The strong arms of Sydney’s stellar pitching rotation carried the Blue Sox (5-3) to a 3-1 series win on the road against the Canberra Cavalry (1-3) and to the top of the Australian Baseball League ladder.
Arizona Diamondbacks prospect pitcher Markus Solbach kept the Cavalry scoreless for seven innings and threw eight strikeouts in Sydney’s 9-0 shutout win in the series opener.
After conceding five costly errors, the Blue Sox dropped game two 4-2, but Sydney starter Luke Wilkins gave up only one run in seven innings of work to lead Sydney back to the 3-1 win in the third match.
Solbach would shine for Sydney again on the mound in the series finale, this time as a reliever, retiring the Cavalry side in the ninth inning to hold off a late-inning rally and pick up his first save of the season in their 7-5 victory.
Offensive standout David Kandilas has picked up at least one RBI in all but one game so far this season for the Blue Sox and currently leads the league with 13.
After sleepwalking through their first two games of the season, including a record blowout loss at home, the Brisbane Bandits (4-3) have bounced back to win four of their past five games to finish round two in second place.
Facing the Melbourne Aces (1-2) on the road, Brisbane’s offence was explosive early with six different players hitting home runs in the 10-3 victory in game one.
The second match was a much closer affair, with both teams battling until the eleventh inning when veteran shortstop Brad Harman was able to blast the game-winning homer to give the Aces the 2-1 walk-off win.
Game three was another extra innings pitcher’s duel until a meltdown on the mound for Melbourne would end the game in bizarre fashion.
In the top of the 11th, Aces pitcher Kyle Heckathorn threw two consecutive wild pitches that allowed Logan Wade to advance to second and third, respectively, before walking the next batter and loading the bases for Josh Roberts.
Roberts would eventually drive in Wade to secure the 5-4 win for the Bandits.
The series finale between the Bandits and Aces will be played on Monday, 10 November.