The anticipation around the second meeting between the Brisbane Bandits, proudly presented by WellDog, and the SA Power Networks Adelaide Bite, spent the last two weeks brewing, and for good reason.
In Game 1 of the four-game series at AFA Stadium at Holloway Field, the Bandits and Bite were locked in until the top-of-the-eighth inning when Mitch Dening connected for a two-run home run off Matt Timms to take a 4-3 lead.
Dening's third home run of the season fueled the Bite's momentum into the hands of LeDarious Clark in the top-of-the-ninth. Clark responded with a three run home run over the left center field wall, extending the lead and ultimately the final score, 8-3.
Clark was 2-for-5 with four RBI's and run in Thursday's outing.
Brisbane had their chances early, as the Bandits welcomed Tampa Bay Rays prospect, David Rodriguez, for his Australian Baseball League debut.
Led by two RBI doubles in his first two at-bats, the Venezuelan catcher was 3-for-4 with a run in his first Brisbane Bandits outing.
As expected, Head Coach David Nilsson is thrilled to have Rodriguez on board for the duration of the season.
"It was a pretty big arrival. It's good to have him here so we can start building around him," Nilsson said.
Rodriguez follows fellow Rays prospect, Kevin Padlo, in the order. The third baseman was 2-for-3 with a run and a walk in his first game since the 2016 ABL All-Star Game.
Game 1 posed a first for right-hander Zac Treece. In his first start of the ABL season, Zac Treece dealt four strikeouts and allowed just four hits and two runs in five complete innings of work.
"He was fantastic. To get five innings out of him and stretch him out a bit, and then give up two runs maybe, which, both were pretty cheap runs, so that was disappointing, but he did great tonight," Nilsson said.
Despite the impressive outing from the right-hander, the Bandits were unable to capitalize on opportunities, and once again, left the door open for the opposing team.
"Obviously we had a chance to close it out and we didn't do it. It was disappointing. We also had a lot of chances to score runs early in the game to tack onto the lead and we didn't take advantage of that," Nilsson said.
Matt Timms is dealt his second loss of the season, giving up five runs over 1.1 innings of work.
The Bandits and Bite are back at AFA Stadium at Holloway Field Friday, the 30th of December, for Game 2. Kramer Champlin has the 6:30 p.m. first pitch as the Bandits look to even up the series at one game apiece.