Raiders blank New Ulm

NEW ULM – The Northfield Raiders showed what getting hits at the right time can do.

Of their 11 hits against the New Ulm Eagles Friday afternoon at Johnson Park, six of them came in the second inning and resulted in all seven of their runs en route to a 7-0 win over the Eagles in a non-conference game.

Caleb Malek got the win for the Raiders (11-3). He pitched five innings and allowed five hits.

Cole Dulas took the loss for New Ulm, now 12-4 on the season.

Jake Mathison led the Northfield attack with three hits and two RBI. Nate Picha added two hits and also drove in two runs.

Blake Neumann had two of New Ulm’s five hits.

“We just had that one bad inning,” New Ulm coach Jay Backer said. “They put up seven runs in the second inning and then our relievers (Tyler Dittrich and Dominic Comacho) shut them down. Baseball is a weird game.”

Northfield would start the unlucky seven run inning when Dulas walked Tom Zenk. Tom Wise followed with a single before Dulas issued his second walk of the inning to Marcus Nelson. Zenk raced home on an Alex Morsching sacrifice fly. A Brooks Volkert single and a wild pitch upped the lead to 2-0.

Jake Mathison’s two-run single made it a 4-0 Raider lead.

A Nate Picha RBI single and a two-run single from Zenk increased the Raider lead to 7-0.

Dulas left after that inning as Dittrich (four innings, three hits) and Comacho (one inning, one hit) shut down Northfield the rest of the way.

While the New Ulm relievers did their job, the New Ulm bats were unable to do theirs.

The Eagles had threats in the second, third, fifth and sixth innings but failed to get a key hit, stranding nine runners on base in the first six innings – five of them were in scoring position.

“I thought that we had a good mental approach today,” Backer said. “But we did not get the key hits. We do like to face tough competition before the playoffs.”

New Ulm will play at Norwood-Young America on Monday before closing out the South Central Conference and regular season schedule at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when the Eagles host Fairmont.

“That game Tuesday will decide the conference title,” Backer said. “We will be ready.”

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