ADRIAN, Mich.--The nationally No. 26-ranked Adrian College baseball team opens the 2019 docket this weekend in Birmingham, Ala., where the Bulldogs will play host Birmingham-Southern College on Saturday (1:30 p.m. Eastern/12:30 p.m. Central) and No. 13/21 Wisconsin-Oshkosh on the BSC campus on Sunday (1 p.m. Eastern/Noon Central). The Bulldogs' spring break trip continues in Georgia at Piedmont College (Tuesday, 7 p.m.) and at Oglethorpe (Friday, March 8, 5 p.m.; Saturday, March 9, 1 p.m.).
TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
- The Bulldogs are ranked 26th in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper/American Baseball Coaches Association Top-40 (215 points) and appear in the "others receiving votes" category with 40 points in this week's D3baseball.com/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll.
- Adrian returns its offensive nucleus of seven starters from the lineup and most of the starting pitching off last year's squad that went 35-12 overall, 24-4 for first place in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and finished as high as 29th in the national polls.
- Junior RHP Pierce Banks, junior catcher Gunner Rainey, junior first baseman Brady Wood and sophomore RHP Jordan Williams are cited as Division III Players to Watch in 2019 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
- Wood, who played mostly second base a year ago, led the offense with a .399/.458/.554 slashline with 14 doubles and 34 runs batted in. The MIAA first-teamer tied a single-game school record with five hits in the MIAA finale at Hope.
- Banks had a solid sophomore effort that included a 7-2 mark, 4.21 earned-run average and 67 strikeouts in 72.2 innings. He was second-team all-region by ABCA as a 2017 freshman and a two-time all-conference pick.
- Rainey, a former two-year starter in left field, also made the all-conference first team last spring after career highs in batting average (.344), on-base percentage (.401), slugging (.411), runs scored (39), hits (62) and RBI (32). He became the 38th Bulldog in school history to reach 100 career hits on May 5, 2018, at Hope.
- Williams led the pitching staff with an 8-1 record with three saves and 2.07 ERA in 74 innings (66 strikeouts) en route to landing on ABCA/Rawlings and D3baseball.com All-Mideast Region second teams as well as earning first-team all-conference.
- Craig Rainey '89 begins his 26th season at the helm of the Bulldogs, ranking 24th among active NCAA Division III coaches and 45th all-time at that level in victories with 654. His .613 winning percentage is 52nd while active.
- Adrian is now 11-14 in season openers under Coach Rainey. Last year, the Bulldogs opened with a 13-7 road win at Huntingdon College for its most runs scored in a season opener since 2010.
- The Bulldogs were 4-2 against nationally-ranked squads in 2018, which included an 11-6 road record and 2-2 at neutral-site venues.
- Banks versus Birmingham-Southern on Saturday, senior right-hander Jason Schroeder (4-2, 5.30 ERA, 37.1 IP, 18 BB, 37 K) against Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Sunday and Williams versus Piedmont on Tuesday.
ABOUT BIRMINGHAM-SOUTHERN, UW-OSHKOSH
- BSC is receiving votes by CBN/ABCA after going 22-18 overall and 11-10 in the Southern Athletic Association in 2018. In 2019, the Panthers stand 5-4 overall including a 4-1 home record.
- Cole Steadman leads the team with a .395 batting average and has five RBI. Cory Price (.200) has one home run and a team-leading six RBI.
- As a team, BSC is batting .252 and outscoring opponents 37 to 35. The pitchers have a combined 3.18 ERA with 68 strikeouts and 31 walks in 79.1 innings.
- UW-Oshkosh is 13th in the CBN/ABCA national rankings with 249 points and 21st in the D3baseball/NCBWA listings with 135 points after finishing 34-10 overall, including a runner-up 18-6 mark in the WIAC, a year ago.
- In their first NCAA regional appearance in 10 years, the Titans fell one game short of going to the 2018 NCAA Division III World Series for the first time since 2003.
- The Titans' 34 wins were their most since 2007 while their 10 losses were the program's fewest since 2004.
LAST TIME OUT
- Adrian finished 2018 by going 2-2 in the NCAA Mideast Regional Championship that it hosted, completing its 11th season in a row of 30-plus wins.
LAST TIME OUT...vs BSC and UW-OSHKOSH
- Adrian defeated then-No. 14 ranked BSC Panthers, 7-4, on March 1, 2018. Jordan Torrento (.273/.460/.427 in 2018) went 1-for-2, had two RBI and walked three times, leading seven Bulldogs with at least one hit. The schools are tied 5-5 in their all-time series that began with an AC doubleheader sweep on Feb. 29, 2008.
- The Bulldogs lost in their only previous meeting with UW-Oshkosh on March 3, 2017, 8-4, in Birmingham.
Adrian's next trip to the southeastern U.S. will be March 15-17 at Berry College and neutral games against Cortland and Marietta on the Berry campus.
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