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Oxspring, Vasquez duel, Sydney walk off late
Pitching battle between two former MLBers as good as promised
11/22/2012 11:20 PM ET
Chris Oxspring pitched into the seventh while whiffing 10.
Chris Oxspring pitched into the seventh while whiffing 10. (Joosep Martinson / SMP Images)
SYDNEY, 22 November - In a pitchers' duel that lived up to its hype, the Sydney Blue Sox (4-3) dealt the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat (5-2) their first-ever loss in Sydney, a 1-0 walk-off decision at Blacktown International Sportspark Friday night.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and runners on first and third, Zach Penprase chopped a ball over the pitcher's mound, scoring Michael Lysaught from third base and propelling the Blue Sox to a 1-0 win in game one of the four-game series. It marked the first time the Blue Sox ever beat the Heat in Sydney, dating back to the 2010/2011 season.

"It was really a great ball game," Blue Sox manager Jason Pospishil said. "I thought we hit the ball extremely well, even though we left some guys on base. Our pitching was dominant as usual and I was very happy with our overall effort."

In a pitching matchup tabbed as the best this young season had to offer, former Major Leaguers Chris Oxspring and Virgil Vasquez were both outstanding, as neither allowed a run in the outing. Oxspring went 6 1/3 innings, allowing just four hits and striking out ten. The right-hander pushed his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 21 2/3 innings.

"My command was good again tonight," Oxspring said. "Throwing a lot of strikes early in the count always helps and I've been working well with (catcher Geoff) Klein which is always important."

Vasquez was sharp as well for the Heat, lasting six innings and surrendering nine hits and striking out seven. The veteran righty worked out of jams in both the third and fourth innings, when the Blue Sox left runners on second and third base.

Matt Williams (1-0) earned his first win of the season, throwing a perfect ninth inning, while Brendan Wise (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing an unearned run in the ninth inning. Wayne Lundgren retired both batters he faced in relief of Oxspring, while Dae-Sung Koo faced the minimum three batters in his season debut with the Sox. Penprase led the offensive attack for Sydney, going 3-for-5 with the team's lone RBI, while James Robbins also contributed three hits, and Mitch Dening extended his hitting streak to seven games with a two-hit night.

"Tonight is a good win and it was nice to finally beat the Heat at home, but we have to put this one past us and get ready for tomorrow," Pospishil said.

The Blue Sox and Heat do battle again tomorrow night at Blacktown International Sportspark for the second game of their four-game series. Left-hander Craig Anderson (0-1, 1.38 ERA) gets the ball for Sydney, while former New York Yankee and right-hander Anthony Claggett (2-0, 1.50 ERA) will start for Perth. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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