SYDNEY, 24 November - The Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat (6-3) capitalized with runners in scoring position in the fifth inning, scoring five runs including a two-run home run from Allan De San Miguel to propel them to a 6-4 win over the Sydney Blue Sox (5-4) Friday night at Blacktown International Sportspark.
Blue Sox manager Jason Pospishil spoke of the game, noting the missed opportunities for Sydney,
"We had our chances with runners in scoring position and less than two out but we just couldn't capitalise," he said. "I thought Vaughan (Harris) didn't throw too bad but he left some pitches up in the fifth that came back to hurt him and that was the big difference in the game. We gave ourselves opportunities to tie or even win it but we just couldn't take advantage of them."
It was a strong defensive start to the game for both teams as Sydney's Vaughn Harris and Perth's Scott Mitchinson kept the bats silent for the first two innings. However, as the arms slowed for both hurlers, accuracy cost both teams.
After striking out three in the second, Mitchinson hit three of four batters in the third, loading the bases for the Sox. Zach Penprase then drove in two runners to give the Sox an early lead. Mitchinson and the Heat recovered with a strike out, leaving Penprase and Mitch Dening on base and the Sox with a 2-0 advantage.
Perth opened their account in the fifth inning, piling on five runs. Harris hit 16-year-old Sam Kennelly, then walked outfielders Elliott Hargreaves and Steven Bumbry. With a single from Melker Perth scored their first two runs, while the third crossed the plate after a sacrifice fly from Luke Hughes. The home run from de San Miguel added another two runs for a 5-2 Perth lead.
The Blue Sox responded in the fifth inning, capitalizing on three more walks thrown by Mitchinson. With the bases loaded, Geoff Klein singled, driving in two runs to cut the Sydney deficit to one. However, Mitchinson recovered again, striking out both James Robbins and Michael Lysaught, leaving two runners on base.
The Sydney bullpen was strong, as Tyler Herr, Todd Van Steensel, Caleb Cuevas and Wayne Lundgren pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed just one run. In his Blue Sox debut, Cuevas allowed the sixth and final run for Perth, as de San Miguel scored on a double from Carter Bell in the eighth inning, closing the scoring at 6-4.
Mitchinson (1-1) earned the win, tossing five innings and surrendering four runs while striking out seven. Harris took the loss for Sydney while Cameron Lamb earned his first save of the season, throwing a scoreless eighth and ninth.
The two teams are back in action tomorrow afternoon when they conclude their four-game series. Left-hander Tim Cox (0-0, 0.00 ERA) gets the ball for Sydney in his first start of the season while Daniel Schmidt (1-0, 7.36 ERA) takes the ball for Perth. First pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at Blacktown International Sportspark.