Senior Ian Mikowski extended his Bulldogs season stolen bases record to 37 today, taking sole possession of first place in the MIAA over Wiley who has 36.
= Hayes led tournament participants in batting average (.667), slugging (.750) and on-base percentage (.667).
= Parsons wrapped up the MIAA tournament with a 2-0 record, compiling a 0.75 earned-run average and 14 strikeouts in 12 innings of work. He walked two and opponents hit just .190 against him.
= Adrian has turned 46 double plays this season--a school record and a top-20 mark in the nation.
= The Bulldogs won six of seven meetings over the Hornets in 2017, taking an all-time series lead of 106-65.
= Adrian finished 17-2 (.895) at home, which is the second-best record in school history to the 2012 club that went 17-1 (.944) at Nicolay Field.
= Adrian will await word from the NCAA Baseball Selection Committee on Monday to learn where it will play next week. There are eight regionals that will be held Thursday through Monday, May 18-22, with each regional champion booking a ticket to Appleton, Wis., for the championship round that will be held Friday through Wednesday, May 26-31, at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium (hosted by Lawrence and UW-Oshkosh).
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