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Blue Sox Beat Aces Behind Blunders, Bomb
Trent Oeltjen hit his third home run of the season to boost Sydney to a 5-3 win.
11/20/2014 7:04 AM ET
 

MELBOURNE-Aided by three errors and three wild pitches on behalf of their opponent, the Sydney Blue Sox needed just two hits to start their series in Melbourne on a high note, beating the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces 5-3 in game one of a four-game set.

The Aces struck first in the bottom half of the game's first frame, when former major leaguer Brad Harman singled with two outs. Batting next, Kellin Deglan doubled in Harman to put Melbourne ahead 1-0. But Blue Sox starter Markus Solbach (3-0, 1.61) escaped from the inning when catcher Will Swanner caught Dylan Cozens trying to steal second.

Despite the early Melbourne lead, a series of defensive miscues and timely offence by a reliable Blue Sox bat allowed Sydney to take a sizable lead in the top of the third inning. In his first game back in the lineup after missing time to play in the U21 Baseball World Cup in Taiwan, Zach Shepherd walked to lead off the inning. Alex Howe reached on a throwing error by Aces starter Nick Blount, who then walked Michael Lysaught to load the bases. With the bases full of Blue Sox and no outs in the inning, shortstop Tyler Bortnick was safe at first after Blount committed another throwing error trying to get a force out.

With former major leaguer Trent Oeltjen at the plate, Howe scored Sydney's second run of the inning on a wild pitch. A few pitches later, Oeltjen boosted the Blue Sox with a three-run home run over the right-field fence, scoring Lysaught and Bortnick. After Oeltjen's moon shot, Blount retired David Kandilas, Alex Glenn and Swanner in succession, but the damage was done and the Blue Sox emerged from the inning with a 5-1 lead.

The Aces struck back against Solbach in the bottom of the sixth inning, with Harman launching a leadoff solo home run over the centre field fence. Deglan doubled behind the homer, advanced on a groundout and scored when Josh Davies reached on an error. Still, Solbach got Huber to ground into a double play to limit the damage to two runs and preserve the Sydney lead.  

Sydney got an injury scare in the bottom of the fifth inning, when right-fielder Glenn crashed into the right-centre field wall chasing down a Justin Huber double. Though slow to return to his feet, Glenn appeared to be unscathed and remained in the game.

Solbach picked up his third win of the season, pitching six innings of five-hit, three-run baseball and striking out four batters while walking one. Aaron Sookee made his 2014/15 season debut in relief, tossing two scoreless innings. Dae-Sung Koo closed out the Sydney win with a scoreless ninth, earning his third save of the year.

The Blue Sox and Aces are scheduled to continue their four-game set tomorrow night at 7:35 p.m. at Melbourne Ballpark. The Blue Sox send Craig Anderson (2-0, 2.14) to the mound against Texas Rangers prospect Cody Buckel (1-0, 3.38 ERA) of the Aces. Anderson is fresh off of winning the league's Pitcher of the Week award after pitching a complete-game shutout against the Canberra Elite Cavalry on 13 Nov.

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