LISMORE, NSW, 30 November - The Sydney Blue Sox (6-5) hit their first three home runs of the season in an 8-3 win over the Brisbane Bandits (5-5) Friday night at Albert Park in the series-opener of a four-game set.
Mitch Dening and Chris Snelling both knocked in a home run, as Snelling's blast was a two-run homer, while Dening and Zach Penprase each launched solo home runs.
"I was very pleased with how our guys came out and hit the ball tonight," Sydney Blue Sox manager Jason Pospishil said. "Ox wasn't as dominant as he has been but it was good to see our offence back him up."
The Blue Sox got on the board early when Dening launched his home run to right field in the first inning. The visitors then tacked on three more runs in the second frame, all with two outs. JD Williams doubled to left field which scored Michael Lysaught before Trent D'Antonio knocked a double of his own, scoring Jacob Younis and Williams to put Sydney ahead 4-0.
The Sox onslaught didn't stop there as Snelling, in his first professional baseball game since 2009, hit a two-run homer to right field to increase the Sydney lead to 6-0. The Bandits closed the gap to 6-2 in the bottom of the third with the aid of two unearned runs, but Sydney answered back in the fifth and sixth innings, on a Penprase home run and wild pitch which scored Snelling, respectively.
Brisbane closed the scoring in the bottom of the sixth when Josh Roberts hit a solo home run to make the score 8-3.
Chris Oxspring (2-0) earned the win for Sydney, surrendering three runs (one earned) in seven innings of work with three strikeouts and three walks. The walks were the first free passes he allowed on the season, and the runs in the third snapped a streak of 24 consecutive scoreless innings. Tyler Herr and Caleb Cuevas threw the eighth and ninth innings, allowing one hit and striking out one run between them. Chuck Lofgren (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs on eight hits in five innings.
The Blue Sox were led offensively by Dening and Snelling, as Dening finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Snelling finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Eight Blue Sox hit safely in the contest, while Trent D'Antonio chipped in two RBIs.
The Blue Sox did not arrive at the field until 5:50 p.m. because of traffic delays, and the game was delayed 20 minutes.
"I was very proud of how our guys responded after a long day of travel and how they came out and hit the ball," Pospishil said. "I think it speaks volumes about our focus and character we have on this team."
The Blue Sox and Bandits return to action tomorrow when they play a double-header at Albert Park. In game one the Blue Sox send righty Tim Atherton (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound before left-hander Craig Anderson (0-1, 1.38 ERA) gets the ball for game two. Brisbane has yet to name a starter for either game. Game one begins at 4:00 p.m. while game two will begin at approximately 7:00 p.m.