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Adelaide Consolidate Top Spot with Series Win
01/09/2011 6:07 PM ET
Following game three between the Aces and Bite last night, Perth Heat defeated Sydney BlueSox for their third straight win, resulting in the Bite moving to the top of the table with the Aces slipping to fourth.

Despite their second straight loss at home, Melbourne were less than two games off first place going into today's series finale against the Bite, highlighting the importance of the game to Melbourne in its pursuit to occupy position one or two in the standings in two weeks time.

For the Aces' offense and pitching, today was an opportunity to find the form they had in the pre-Christmas period where quality pitching and plenty of run support were producing wins and outstanding offensive numbers that the opposition were unable to match.

Today, Jeff Jamnik got his third start for the season for the Aces whilst Dushan Ruzic took to the mound for his seventh appearance for Adelaide. Jamnik went into the game with a 1-1 record following his loss to Brisbane last weekend. As for Ruzic, he was looking to improve on his 4-1 record for season 2010/2011.

Adelaide started off where they finished last night with a lead off double to centre by Jamie McOwen and a single to Jeremy Cresswell to have runners on first and third with no outs. Next up was Stefan Welch who continued the early onslaught with a single to right field to plate McOwen for a 1-0 lead. Jamnik's day didn't improve with a three run homer to Brandon Bantz to have the Bite up by four with no outs. First baseman Tom Brice then inflicted further damage with a solo homer to right for a 5-0 lead.

With no outs Manager Phil Dale pulled Jamnik from the mound and replaced him with Nick Martin. The hits continued with a double down the third base line to Scott Gladstone. Martin achieved the first out of the inning with a fly out by Todd Gossage, which was followed by a single to Ben Wigmore. Martin then struck out Josh Cakebread to runners on first and third with two outs. Second time through the batting line-up saw McOwen again double up; this time an RBI double to left. The Aces finished off the innings with Martin's second K - unfortunately they were behind 6-0 very early; reminiscent of game one of this series.

Bottom of the first saw James Beresford replicate McOwen with a lead off double to centre. With the next two batters retired, Justin Huber singled to centre to plate Beresford and get the Aces moving on the scoreboard. Ruzic got the final out with his team 6-1 up after a 30 minute first frame.

The second started with Bantz drawing a walk from Martin before the latter followed up with his third K to have Brice stranded. Then Martin had Gladstone fly out to right field before Gossage singled to centre to have runners on first and second with two out. Martin then finished off the inning with a pop out to first base from Wigmore.

Paul Rutgers got the Aces off to a great start in the bottom of the second with a solo homer to deep left field. After Matt Lawman's strikeout, DH Tristen McDonald drew a walk from Ruzic to have one on with one gone. The Aces were unable to add any further runs in the second to leave the score at 6-2 after two.

Miller pitched a solid third with a ground out and a double-play to keep the score at 6-2 in the middle of the third. Melbourne were then able to get a lead off single to Elliot Biddle to their third. Andrew Rusell then doubled down the third base line before Huber got an RBI to bring home Biddle. For the third straight inning, the Aces were able to score one run.

After a line out by Welch to first to start the fourth, Bantz went solo to left for a 7-3 scoreline. Despite Brice reaching first on a fielding error, the inning was finished without addition. For the Aces, the fourth started with Lawman being hit by a pitch and then successfully stealing second with one out. Lawman unfortunately was left stranded on second at the end of four.

Following an infield single to Cakebread with one out, the Aces finished off the top of the frame with the Bite still leading by four. As was the case at the bottom of the third, Biddle reached first with no outs, this time by drawing a walk from Ruzic. With two out, Josh Davies hit his way out of a bit of a hitting slump by sending a two run homer to right centre to have the score at 7-5 after five.

After Welch got a lead off single to start the sixth, Dale withdrew Martin after 5.0 innings to bring Russ Spear to the mound. Welch then advanced to second on a passed ball by Grant Karlsen. Following Bantz striking out, Brice hit his second homer of the game to restore their four run lead at 9-5.

Bottom of the sixth saw Bite Manager Tony Harris replace Ruzic with Reed Brown. Brown struck out Lawman before McDonald singled to right to have one on with one out. On a fielding error from Cresswell, Karlsen reached first and McDonald advanced to second, still with only one out. The next at bat saw Beresford get his third hit of the night to load the bases. Biddle then singled to left to plate McDonald with one out and bases loaded. After striking out Russell, Harris replaced Brown with Chris Lawson. Lawson got his team out of the bases loaded jam but not without the Aces adding a further run.

The top of the seventh saw a three up, three down inning from Spear. Following Davies' ground out, Rutgers doubled to right and Lawman singled to left to have runners on first and third with one out. McDonald then reached first on a fielding error. More importantly for the Aces, Rutgers scored to have the score at 9-7 with runners on first and second with one out. With Karlsen striking out, Harris removed Lawson and brought in Adrian Burnside from the bullpen who had Beresford pop out in foul territory to leave two runners stranded.

Adelaide's eighth started with the Aces replacing Spear with Adam Bright on the mound. On a fielding error from Davies, Cresswell reached first with no outs. Bright then had Welch fly out to left fielder Rutgers before putting Bantz on first and advancing Cresswell to second with one out. On the resultant ground ball to Beresford, Cresswell scored following Beresford's throwing error to second base. With another run in for the Bite, Gossage grounded out to Bright to end the inning at 10-7.

Bottom of the eighth saw Biddle with his third hit of the game, a lead off double down the third base line. Russell then drew a walk from Burnside to have two on with no outs. After a quick chat with the pitching coach, Burnside struck out Huber and had Davies ground into a double play to end the inning.

Following Wigmore's strikeout to start the ninth, Cakebread reached first on a fielding error from Lawman and advanced to second on a passed ball by Karlsen. McOwen continued his great game by reaching on an infield single to have runners on first and third with one out. Bright then had Cresswell ground into a double play to finish the ninth with out any damage.

Harris called on Tom Becker from the pen to get the final three outs for his side. Despite loading the bases with two out, Becker got the final out to give Adelaide their third straight win away from home and consolidate their position at the top of the standings.

Ruzic was credited with his fifth win of the season whilst Jamnik recorded his second straight loss.

See you all next week for the Aces' final home series against another finals contender, Perth Heat.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.