Best Season in School History Ends in the NCAA Division III Regional Championship Game

The 2019 Adrian College Bulldogs baseball team. (Photo by Patrick Stewart)
The 2019 Adrian College Bulldogs baseball team. (Photo by Patrick Stewart)

 NCAA Division III Bracket l NCAA Digital Program / Game Program Supplement l Host Site 

ADRIAN, Mich.--A grand slam by Matt Psychas in the bottom of the sixth inning proved to be the difference as visiting Heidelberg outlasted Adrian, 9-6, in the championship game of this NCAA Division III Baseball Championship regional site on Sunday.

THE BASICS
= Final Scoreline: NCAA Division III Adrian Regional, Game 6 (championship)--No. 2 seed Heidelberg University 9-11-0, No. 3 seed Adrian College 6-16-1

= Location: Nicolay Field, Adrian, Mich.; Weather: Cloudy, 73 degrees, Wind SW 18 mph

= Records: Heidelberg Student Princes 33-13 overall; Adrian Bulldogs 37-9 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; Heidelberg is receiving votes by D3baseball.com.

TOP 'DAWGS
= Senior Jason Croci led Adrian with a game-high four hits and two runs batted in.

= Sophomore Brandon Cooper added 3-for-5, including a couple doubles, with a run scored and RBI from the No. 9 spot.

= Classmate Thomas Miller also had three hits, including a double.

= Juniors Gunner Rainey and Brady Wood chipped in two hits each. Rainey also drove in a pair of runs.

THE OPPOSITION
= Kane Bateman was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI.

= Marc Ochoa and Robert Hunt chipped in two hits apiece. Hunt, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, scored twice, drove in a run and walked once.

= Mason Metz (W, 4-1) got the win in relief, going 2.1 scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and no walks with a strikeout.

HOW IT HAPPENED
= The Bulldogs outhit the Student Princes 16 to 11, but left 13 runners on base.

= In the key sixth inning for Heidelberg, Hunt opened with a bunt single to the pitcher, Bateman singled to center field and Kyle Jenkins walked to load the bases. Psychas lifted a high flyball to the opposite field in right-center that cleared the fence with the almost 20 mile-per-hour winds blowing out. That home run made the score 9-5.

= In the fifth, Adrian battled back from a 4-2 deficit to plate three runs and take its last lead of the afternoon at 5-4. Freshman Kevin Cardentey had a sacrifice fly to left field and Croci laced a two-run triple to the same spot.

= The Berg, however, knotted the score at 5-all in the bottom half. Eric Devore sent a sacrifice fly to right center.

= Trailing 2-1 in the fourth, the Student Princes reclaimed the lead with three runs to make it 4-2. Hunt had a RBI-triple through the right side all the way to the right field wall, Bateman had a RBI-single to center and Jenkins capped it with a RBI-double down the right field line.

= Adrian got its first lead of the day in the third when Rainey deposited a two-run single into left-center to erase a 1-0 deficit.

= The Student Princes struck first with a RBI-groundout to the pitcher by Zach Doran in the second.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= Adrian is now 22-27 in the NCAA Tournament all-time.

= The Bulldogs were also 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 wound up 4-0 against Top 25-ranked teams in 2019.

= The Bulldogs see their best record in team history finish with a 37-9 record for an .804 winning percentage.

= The 'Berg advance to the Super Regionals against Wooster this weekend.

= Rainey won the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association batting title with a .411 average, which is 67 points higher than his previous career high of .344 as a sophomore.

= The 2019 MIAA Player of the Year also ties teammate Miller for the conference's RBI crown with 50 apiece.

= The Student Princes have won the last three meetings to take a 23-15 all-time series lead over the Bulldogs. Adrian is 9-8 at home against The Berg.

= Senior Jason Schroeder, who did not pitch today, wraps up his AC career tied for 17th in victories (14-3) and 14th in strikeouts (107) on the program's all-time charts.

= The NCAA Game Committee moved up today's start time was moved up 30 minutes to 11:30 a.m. to get the contest in before the wet weather forecasted to hit the region. The teams did play through a couple downpours under mostly dry conditions. Rain did sweep into the city just after completion of play.

NEXT UP
= Adrian is expected to return four of five starting pitchers and six starters in the lineup in 2020. The Bulldogs will have their non-traditional season next fall. 

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