NEW ULM - Drew Pfaff pitched a three-hit shutout to help send New Ulm Gold to a 2-0 victory against New Ulm Blue in Thursday's all-New Ulm Legion baseball match-up at Mueller Park.
Pfaff (three walks allowed, five strikeouts) received all the run support he needed when Kevin Larson (1-for-2, two runs) scored in the bottom of the first on the game's only error. Larson crossed the plate again in the fifth on an RBI single by Jason Shaul (1-for-3), giving Gold some extra breathing room at the end of the game.
"I felt pretty decent," Pfaff said. "I wish I would have thrown a few more strikes, cut down on the walks, but overall I felt good... We knew that all the pressure's on us and they just came out here to try and beat us. "
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Legion Gold pitcher Drew Pfaff tosses a pitch during Gold’s win against New Ulm Legion Blue Thursday at Mueller Park in New Ulm.
Jake Gieseke pitched a complete game for Blue, allowing only one earned run in six innings of work. He allowed five hits, walked three and struck out nobody.
"Basically, I just threw strikes and made the defense play, and that's basically how it came out in the game," Gieseke said. "We weren't trying to do anything big."
Gieseke (1-for-3) reached second base in the top of the first, but Blue didn't get another runner past first base against Pfaff until the fifth inning, when Andy DeRock was stranded at third after a leadoff walk.
DeAndre Parker (1-for-2) and Luke Cihak (1-for-3) had the only other hits for Blue.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more," Blue head coach Mike Munce said. "I told them before the game like I've told them all year, if we pitch good and we play good defense we'll be in every game, which we were in this game."
Gold threatened to add more runs throughout the game, but Blue came up with some clutch defensive plays to strand seven Gold runners and keep the game a neck-and-neck affair.
In the second inning, Blue third baseman Jake Stadick's relay throw cut down Erich Prokosch at home plate as he attempted to tag up from third on Jordan Guggisberg's fly ball to left field. Blue center fielder Javen Munce made a particularly crucial play in the third, making a diving catch to rob Dan Blackstad of a hit and save two runs from crossing the plate.
Pfaff (2-for-2) and Erich Prokosch (2-for-3) paced the Gold attack with two hits apiece. Zach Hoffmann added a single.
Blue will head to Duluth today to begin its campaign in the three-day Duluth Tournament.
"The schedule coming up is pretty busy, and I think if we play defense and throw strikes, I think we can be in every game, we can compete with everybody," Gieseke said. "That's basically our goal, stay with everybody and try to be in every game."
Gold will host Rochester on Saturday in Searles for a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m.
Both Blue and Gold will compete in next weekend's Upper Midwest Classic in New Ulm.
"Hopefully we can just keep progressing and getting better and be ready to go for the Classic," Pfaff said.