NLA Spiel 7, Jun. 01, 02

Challengers 300010211691
Barracudas 001100x227
W: Räber, B. L: Kölliker

Challengers rip Barracudas 16-2

The Zurich Barracudas were rattled by Benny Räber's pitching and managed to score just two runs in a 16-2 defeat against the Challengers in Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader.

Jose Valdez hit his team-leading third homer in the fifth inning, a grand-slam that put the game out of reach for the Cudas.
Even more frustrating was the fact that both runs scored on balks by Räber.

But the Challengers were also held at the bay by starter Nico Kölliker who matched Räber's performance through the first four innings.

It looked like a pitchers' duel with the score 3-2 in favor of the Challengers after four innings.

But the Challengers exploded for 10 runs in the fifth inning off Kölliker and reliever Frank Berchtold.

Jose Valdez' grand-slam homer - his team-leading third of the season - capped an inning that featured four errors by a shaky Barracuda defense.

Räber (3-0) then was sent to the showers after five innings in which he gave up only two runs on two hits and three walks while also striking out six.

Benny Räber picked up his third win of the season by pitching five strong innings.
Harry Bregy relieved and sent the Barracudas down in order in the sixth inning.

Pinch-hitter Manuel Schretzmann led off the top of the seventh inning with a walk but was quickly erased as rookie Oliver Labhart gave his NLA-debut with a line drive to the third baseman, who threw over to first base to double off Schretzmann.

Manny Marchant followed with a solo homer - his second of the season -, and the Barracudas fell apart after that.

Catcher Stefan Suter was thrown out of the game by plate umpire Bruno Hubler for unsportsmanlike behavior, and the Barracudas were left with no one on the bench, and so the game was called in favor of the Challengers.

Game notes
Nick Lehmann crossed the plate for the 5'000th run in franchise history as he scored on Valdez' grand-slam homer in the top of the fifth inning. ...With 344 career strikeouts, Räber moved within 11 of Vladi Pusec for second place on the Challengers' all-time list.