NLA Spiel 12, May 28, 00
|W: Christen L: Beier|
Challengers win 8th in a row with 14-5 winThe Challengers took first place in the standings by getting their eighth win in a row with a 14-5 win over the Wil Devils in Game 2 of Sunday's doubleheader.
The Challengers started strong and scored three times in the bottom of the first inning on four hits, and taking advantage of two throwing errors by pitcher Thomas Beier.
The Devils came right back in the next inning and tied up the score at 3-3 on an RBI-single by Patrick Rüegg and a two-run single by Beier himself.
But he killed the rally by getting picked off first base as he took too big of a lead of which catcher Tobias Siegrist took full advantage to throw him out.
While Beier shut down the Challengers in the bottom half of the inning, his team provided him with a 4-3 lead in the next frame by scoring an unearned run off starter Oli Christen.
But that was enough to wake up the Challengers' offense, and they scored five times in the bottom of the third inning for an 8-4 lead.
Armin Blickenstorfer hit a three-run homer, his second of the season, rookie Patrick Zöllig had an RBI-single, and Anubis Benitez added an RBI-double to cap the inning.
Manny Marchant hit his team-leading 10th homer of the season to lead off the fourth inning before the Challengers exploded for five more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Blickenstorfer and Iqbal Khan hit back-to-back two-run doubles after Marchant received an intentional pass to load the bases, followed by a hit-by-pitch to Siegrist.
Christen left the mound after that, and earned his fourth win of the season by going five innings, allowing five runs - two of them unearned - on five hits and five walks, and also striking out five. His team-leading ERA rose from 1.37 to 2.49.
Andy Fleischacker came in and pitched the final two innings, giving up no runs and only two hits and striking out three.
He was also helped by a doubleplay that erased Patrick Rüegg's single leading off the eighth inning.
The Challengers improved their league-leading record to 11-1, taking advantage of the Therwil Flyers' postponed game against the Bern Cardinals that was rained out.
Game notes: Blickenstorfer's double in the fifth inning was his 30th double of his NLA-career. It also gave him his 100th career RBI. ...The Challengers completed their first perfect month of May in the last seven seasons by getting eight wins.