by Chris Byrne
The second place Lucerne Eagles travelled to Zurich to take on the first place Zurich Barracudas. Both ball clubs made key offseason acquisitions and are much improved this season. The Eagles were looking to sweep the Barracudas and take over first place but the Barracudas were triumphant winning both games by a score of 8-6. The Barracudas continue to play solid fundamental baseball and move to the top of the NLA with an 8-1 record. The Eagles fall back to 4-4 and retain the last playoff spot in a very tight NLA race.
Swiss NLA REGULAR SEASON
Game 1 Summary – Zurich Barracudas 8 – Lucerne Eagles 6
Andi Rüesch coming off a strong performance last week started for the Barracudas while Andrea Girasole started for the Eagles. The Eagles jumped on Rüesch in the first inning scoring two runs. Leadoff man Sammy Paulino singled and Raphael Strub doubled to score the first run. Strub moved to third base on a ground out by Rudi Vargas and then scored on a slow ground ball to 1st base to make it 2-0 Eagles.
The Barracudas got one run back in bottom of the first when Harry Wischnewski walked and stole his ninth base of the season and scored on an Eagle error to make it 2-1.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Barracudas erupted for three runs to make the score 4-2. Josh Crouse hit a long double, Strahil Georgiev followed with a 12 pitch at bat and finally getting hit by pitch and then Nderim Coma smashed a double to score both runners. Nelson Santana followed with a single to score Coma.
The Eagles came right back in the fourth inning to make the score 4-3 when Tom Enz smoked a double and scored on an infield error.
The Barracudas broke the game open in the bottom of the 5th inning scoring three runs to make the score 7-3. Chris Michal singled and stole second base and Nderim Coma once again hit a double to score Michals. Bert Marsnik then singled to place runners on the corner. Coma scored on a Nelson Santana ground out and Marsnik scored when Andi Rüesch smacked a single to right field.
The Barracudas added an insurance run in the 6th when Strahil Georgiev walked and Chris Michals cracked a single to right field placing runners on the corners. Nderim Coma singled with two strikes to right field for his fourth RBI on the day to score Georgiev and make it 8-3.
The Eagles did not give up and scored another run in the 7th inning when Patrick Maier led off and laced a double which was followed by a double from Sammy Paulino. Rudi Vargas then hit a single to score Paulino to make it a 8-5 ball game.
The Eagles scored another run in the 9th inning when Rüesch hit the first two batters and gave up an RBI single to Edwin Martinez Hernandez. Rüesch went the distance for the third time this year and earned his fourth victory.
Offensively, the Barracudas were led by Nderim Coma who went 3-4 on the day with 4rbi and two runs scored. Josh Crouse, Chris Michals and Bert Marsnik all had two hit days . The Eagles were led by Paulino, Enz and Vargas each producing two hits on a piece on the day.
Barracudas Josh Crouse delivering a double
Game two – Zurich Barracudas 8 – Lucerne Eagles 6
In the second game the Eagles were looking for redemption and sent their power pitcher Mario Idelfonso to the mound to face Chris Michals. The Eagles once again came out strong to take the lead in the 1st inning by scoring a run on three consecutive singles by Rafael Strub, Michal Settle and Rudi Vargas. The Barracudas took advantage of some first inning control problems from Idelfonso when Harry Wischnewski walked and scored on a wild pitch to knot the game at 1-1.
The Barracudas broke the game open in the 3rd inning scoring four runs to make the score 5-1. Nelson Santana singled and Hasson Rogers playing his first game of the season also singled. Marcel Loco Ochsner laid down a great sac bunt in the Bermuda triangle that the Eagles could not defend and that loaded the bases with no outs. Harry Wischnewski came to the plate and he ripped a single up the middle to score two runs. Josh Crouse then added and RBI on a hard ground out and Wischnewski came around to score when Bert Marsnik delivered a single.
The Eagles just like in game one continued to fight back and scored two runs in the top of the 6th to make it a 5-3 ball game. Rudi Vargas got the Eagles going with a single and Patrick Maier delivered a nice rbi triple down the right field line and Edwin Martinez Hernandez followed with a single to get the Eagles back in the game.
The Barracudas responded and increase their lead to 8-4 in the bottom 8th when Josh Crouse walked and Bert Marsnik singled and pitcher Chris Michals delivered a double to score two runs. The Eagles fought back scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth and had the tying run on second when Michals shut the door by striking out the last batter to earn his fourth win on the season.
The Barracudas were led offensively by Chris Michals who went 2-4 and 2 rbi’s and Harry Wischnewski who had a single and two rbi’s.
The Barracudas will face the Zurich Lions next weekend in Zurich