SYDNEY - The Sydney Blue Sox won twice on Saturday night.
Sydney took out the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces 4-2 behind multi-hit performances from five different players to clinch a 2014 ABL Postseason spot. With Perth's late Saturday night win over Adelaide, the Blue Sox are guaranteed home-field advantage for this year's Preliminary Final.
The Blue Sox took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning when Mitch Dening singled to bring home Jacob May and give Sydney a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the eighth, Zach Shepherd did the honours, doubling to bring in Keon Broxton and Boss Moanaroa and extend the advantage to 4-1.
With so much at stake, Sydney's stalwart pitching staff was on its game. Starter Connor Whalen silenced the Aces for eight innings on the way to the win. Whalen (W, 6-3) struck out three and walked one but let his defence work behind him allowing just a run on four hits across his eight digs.
Melbourne starter Justin Erasmus didn't pitch poorly in his outing. Erasmus (L, 3-4) struck out five, walked two, and allowed two runs on eight hits over his five innings pitched.
In the ninth, with Sydney's fourth straight playoff trip on the line, Dae-Sung Koo closed out the night. Koo (S, 11) allowed two hits, a walk, and a run but struck out Scott Wearne with the potential game-tying runs aboard to earn the save.
With their backs to the wall, the Aces are now in a three-way tie with Adelaide and Canberra for the league's third and final playoff spot entering the regular season's final day. Melbourne need a Sunday victory and some help for a chance at making the playoffs and a rematch with the Blue Sox. The Aces hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with Adelaide, but Canberra hold the same over Melbourne.
Sunday's first pitch in Sydney is set from 1:30 PM AEDT.