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Broomtown: Blue Sox take Bite out of Adelaide
Lundgren powers through liner to hand, Sydney use four-run fifth to sweep
01/15/2011 11:36 PM ET
Wayne Lundgren deals to an Adelaide hitter Saturday night in Blacktown.
Wayne Lundgren deals to an Adelaide hitter Saturday night in Blacktown. (SMP Images/ABL)
SYDNEY - After three thrilling, dramatic finishes in three nights, Sydney Blue Sox fans got to breathe a little easier as their club cruised to a Saturday win and, with it, a four-game series sweep of the now-reeling Adelaide ETSA Bite.

Alex Johnson had two hits and drove in two runs, Wayne Lundgren shook off a line drive off his pitching hand to throw five and two-thirds solid innings, and the Blue Sox knocked off the Bite 6-2 to complete the sweep in front of 1,655 at Blacktown Olympic Park.

Sydney's four-game rout of Adelaide put the Blue Sox in first place exiting the weekend just as they were two weeks ago on a trip back from a sweep of the Perth Heat in Western Australia. Between the two, however, was a confounding sweep of the Sox by the Heat last week in Blacktown that dropped Sydney to third place in the league.

"To go from the disappointment of last week, losing four straight against a really good ballclub and then with Adelaide coming in as a first place club, knowing how difficult they are, for the guys to turn it around the way they did, for them to play with the confidence they had was phenomenal," Blue Sox manager Glenn Williams said. "It's a tale of two weeks. Last week we're sitting in there pretty glum and disappointed with the way we played. Tonight we're in there and ecstatic about the way that we're playing and the position that we're in now."

Sydney, who had won two of the previous three games in this series via walk-offs, got to work at the plate early on Saturday night, not leaving any drama for the later innings. The first three Blue Sox batters to the plate singled off Adelaide starter Dushan Ruzic to load the bases, and following a double-play groundout by Johnson and an RBI single by Josh Dean, Sydney owned a 2-0 lead.

Adelaide fought back to tie the game in the top of the third inning. With a run already home on a Scott Gladstone RBI single, Stefan Welch lined a shot back to the mound that ricocheted violently off of Lundgren's right hand and between first and second base for a hit. Jeremy Cresswell scored on the play. Williams and the Sydney training staff attended to their starter, but the big righty gutted through the play. Lundgren (4-4), whose anticipated start Friday was pushed back a day, faced just one over the minimum from that point on and didn't allow another run or hit until his departure with two outs in the top of the sixth.

"He was fantastic," said Williams. "We were a little bit pitching thin with some guys banged up a little bit. 'Wayno' knew that we had to move him back a day; he had some soreness coming into this week. For him to go out there the way that he did, get hit on the hand there pretty hard with a line drive, stay in the game and battle us through five and two thirds, he was great tonight."

The Blue Sox took over the game with a four-spot in the bottom of the fifth. A leadoff walk issued to Mark Holland by Ruzic (5-2) was cashed in one batter later when catcher Andy Graham doubled down the left field line to give his side a lead they would not relinquish. Trent Schmutter added an RBI single to score Graham, and Johnson's two-out, two-run double put Sydney in front 6-2.

Dae-Sung Koo pitched two innings of perfect relief for the Blue Sox, striking out three to close the win in a non-save situation.

"It's always good to sweep any team," Graham said. "Hats off to the Adelaide boys, every game was a tight game which made it great. It wasn't one of those days where you just blow out a team. It was a close game, and it took the boys a lot of guts to stay in the game and win it, especially coming out of the Perth series. Perth hit the ball really well and swept us after we swept them. A bit of payback, but we've got the momentum now going into next week's round against Canberra, and hopefully we can keep that number one spot."

The Blue Sox and Cavalry met for the ABL's inaugural game back on November 6, and by the conclusion of their first series one week later, the two clubs were headed in staggeringly opposite directions with Sydney 4-0 and Canberra winless. Graham and his teammates know that a different Cavalry ballclub, one that is 10-6 at home, will be waiting for them in the regular season's final round.

"It's going to be great to have this momentum," said Graham. "We've got to be careful that we don't go in there thinking that we swept Canberra [in Round One] so they're going to be easy. We've got to go in there with the momentum and prepare ourselves this week for a tough encounter. Any team's good in this comp, and if we can win two or three out of four, that would probably give us first place, so that's what we need to do."

The Blue Sox hit the road for the final regular season series of the 2010/11 campaign starting on Thursday. Sydney and Canberra hook up for four games from the 20th through the 22nd at Narrabundah Ballpark.

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