Bulldogs Split MIAA Opener at Hope

Rylie Robinson
Rylie Robinson

HOLLAND, Mich. – The 11th-ranked Adrian College baseball team opened up the MIAA portion of their season on Saturday at Hope College in a battle between the preseason top teams in the conference. The Flying Dutchmen behind senior Adam Clements won game one 3-2 before Adrian rallied for a 4-1 win in nine innings in the nightcap.

The Bulldogs fell 3-2 in game one in a matchup of the staff aces at Boeve Stadium. Adrian had a golden opportunity to score early as they loaded the bases in the top of the first. Sam Fischer singled to center and then Mitch Stefanski walked to put runners on first and second. Dom Pompey stepped to the plate and was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hope starter Adam Clements worked out of the jam by striking out the next three batters to keep the game scoreless.

Hope struck for a run in the bottom of the third courtesy of an Eric Dawson RBI single with two outs. The run was unearned against Adrian starter Jason Fryman as Jordan Herman led off the inning reaching on an error. The Flying Dutchmen added another run in the bottom of the fourth as Alex Hunt singled home Steve Esbin with one out.

Meanwhile, Clements was making it hard for Adrian to comeback. He retired eight Bulldogs in a row before allowing a leadoff walk to Andrew DeLuca to start the fifth inning. AC cut the lead to 2-1 in the inning as DeLuca scored with two outs on an RBI triple by Stefanski. Hope answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth to regain a two-run lead. T.J. Klein reached on an error with one out and then stole second with two outs. He scored on Jon Ponte's RBI single.

Adrian cut the lead down to 3-2 in the top of the sixth. Garrett Green singled with one out and Michael Herzog singled Green over to third. Zach Kolvey pinch it for Jamey Sackett and grounded out as Green scored for the Bulldogs. Adrian put the tying run in scoring position in the top of the seventh as Fischer delivered a one-out double. Stefanski and Pompey struck out however to end the game.

Clements finished with a complete game, five-hitter and struck out 11. Fryman took the loss for Adrian (3-1) going six innings and allowing seven hits and one earned run. He walked two and struck out six.

In game two, both starting pitchers controlled the game yielding just one run each through eight innings. Danny Detmar went eight innings for Hope giving up nine hits and three earned runs. He ran into trouble in the top of the ninth when the Bulldogs broke a 1-1 tie with three runs. Rylie Robinson improved to 2-1 overall by going the distance of nine innings. He allowed six hits and one run while walking one and striking out five.

Hope took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when leadoff man T.J. Klein homered. Robinson then shut the door on the Flying Dutchmen. Adrian tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth inning. Kyle Strawn connected on a one-out homer for the Bulldogs.

In the ninth, R.J. Rios walked and was replaced for pinch runner Taylor Milligan. Green singled on the next at-bat moving Milligan to second with no outs. Ryan Sigler then came through with the game-winning RBI on a single. Jordan Carrigan then relieved Detmar as Herzog sacrificed both runners up a base. Sackett then drew an intentional walk to set up a force. Fischer bounced into a fielder's choice and Sackett was forced out at second, but not before Green scored Adrian's third run. The Bulldogs then completed a double steal and Sigler scored.

The two teams will conclude their season series with a doubleheader on Monday, Mar. 26 with first pitch slated for 2:00 PM at Nicolay Field. It will also be Adrian's home opener after starting the season with 11 games away from home.