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Junior Jeff Schmitz rears back before firing a pitch to the plate in the second inning of the Raider baseball team's 5-3 victory over Red Wing last Tuesday at Grandview Park. Photo by Bob Burrows

Baseball team edges Wingers

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After going 2-2 in four nonconference games to start the season, Hudson baseball coach Ryan Huppert deemed the Raiders ready for Thursday's Big Rivers Conference opener against Menomonie.

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"We've played a tough nonconference schedule so far, which will only help us as we move forward," he said after the team's latest contest, a 5-3 victory over Red Wing last Tuesday. "All four games have been close, and those are the games we need to experience and play in to help us as we get into conference games and beyond. We still have plenty of improvement to do, all around. But we'll be ready Thursday for our conference opener."

The Raiders were forced to manufacture runs in their victory over Red Wing, as no Hudson batter had more than one hit in the game.

Kory Koller had an RBI double and scored a run and Andy Edholm had a two-run single while Taylar Zarfos had a hit and an RBI and Tyler Dierke walked twice, scored and drove in a run. Mat Drew reached base four times with one hit and three walks.

But it was the Raider pitching that kept them in the game, according to Huppert. Jeff Schmitz, Cory Larson and Dierke combined to allow just four hits and no earned runs in the 5-3 win.

"Schmitty, Larson and Dierke pitched extremely well for us again tonight," Huppert said. "They all battled, threw strikes, and kept us in the game."

Larson picked up the win, allowing one unearned run on two hits while striking out one and walking one in two innings of relief. Schmitz started and worked the first four innings, allowing two unearned runs on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Dierke retired the side in the seventh to earn the save.

"Our pitching has been our strength so far, and we'll need tat to continue as we get into conference play," Huppert said.

Thursday's (April 23) BRC opener against Menomonie gets underway at 4:30 p.m. at Grandview Park. After that River Falls comes to town for a doubleheader beginning at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 27. The Wildcats are off to a 6-0 nonconference start to the season.

Huppert said the upcoming games are big for a number of reasons.

"Not only are they conference games, but those teams are in our regional for playoffs," he noted. "Wins will help us in the conference standings, as well as improve our chances to get a higher seed come playoff time."

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Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
(715) 426-1047
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