13abc.com Joe Nugent, Sports Anchor/Reporter - email
The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) baseball tournament once again went to the Adrian College Bulldogs as they defeated Calvin College, 10-7, on Friday afternoon to go 3-0 in tournament play. The Bulldogs played Hope in the final in 2012, Trine in 2013 and now the Knights with the same result. The three-time tournament champion Bulldogs had a very productive tournament at the plate scoring 35 runs and collecting 41 hits in three games. The Bulldogs batted .363 as a squad and also played well in the field with just two errors and a .983 team fielding percentage.
Adrian defeated the Knights, 8-7, in 10 innings yesterday to put themselves in the driver's seat today of the double-elimination tournament. Calvin defeated rival Hope, 5-3, in the last of three tournament games yesterday at Nicolay Field to put themselves in the final. Calvin starting pitcher Cory Laster took the mound on just one day rest having throwing nine innings on Wednesday in a 5-2 win over Hope to open the tournament. Laster would last just three innings and throw 72 pitches for the Knights. He allowed four earned runs and six hits with two walks and no strikeouts. Adrian led 4-2 when Laster exited the game while his counterpart Adrian senior Rylie Robinson was gritty and grinded out 7.2 innings to earn the win (7-1). Robinson allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs with two walks and a strikeout in 110 pitches.
The Bulldogs scored in six straight innings from the second to the seventh keeping pressure on Calvin throughout the contest. Adrian led 10-4 after seven innings as the Knights battled back with three runs in the eighth. The Bulldogs turned to closer Tommy Eng with two outs in the eighth and he struck out Travis Kraai with a runner on second. Calvin put the tying run at the plate in the ninth against Eng as a two-out rally started with a single by Matt Schepel. Schepel swiped second and Peter Cupery singled through the left side to put runners on the corners. Jalen Bouma grounded out on a 1-1 pitch to Eng to end the game.
Senior Sam Fischer set a tournament record going 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Fischer scored four runs and also drove in a run. Senior Mitch Stefanski went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI and a walk. Senior Dan Heatherly collected two hits including his second home run of the tournament. Senior R.J. Rios went 1-for-3 with two RBI, two walks and his sixth double of the season. Rios had a very productive three days hitting .500 (6-for-12) with seven RBI. Fischer also had a torrid couple of days going 9-for-13 (.692) with eight runs scored, four RBI and three doubles. Schepel had a monster game in defeat for Calvin going 4-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI.
Adrian will now await selection into the NCAA Tournament for the seventh year in a row on Sunday late night or possible early Monday. The announcement will be available on NCAA.com.