BRISBANE and Adelaide enter the second week of the ABL season with 1-3 records – but it barely shows how they performed on Opening Weekend.
The Bandits won game four on Sunday to avoid a series-sweep despite out-hitting the Cavalry 46-37 in Canberra.
While in Perth the Bite lost three one-run games, including two in walk-off fashion.
It may be an expanded 56-game ABL this season, but both of these sides will be keen to avoid dropping too far below .500 in the early stages.
Adelaide was on two occasions three outs from victory and could easily have escaped Barbagallo with a 3-1 record.
It was walks, and a couple of wild pitches and hit batters, that cost the Bite.
Adelaide walked 18 hitters – less than only Melbourne (20) – last weekend.
The Bite’s opening pitchers were standouts with Steven Chambers and Matthew Williams turning in solid outings and Nick Talbot and Matthew Swilley overcoming shaky starts to perform well.
But the bullpen failed to close out two games and Kevin Comer’s ERA blew out to 67.50 in the early going.
Brisbane also had its battles on the mound, giving up leads in both games of Saturday’s double-header.
The Bandits came back hard, with an offence that led the league for hits (46) and batting average (.315), but it was not enough.
A 19-hit display on Sunday averted a series sweep.
The corresponding series produced 52 runs last season, including 15 homers and an ABL record 23-3 victory by the Bite in game two.
Game 1: Thursday, 6.30pm AEST
Game 2: Friday, 6.30pm AEST
Game 3: Saturday, 6.30pm AEST
Game 4: Sunday, 1.00pm AEST
Bite – Steven Chambers ( 0-0, 1.50), Elroy Urbina (0-0, -.–), Matthew Swilley (0-1, 5.40), Matthew Williams (0-0, 0.00)
Bandits – Rick Teasley (0-1, 3.60), Taylor Stanton (0-1, 31.50), Justin Erasmus (0.0, 11.25), Josh Warner (0-0, 4.50)
Players to watch:
Bite – Travis Demeritte only went 4-for-18 against the Heat last weekend but showed he will swing the bat. The second baseman hit three doubles, and batted in four runs while striking out a league-high 10 times. Demeritte was overly impressive in the game two victory, batting in three runs on two hits. If he connects with a few at Holloway Field it could well be bye, bye baseball.
Bandits – Tristan Crawford impressed in two outings for Brisbane last week after switching back from the Cavalry. The right-hander picked up the win on Sunday, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks in three innings, after replacing Josh Warner. A day earlier he allowed one run on two hits while striking out four hitters.
What you need to know:
- This will be the third-straight season the Bandits home-opener has been against the Bite. Adelaide won 10-6 in Brisbane’s first game at Holloway Field in 2013 and 8-3 last season.
- The Bite lead the all-time series 26-18, but the sides are 9-9 in games in Brisbane.
- The Bandits are 5-3 against Adelaide at Holloway Field
- Adelaide scored 23 runs against Brisbane at Holloway Field last season – an ABL record.
If the Opening Weekend is a guide, oh and last season’s 52-run four-game series, we could see some fireworks. And, alas, fireworks can be dangerous. So when the Bandits race out to a 5-0 lead and the Bite come back and win 15-14 or whatever don’t say I didn’t tell you so. Now that’s been said expect Matthew Williams to throw a no-hitter in game four.