Clarksville, Ark. – Ozarks (7-8, 3-6) topped Grinnell (2-3) 16-14 after outhitting the Pioneers 17-15 in game one of the series between the two teams.
Grinnell embraced their small ball game in the top of the first and successfully laid down bunts with four of their first five batters, three of which turned out to be bunt singles. The Pioneers ended up batting through their lineup and tallying five runs in the first.
The Eagles were quick to respond in the bottom half of the frame, answering with a scoring streak of their own. Justin Crider had a leadoff single to right field and Josh Woolly followed with a two-run home run over the left field wall, then Andrew Beck kept the momentum going with a two-run home run of his own. Ozarks tacked on one more run with an RBI single by Fielder Dufrene to tie the game 5-5 after one complete inning.
A two RBI single to center field by Woolly put Ozarks up 7-5 in the bottom of the second and they would hang on to that lead until the Pioneers tied it up 8-8 in the top of the fifth.
Woolly and Beck each delivered yet again in the fifth, with both batters adding two RBI singles to put the Eagles up 12-8 through five complete innings.
Ozarks would maintain a lead through the rest of the game, despite Grinnell's best efforts to mount a comeback.
The Eagles had seven extra base hits, comprised of three doubles, one triple, and three home runs. Woolly had a standout performance at the plate, going 4-for-6 with six RBIs and a home run. Beck had an impressive offensive day as well, going 3-for-5 with five RBIs and a home run. Last but not least, Crider hit for the cycle going 4-for-5 with two RBIs, improving his season batting average to .452.
By: Jackie Bacon