The CompassMarkets.com Sydney Blue Sox (10-14) lost the back to back series against Jet Courier Melbourne Aces (18-6) 3-1. The New Year's Eve weekend had standout performances with pitcher Craig Anderson receiving a win despite being up against MLB veteran pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. Regular slugger Stone Garrett also put on a show for the strong Blacktown crowd getting his third home run of the season.
Thursday, the first game of the series saw the Sox go down to the current league leaders in the last inning, 4-3. Trevor Foss (ND, 1-2) pitched a great game with eight strike outs and just two hits in six innings. The close game had good defense from both teams with numerous three up, three down innings. Stone Garrett got the team started with a solo home run to left field. The next set of runs for the Sox came in the bottom of the sixth by Guy Edmonds. With the bases loaded, Guy grounded out but brought Malik Collymore and Tucker Neuhaus home, getting the Sox into a tied game. The Aces stepped it up and brought in one run during the ninth but with bases loaded for the Sox there were two consecutive strike outs at the hands of Peter Moylan (S, 1) to end the game.
Game Two of the series saw the Blue Sox fight back in a bid to break their six-game losing streak. Craig Anderson (W, 4-1) did an outstanding job on the mound with four hits, one run and three strike outs in five innings. Vaughan Harris, Todd Grattan and Todd Van Steensel followed Anderson with a combined three hits across four innings. Trent D'Antonio, Stone Garrett and Tucker Neuhaus continued their strong performances from the previous night and all doubled in the first inning against Jeremy Guthrie (L, 0-1). A shift was needed in defense during the bottom of the third inning after Blue Sox catcher Guy Edmonds was ejected from the game. The bottom of the fourth was another three-run inning for the Sox with Jacob Younis scoring off a D'Antonio double, Collymore stepped up next with Jake Webster and Trent D'Antonio on base he singled into right field, bringing in the 2 runs.
The final game of the year was won by the Aces 6-4. The New Year's Eve game had Luke Wilkins starting, after six innings he had seven hits and an ERA of 2.72. Gyoung-Wan Lim backed him up with no runs off two hits in two innings. Malik Collymore was our first run on the board of the night after Tucker Neuhaus doubled on a fly ball to left field. Stone Garrett's speed was put on show when he stole second during the second inning but was unable to capitalize. The fifth inning was a quick one after both teams got a back to back three up, three down innings. To stop the Aces on adding to their two-run lead, pitcher Sven Schueller (L, 0-3) collected the ground ball throwing it to Ryo Nishimura on second and then getting it to Trent D'Antonio on first to get the final out.
The first game of 2017 and final game of the weekend was won by the Melbourne Aces for them to take away the series, 4-1. Despite the loss Yuki Katayama (L, 0-1) had a good start to his season with four hits and seven strike outs through five innings. The team's notoriously strong defense backed up their pitcher by not letting any runners on base for the first four innings. Todd Van Steensel returned to the mound for his second game of the weekend having two hits and zero runs in one inning. Tucker Neuhaus' base running was put on show when he scored off a throwing error however the retaliation of the Aces was too much for the Sox.
Manager Jason Pospishil reflected on the head to head weekend against Melbourne Aces.
"We have battled pretty hard against Melbourne the past two series but we have let some leads get away late in games which have proven to be costly. You just can't afford to do that against any team in this league and with a 40 game schedule those games are magnified. The positive is that Melbourne are breaking away and we have played some really gutsy baseball to get back into games and give us a chance to win so I can't fault the efforts of the players at all. Our execution at times needs to be better though if we are going to be a play-off caliber team."
The Sydney Blue Sox (10-14) face The Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat (8-16) next weekend at Barbagallo Ballpark.
Sydney Blue Sox - next home series vs. Canberra Cavalry
Game 1 - Friday January 20th 2017 - 7:30pm
Game 2 - Saturday January 21st 2017 - 4:00pm
Game 3 - Saturday January 21st 2017 - 7:00pm
Game 4 - Sunday January 22nd 2017 - 4:00pm
For more information and to book your tickets visit www.sydneybluesox.com.au
All times shown are Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time