ACES GET TO BRISBANE’S ACE
Melbourne took the first game of the five-game set at RNA Showgrounds
The Melbourne Aces found a way to get to Brisbane’s Alex Maestri and took down the Bandits by a score of 6-5 in a back-and-forth affair at the RNA Showgrounds in Round 10 of Australian Baseball League action on Wednesday night.
The Italian Stallion only notched uno eliminazione al piatto in the first game of the five-game set, one strikeout in his native tongue. The way Maestri has been pitching as of late though, Bandits fans might want to learn some Italian. He was the Player of the Week for Round 8 of the ABL for his two-hit complete game and earned runner-up honours for his performance last weekend at Perth in Round 9.
Though Maestri’s outing on Wednesday was uncharacteristically short for the right-hander, he remains second in the league with 54 2/3 innings pitched on the season and with 47 total strikeouts. He was the beneficiary of a loss in the game that saw eight different Brisbane batters notch hits and 22 total hits between the two teams.Melbourne (17-19) opened up the scoring in the top of the third inning, courtesy of a Paul Weichard home run. Weichard got to Maestri for his eighth home run of the year, a two-run shot.The Aces added to their total in the fourth, on a bases-loaded two-run double for Elliot Biddle. The double was Biddle’s 12th of the season and brought his team-leading total up to 28 runs driven in on the year, and gave Melbourne a four-run advantage.Maestri (4-3) was taken out of the game after just four frames, in the atypical outing for Brisbane’s ace.
He allowed four earned runs on six hits with three walks and one strikeout.The Bandits got back a run in the bottom of the fourth, a single from Josh Roberts for his team-leading 25th RBI of the season. Melbourne came right back with one to start the fifth, a Josh Huber home run off of reliever Andrew Marck, bringing the score to 5-1.Marck is back on the Brisbane roster after a brief hiatus and is coming out of the bullpen for the hometown team. In two innings of relief, the New Zealander threw two innings, giving up one run on two hits, and he fanned two batters.Brisbane (14-22) added to their total again in the fifth and the sixth. An RBI-single from Andrew Campbell cut Melbourne’s lead to three runs, before the Bandits added two more in the sixth inning. That would be the end of the day for Aces starter Bubbie Buzachero (2-0). Melbourne’s right-hander went five innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits, with a walk and three strikeouts.The Aces got another run in the seventh inning off of Bandits reliever Aaron Thompson. After walking two and striking out two to start the inning, he allowed a single to score one. That was all the Aces could manage however as he got out of the inning with the next batter.
The visitors increased their lead to 6-4.The Bandits got that run back in the seventh, after Steven Greer opened the frame with his second hit of the night in his home debut. The centre fielder moved to second on his first stolen base of the year and came around on a throwing error by Aces pitcher Andrew Russell.Melbourne’s second member of the relief corps to come into the game, Travis Blackley, notched a rare four-strikeout inning in the eighth. After getting Brad Dutton and David Sutherland to go down swinging, Wade Dutton reached base on a strikeout-wild pitch. Blackley finished the inning by fanning next batter Rory Rhodes. The southpaw finished out the game for the Aces. His complete line reads 2 1/3 innings pitched, allowing one hit with six strikeouts. Blackley recorded the save for Melbourne, his first of the year.With the loss, the Bandits remain in last place, needing to do some damage in the remaining two series in order to move beyond the regular season. Elsewhere in the playoff race, Adelaide (17-19) took down the Blue Sox (16-20) in other ABL action today, moving the Bite into a tie with Melbourne for third place. Sydney dropped into the fifth spot in the standings.