Veteran big leaguer Jeremy Guthrie had his first start as an Ace at Melbourne Ballpark on Friday night, as the Jet Courier Melbourne Aces defeated the Brisbane Bandits 5-3.
The win marking the Club's second come from behind victory in as many nights, while also marking the Aces' best season in club history with 14 games still to play. Melbourne has never had a .500 record in the new Australian Baseball League (ABL) format, with tonight's victory putting an end to that.
Guthrie finished his night with six innings pitched, striking out six while allowing four hits and just one run.
The Aces opened the scoring in the bottom of the 4th after Thursday night's walk-off hero Mike Walker drove in James Beresford to give Melbourne an early lead. The Bandits got one back at the top of the 6th as a throwing error from James Beresford allowed Aaron Whitefield home for Brisbane to tie things up at 1-1.
Sam Street replaced Guthrie at the top of the 7th before another power outage at Melbourne Ballpark delayed play. Just after play resumed James Beresford's dirty day in the field continued with two errors on a single play allowed Wade Dutton scored for the Bandits as a result, giving Brisbane a 2-1 lead.
Once again the key for the Aces was to capitalise on Brisbane's relief pitchers. After Melbourne managed only one run off Rick Teasley in the opening six frames, the flood gates opened in the 7th and 8th.
The Aces faced a loaded bases situation with only one out at the bottom of the 7th, Jared Cruz drove in Allan de San Miguel moments later to tie the game at 2-2 before a wild pitch from Samuel Holland allowed Brad Harman to give the Aces a 3-2 lead.
Roman Collins made a crucial catch off a Wade Dutton fly ball to end Brisbane's innings at the top of the 8th without any score. Collins then led off with a walk before Mike Walker hit a huge two-run home run that flew out over the top of the scoreboard giving the Aces an integral 5-2 lead.
Brisbane managed to pull one back in the ninth but Virgil Vasquez was able to close it out, striking out the last three hitters of the game and steadying the home team to secure a 5-3 win.
The win marked Melbourne's 20th of the season, bringing the Aces record to 20-6 and six games clear at the top of the standings heading into tomorrow night's game three.