NLA Spiel 18, Aug. 09, 03

Challengers 222003514147
Cardinals 563110x16153
W: Beyeler L: Bregy, H. S: Fries

Challengers' rally invain as Cards salvage split with 16-14 win

The Challengers and Bern Cardinals would have wished to be somewhere else on that hot and humid day.

<a href="" title="Spielprofil ansehen für Harry Bregy">Harry Bregy</a> again was roughed up and was credited with his second loss of the season.
Harry Bregy again was roughed up and was credited with his second loss of the season.
But the two faced off in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader.

The Cardinals handled the heat better and jumped to an early 14-6 lead after just three innings against a lackluster Challenger defense.

The Challengers committed five errors alone in those first three frames.

Anubis Benitez, starting behind the plate because regular starter Tobias Siegrist and backup Nick Lehmann both were forced to miss the game, also contributed negatively with a total of six passed balls.

But the Challengers' bats were also kept silent by Christoph Beyeler's solid pitching, allowing only eight hits and six walks in the first five innings.

But somehow, the Cardinals didn't manage to really pull away, as the Challengers stayed within 10 runs.

Starter Harry Bregy (2-2) didn't survive the second inning and finished with 1 1-3 innings pitched, having given up 10 runs - one of them unearned - on eight hits and two walks while also striking out four.

Beyeler's pitching rattled the Challengers early on.
Manny Marchant, who picked up his second save of the season in the first contest, relieved but couldn't quite stop the bleeding.

In 1 2-3 innings, he gave up four runs - one of them unearned - on five hits, one base-on-balls and three hit-by-pitches.

NLA rookie Willy Schaub then took over in the bottom of the fourth inning, and that finally stopped the Cards' attack.

And he stopped it so much, that his offense crept closer and closer, giving the game a new life.

Schaub pitched the final three innings in which he gave up only two runs on two hits and five walks.

The Challengers scraped together three runs off reliever Seth Winterer in the sixth inning.

Backup catcher Vitus Huber's bad throw enabled Benitez to score, and four batters later, Chris Palatinus followed with his second homer of the season, a two-run shot down the right field line.

Then the Cards sent Ron Zimmermann to the mound, looking to protect a 16-9 lead.

He was able to quickly retire two of the first three batters, but the Challengers refused to concede.

Benitez had an RBI-single, and after a walk to Armin Blickenstorfer, Thomas Landis followed with a three-run homer to erase a 0-for-4 performance until that point.

Backup second baseman Manuel Schretzmann then plated Marchant who reached with a double, and Kurt Kovac also reached with a walk.

That was it for Ron Zimmermann, and the Cards brought on their ace Severin Fries to extuingish the fire.

And he did so by fanning Bregy for the final out.

With a record of 3-3, the Cards are already qualified for the Playoffs while the Challengers are forced to win at least once against the Zürich Barracudas on August 23 to gather the fourth and final spot.

Game notes
Benitez stole five bases to tie the franchise high for stolen bases in a game, last accomplished by Bregy on July 29, 2001. He also extended his hitting streak to a team-leading 16 this season. ...Blickenstorfer struck out in the sixth inning for the 100th time in his NLA-career. ...Landis' streak of 10 games with a double ended as he went 1-for-5 with a homer. ...Patrick Zöllig singled in his 200th NLA at-bat in the third inning.