Alex Christensen benefited the most from Gridley’s hot bat on Friday, running the base paths in four of the seven innings for Fairfield. It was Christensen that scored the first run of the night on a two-out RBI single by Cameron Baumann in the third.
“We’re a pretty good hitting ball team. We’re pretty aggressive at the plate,” Gridley said. “Some of our hitters have struggled at the plate, but they didn’t let it get them down. They just got right back up and kept swinging.”
Two-out hits made a big difference against the Bulldogs. Fairfield had 15 base runners reach base and had nine of their 11 hits one out from the end of an inning.
“It’d be so much nicer, as a coach, if you’re getting on with nobody out so you could do a little bit more,” Allison said. “Even though we had to wait most of the night for two-out hits, we were able to string a lot of them together. Hopefully, we can start stringing things together earlier in innings.”
Fairfield extended their 1-0 lead in the fourth with a long two-out rally that knocked out Ottumwa starting pitcher Brok Hopwood. Joseph Hieptas followed up a two-out drive to deep center by lead-off batter Jordan Reid with an RBI single to double Fairfield’s lead. Gridley’s second hit and back-to-back walks forced home another run.
“My frustration for the most part is that we gave Fairfield too many extra opportunities to score,” Jaeger said. “Our hitting wasn’t fantastic, but what really hurt us was giving up walks and allowing them more chances to hurt us with a big hit.”
Corey Ridgway seemed to give the Bulldogs a boost in the fifth, stealing home off of Gridley to pull Ottumwa within 3-1. The play allowed two more Bulldog runners to move into scoring position, but Gridley responded by striking out Chase Wood to end the threat.