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Heat can't keep pace with Bandits in Friday loss
Vasquez takes first loss with Brisbane winning opener
12/08/2012 5:10 AM ET
Chuck Lofgren struck out 11 Heat hitters in Friday's Bandits win.
Chuck Lofgren struck out 11 Heat hitters in Friday's Bandits win. (Theron Kirkman / SMP Images)
PERTH - The Brisbane Bandits (7-7) have shown they mean business with an impressive 6-4 victory over the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat (10-5) at Barbagallo Ballpark Friday evening.

No one would have been brave enough to predict a Bandits win with Virgil Vasquez (3-1, 1.24 ERA) on the mound, but the Bandits threw Chuck Lofgren (1-1, 4.00 ERA) in the fire and he performed out of his skin to keep the Heat bats at bay with a 6.2 inning 11 strikeout performance.

It was all going to plan early, with Adamson creating an early run from a leadoff double and scoring on a Michael Ohlman single. Vasquez would back it up with five consecutive scoreless innings without allowing a Bandit runner past second base. An uncharacteristic leadoff walk from Vasquez to Adam Gordon and a single to a slumping Brad Dutton would show some early cracks in Vasquez' armour, as Cody Clark continued his good form this season with a two-run single to give the Bandits the lead.

The Heat bats were unable to come to the help of their starting pitcher, striking out 11 times to Lofgren in 6.2 innings, including five straight strikeouts between the 5th and 6th innings as the Bandits piled on the pressure. David Sutherland started a four-run 7th inning for the Bandits with a leadoff double, and two more walks from the Heat starter would end his night with the bases loaded. All three of those runners would score on Greg Van Sickler, allowing a walk to Brad Dutton and Cody Clark's second two-run single of the night to put the Heat in a 6-1 hole.

Late in the game the Heat found their fight, scoring two runs on a throwing error from David Sutherland with another run in the 8th on a Carter Bell force out. The Heat would bring the winning run to the plate in an exciting 9th inning however Ryan Searle was able to stay composed to pick up his second save of the season and give the Bandits the edge early in the series.

After a long week of traveling around Queensland and New South Wales, and then heading to Western Australia, Bandits Manager was very pleased his team came though tonight against the odds. "We did have a long flight today, we knew we had our hands full. Pitching wise with Virgil, as well as the offense the Heat have, we were fortunate to get a win tonight."

With four RBIs, Cody Clark was again the star for the Bandits, doing his damage in crucial situations to hurt the Heat. "He's been big for us so far this season" said Kevin Jordan of Clark. "He's one of those hitters that when he goes up there he pretty much tries to take what the pitcher gives him which I think is one of his keys to success as a hitter."

With 11 strikeouts, Chuck Lofgren was the key to shutting down the Heat and robbing the side of any momentum early and was happy about his performance post game. "It felt great. Cody our catcher had me on page early. I felt really good with all of my pitches. Throwing first pitch strikes was the key."

"I just felt great coming out. You always want to face Perth, you hear that they're the team to beat and today was our game. Tomorrow we're going to come out battling too".

Heat manager Steve Fish spoke from a frustrated clubhouse, with a team that had their opportunities but failed to capitalise. "We have a bunch of veteran guys and we have the pitching staff that can get us through this series. It's important for all of us to be patient and some of the guys are frustrated with their bats right now. At the end of the day our pitchers are going to keep us in the game and we're going to play some good defense with some timely hitting and we'll get through this."

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