PERTH, 30 December - A run of three straight infield errors in the second inning set the tone for the night for the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat who fell 10-7 in a see-saw affair to the Canberra Cavalry.
Tonight's loss at Barbagallo Ballpark is the team's fourth straight while the Cavalry have won six in a row and now holding a comfortable three-game lead over the Sydney Blue Sox. The Heat currently sit in third place 3.5 games behind the Cavalry who hold a 16-13 record.
Canberra began the night strong, scoring in each of its first five innings. Marcus Knecht and Jack Murphy did the damage with home runs and Ryan Stovall contributed with three hits and four RBIs on the night. The Heat were unmatched against a strong hitting Canberra line-up that boasts six players hitting over the .300 mark.
Nine Runs scored off Daniel Schmidt (5-2, 3,29 ERA) however only four of these were earned as a high pitch count resulted in an early departure from the game. Cavalry Starter Chris Motta (3-0, 3.69) gave up seven runs of his own but came away with the win in a high scoring affair.
Michael Ohlman was the clear standout for the Heat in tonight's contest. The Orioles prospect picked up four hits that included two home runs. A three-run blast in the sixth was exactly the boost the Heat needed to pull them within two runs of the lead. The Cavalry were able to hold their nerve as Sean Toler came in for his third save of the series and tenth of the year.
It was a bittersweet night for Ohlman, whose first multi-home run game resulted in another disappointing loss.
"It was a good night for me, I didn't try to do much really. It was my first ever multi home run game, but we had a lot of ground to make up and it just happened. We weren't able to come up with it in the end unfortunately."
While the Heat had lost four in a row for the first time in two years, Ohlman isn't worried about any potential frustration in the clubhouse.
"We're not thinking about that. It happens, its baseball, and it's the sport. We're going to come out with what we have and we can win with these guys so it's not a concern at all."
It wasn't the greatest night for Steve Fish, ejected in the 3rd inning for arguing whether Cavalry shortstop Kody Hightower touched third on the way home.
"It's frustrating; there are just so many aspects that have affected us in the last three games," said Fish. "If we made plays and got a couple breaks, the outcomes could swing. At the end of the day, it's one of those things and we control our own destiny."
The Heat are facing a series sweep against the Cavalry if they fail to win tomorrow night. Reigning Pitcher of the Year Warwick Saupold (0-0, 1.50) will make a welcome return to the mound, and will face the Cavalry's John Holdzkom (2-1, 3.42) at Barbagallo Ballpark starting at 7:20pm.