By Jim Bastian
Journal Sports Writer
NEW ULM - New Ulm Legion Gold's game with Mankato National Tuesday night could well have been divided into three separate games.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Zach Hoffmann is congratulated by teammate Dan Blackstad after Hoffmann hit a home run during Legion Gold’s game against Mankato Tuesday at Mueller Park in New Ulm.
The first three innings saw Gold outscore Mankato 8-1. The fourth inning saw the visitors score five runs off New Ulm starter Dan Blackstad to cut the lead to 8-6.
And the final three innings saw reliever Matt Bergmann blank National hitters and allow just one baserunner as New Ulm Gold held on for an 8-6 win.
Dan Blackstad got the win for New Ulm, now 5-4. The lefthander went four innings and allowed six runs on nine hits.
Brandon Kowalski took the loss for Mankato (2-7). He was charged with eight runs in his 2 2/3 innings on the mound.
Zach Hoffmann led the Gold attack with three hits, including a solo home run and an RBI double.
Dylan Schreckenberg added two hits. Kevin Larson and Blackstad each doubled, with Erich Prokosch and Drew Pfaff each tripling. Pfaff's triple drove in three runs.
"I want to congratulate our whole team (on the win)," New Ulm Gold coach Bob Weier said. "We had really been struggling lately. It has not been so much our quality of play, but rather the quantity of play. We had nice days Friday and Saturday (in the Grand Rapids Tournament) and then played two games on Sunday when we were short on pitching."
Gold scored a run in the bottom of the first when Jordan Guggisberg walked and scored on a Hoffmann double.
New Ulm added three more runs in the second when Blackstad doubled, then was sacrificed to third by Bergmann. Schreckenberg's base hit scored Blackstad for a 2-0 lead. Prokosch followed with a triple to deep right field for a 3-0 lead. Prokosch later scored on a passed ball.
After Mankato scored a run in the top of the third, New Ulm bounced back with four runs in the bottom of the inning.
Hoffmann led off by belting the first pitch from Kowalski over the fence in left field. Jason Shaul singled. After two were out, Schreckenberg singled and Prokosch walked to load the bases for Pfaff, who laced a three-run triple to left field for a comfortable 8-1 lead.
But Mankato countered with five runs after two were out off of Blackstad to cut the lead to 8-6.
Enter Bergmann, who slammed the door on National, allowing them just one baserunner in his three innings of relief, that coming on a two out walk in the top of the seventh.