By Gabriel Fidler
BRASSCHAAT, Belgium —The Diving Ducks had the first day off in European baseball’s Federation Cup, but showed why they are representing Austrian baseball in the competition, ending the London Mets’ six-game winning streak, a record in British baseball. In the nightcap, the Brasschaat Braves’ Cade Johnson and Evgenii Chernozemsky of the Sofia Blues dug in for a nail-biting pitching duel that saw the host club come away with its first win.
Wiener Neustadt 7 – London 1
Rick van Dijck gave Wiener Neustadt seven excellent innings as the Austria champions pulled away in the late innings to defeat the London Mets. London’s Max Gitlin held the Diving Ducks to only a pair of unearned runs through five, but ran out of steam in the sixth. After a one-out walk, a Ryan Burnside double set up Alessandro Zoufal for an RBI-single. After a pitching change, another free pass with the bases loaded doubled the 2-0 Austrian lead.
The Mets struck back for a single marker in the seventh after three walks to start the frame, with Jamie Dix singling home the British club’s first run. However, Burnside tossed two hitless innings in the save situation —although he was not credited with a save — and the Ducks added three more in the final two frames.
Van Dijck permitted only three hits in seven frames, punching out six and walking four. Zoufal was tops among both teams in hits with a 3-for-5 effort that included a double. Gatlin struck out nine in his 5.2 innings, surrendering four hits and four walks.
Brasschaat 4 –Sofia 1
Lucas Rizzi came up big for the second day in a row, and the Braves delivered a win for the hometown fans in their second attempt. Brasschaat maintained a 1-0 lead through six innings against the Sofia Blues, adding two more in the seventh on Rizzi’s second single of the day. After Dimitar Nassapov went yard in the bottom half of the frame, the Bulgarians would not score again.
Cade Johnson struck out nine in seven innings for the win, and Robin Roevens tossed two shutout frames (3K) for the save. Evgenii Chernozemsky turned in a heroic performance for Sofia, going all nine innings, striking out 10, and allowing only five hits.
The Dutch Baseball Hangout published photos of the game [link].
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Results & Schedule [Box Scores]
June 20: Valencia 14 – Sofia 2
June 20: London 7 – Brasschaat 6
June 21: Wiener Neustadt 7 – London 1
June 21: Brasschaat 4 –Sofia 1
June 22: Sofia – Wiener Neustadt
June 22: Brasschaat – Valencia
June 23: Sofia – London
June 23: Valencia – Wiener Neustadt
June 24: London – Valencia
June 24: Wiener Neustadt – Brasschaat
Final (June 25): TBD