NLA Spiel 13, Jul. 20, 02

Challengers 0400001552
Eagles 0000301474
W: Landis, Th. L: Peratta S: Marchant, M.

Challengers score just enough to hold off charging Eagles with 5-4 victory

Just when the Challengers' offense sputters, their defense excels.

Angelo Rodriguez gave his debut in a Challengers uniform, going 1-for-4, including a stolen base and two RBI's.
So it was in Game 1 of the qualification's round first doubleheader against the Reussbühl Eagles on Saturday.

The Challengers were outhit 7-5, but the pitching by Thomas Landis and closer Manny Marchant, combined with a fine defensive showing, made the difference in the Challengers' 5-4 victory.

The Challengers went ahead by scoring four runs in the second inning.

Newly-acquired Angelo Rodriguez hit a two-run single, a steal home by Kurt Kovac, and a defensive blunder by second baseman Mark Fehlmann put the Challengers up 4-0 after just 1 1/2 innings.

Starter Landis cruised through the first four innings, giving up only four hits and two walks.

He ran into trouble in the fifth inning as he walked the first two batters. One of them scored on Marcel Enz's fielder's choice.

Peratta followed with a double to left field, and Rodriguez' fielding error enabled both runners to cross the plate to bring the Eagles within one run.

Thomas Landis picked up his second win of the season by pitching five innings, allowing just a single earned run.
Marchant relieved Landis and retired all three batters he faced in the sixth inning.

While the Challengers were also held scoreless by reliever Mano Steiner in the sixth inning, they managed to scramble together a fifth run as Rodriguez reached on yet another error by second baseman Fehlmann, a walk to Landis, and Armin Blickenstorfer's run-scoring fielder's choice.

It was only Blickenstorfer's ninth RBI of the season.

Marchant's defense also proved to be shaky in the bottom half of the final inning as Jerome Müller led off thanks to a fielding error by shortstop Patrick Zöllig.

Marchant struck out the next two batters, but player coach Gibson lined a single to center field to plate Müller.

Rudy Vargas, pinch-running for Gibson went to second on Marchant's wild pitch.

But before his second pitch to Plüss, Marchant whirled around with Vargas already heading for third base. He was easily tagged out by third baseman Kovac for the final out of the game.

Game notes
Blickenstorfer's RBI in the seventh inning was his 150th of his NLA-career.