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Graham, Ungs named players of the week
11/21/2011 6:46 PM ET
Mitchell Graham slides in with one of his three steals vs. Sydney
Mitchell Graham slides in with one of his three steals vs. Sydney (SMP Images/ Joe Vella)
Following strong performances in Round Three, Mitchell Graham of the 'Alcohol Think Again' Perth HEAT and Nic Ungs of the 'Jet Couriers' Melbourne Aces have earned Player of the Week honours. Graham had a monster series at the plate, leading the charge in Perth's four-game sweep of the Sydney Blue Sox. Ungs, taking the mound in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader versus Brisbane, came within two strikes of a perfect game in earning an important win for his team.

Graham, the HEAT's shortstop, batted .444 (8-for-18) in the four games played at Blue Sox Stadium. He knocked in 10 runs, scored five, and hit two homers, while also stealing three bases versus Sydney. On the season, he now leads the league with 16 RBI and a .761 slugging percentage. He also places second in the ABL in batting average (.435) and home runs (4).

After going hitless in the series opener on Friday, Graham exploded for eight hits over the weekend. Four of those came in six at-bats during the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, which included a three-run homer in the ninth, sealing the HEAT's 16-1 blowout victory. Sunday afternoon, he helped Perth extend its winning streak to 11 with a record-tying performance. His six-RBI effort on the day matched Alan Schoenberger's performance from 7 January 2010 and included a sixth inning grand slam, his fourth home run of the young season.

Honourable mentions for the batting award included Graham's teammates Tim Kennelly and Allan de San Miguel, Brad Harman of the Aces, and Brisbane's David Sutherland.

Ungs nearly treated Melbourne fans to the second no-hitter in the ABL's brief history when he managed to avoid allowing a single baserunner until the final out of his Sunday start. Pitching in the first game of a rescheduled doubleheader, which was shortened to seven innings, Ungs retired the first 20 batters he faced on just 75 total pitches. Then, with two outs in the final inning and a strike on batter Brad Dutton, the Bandits finally broke through with their first hit of the day. The next two baserunners would also reach base before Ungs was replaced by left-hander Daniel McGrath, who finished the game.

Despite the game not finishing the way he'd hoped, Ungs was outstanding, going 6.2 IP and allowing just two hits and one run. His performance secured an important win for the Aces, who swept Sunday's doubleheader to move back into strong playoff contention. He now has a 1-1 record with a 2.31 ERA and six strikeouts in 11.2 IP this season.

Runners up for the pitching award were Perth's Daniel Schmidt and Warwick Saupold, Yusei Kikuchi of the Aces, and Brisbane's Alex Maestri.

In Round Four, Ungs and the rest of the Aces will travel to Canberra to take on the 'UberGlobal' Cavalry, while the Adelaide 'ETSA' Bite will play host to the Blue Sox. Mitchell Graham and the rest of the HEAT will travel to Taiwan to compete in the Asia Series versus the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, Samsung Lions, and Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions, champions of the major professional leagues in Japan, South Korea, and China, respectively. The Bandits will have a bye week before travelling to Sydney for Round Five.

Fans can follow games through individual team streaming and radio partners. The ABL also offers new Gameday technology, which tracks live pitch-by-pitch action at www.theabl.com.au.

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