Offense struggles as Nicollet falls

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau Nicollet’s Riley Hulke is tagged out by Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey’s Brett Willaby (2) after trying to steal second base in the first inning of Friday’s nonconference baseball game at Nicollet High School.

NICOLLET — Nicollet couldn’t string enough hits together when needed to take down Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey on Friday, leading the Wolverines to an 11-3 win over the Raiders at Nicollet High School in nonconference baseball action.

Ben Radke started and pitched a solid four innings for Nicollet, giving up two earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out seven. The Raiders struggled offensively, however, against MLA/C left-handed starter Drake Harder, who got the complete-game win.

Nicollet head coach Connor Theis said that not getting enough baserunners home has kind of been a trend this year for his squad, but there are improvements being made.

“The thing is, we’re hitting better than last season, so that’s good, we’ll focus on that,” he said. “But the next step is keep hitting and getting them in. I think one game we had 10 left on. But this game, it was one of those games where every hit they got went to the gap and every hit we got went right to a guy. That’s baseball.”

Radke struggled a bit early on in the first inning after allowing three MLA/C hits, one being a Regan Syverson single that brought in a pair of runs for an early 2-0 Wolverines lead. But Radke rebounded after that and struck out the final two batters in the inning.

He didn’t allow a hit in the second inning and had a 1-2-3 third inning before MLA/C added another pair of runs in the fourth after two errors and another two-run single by Syverson, who finished the day by going 2 for 3 with four RBIs and a run scored. Nicollet got its first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth after Riley Mans drove in Radke on a fielder’s choice for a 4-1 score.

Eric Fischer pitched the final three innings for the Raiders. Despite keeping the ball low for the most part, he allowed seven earned runs on six hits.

MLA/C added one run in the fifth, four more in the sixth and two in the seventh.

Radke and Mans scored Nicollet’s final two runs in the sixth inning after Fischer drove in both runners on a two-run single.

Fischer was 1 for 3 with two RBIs for Nicollet, while Mans was 1 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored and Radke was 1 for 2 with two runs scored. Anthony Macias also added a single for the Raiders, who finished with four hits in the game.

Nicollet (4-7) is scheduled for a nonconference road game on Monday against Minnesota Valley Lutheran at Johnson Park.