Adrian holds on and will play Sunday

By Jim Dixon

CEDAR RAPIDS - Adrian scored the game's first eleven runs and held on to win the first elimination game of the day 12-9 over Johns Hopkins in the 2021 D-III College World Series at Perfect Game Field.

"Another great game," said Adrian coach Craig Rainey. "Our guys came out and put a number up there. We went out and grounded it out."

Adrian drew first blood. Joe Casale bounced a ball through the middle of the infield and was moved to third on Brandon Cooper's ball that clipped the left field chalk line. Kevin Cardentey's safety to center was the third straight hit and plated Cassale to give the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead.

Gunner Rainey, who became the Adrian hits leader here in Cedar Rapids, lifted a ball that fell just past the wall in the short porch at Perfect Game Field with Thomas Miller on first to increase the Adrian lead to 3-0.

With every hit, Gunner Rainey extends his Adrian record for hits in a career. This one one went for a two-run home run.
photo by Larry Radloff, - More photos from this game

Adrian continued to add to its lead in the fourth. Cooper was back on the sacks after he was hit by the Johns Hopkins' starter Kieren Collins and advanced 90 feet on a Cardentey ball that dropped in front of the leftfielder.  Sean O'Keefe's fly ball twisted the left fielder around and ricocheted off the wall. Before the fielder could get the ball back in to the infield, two more runs scored and O'Keefe was standing on second base.

Collins allowed an infield single and a walk to load up the bases and JHU skipper, Bob Babb had enough. Collins was out and Jonah Offman was in. Offman walked Rainey to force in a run and gave up a safety to Tristian Richardson for two more as Adrian finished the fourth inning up 8-0.

Adrian added three more in the fifth on doubles by Miller and Rainey.

It was looking like the Bulldogs had a cake walk on their way to Sunday when Mark Lopez lead off the Hopkins half of the inning with a home run to left. Two batters later, Dai Dai Otaka's drive also landed in the seats as the JHU offense showed signs of life. With two outs in the inning, AJ King and Jared deFaria both hit safely and scored on Austin Sack's double to right. A hit batter and walk loaded the bases but Lopez who started the scoring grounded out to the third baseman to end the threat.

JHU shut down Adrian in the top of the sixth and added two more in the bottom of the inning. With the bases full of Blue Jays, deFaria lifted a sacrifice fly to plate one. A walk reloaded the bases and Jack Pausic singled to left. This easily scored Ritchie but Cooper in left nailed King at the plate to end the inning.

Both teams scored single runs in the seventh, Richardson with the Adrian RBI and Otaka for Hopkins.

The Blue Jays made it a 4 run deficit in the eighth with King's third home run of the season. deFaria followed King with a double and scored on Sacks' base hit that squeezed through the middle of the infield to make it a three run ball game. The Blue Jays went quietly in the ninth.

"We have had to battle adversity all season," said Babb. "They kept battling and it is all you can ask of them."

Adrian's win, its 37th of the season, matched the program best.

"These guys have worked hard," said Craig Rainey. "They deserve every win they got."

Trey Miller earned the win in relief as the JHU starter, Collins took the loss. Cardentey led all hitters with four hits. Ricahrdson for Adrain and Sacks for Johns Hopkins had the top RBI day for each team.

Adrian will play the loser of the Washington University-St. Thomas game that follows this contest.