The Jet Courier Melbourne Aces bounced back from a disappointing Saturday night game as they defeated Brisbane 5-1 on Sunday afternoon, wrapping up the series three games to one.
A couple of Victorian pitchers made their returns for the Aces, Daniel McGrath started in his first ABL appearance since 2012 pitching the first two innings for no hits and no runs. Sam Gibbons followed throwing the next two, and gave up three hits but no runs.
Brisbane had the first legitimate scoring chance at the top of the 4th before Roman Collins and Allan de San Miguel combined to produce a bit of fielding brilliance. David Rodriguez hit a long ball out into the right field before Collins threw a bullet back to the plate where de San Miguel made a brilliant catch to deny Logan Wade of the Bandits.
The Aces lost Jon Deeble at the top of the 5th after remonstrating with the umpires over a foul ball call off the bat of Wade Dutton. With the score at 0-0 at the time of Deeble's ejection, the umpire's decision to toss the Aces Manager became a turning point in the game.
Brad Harman came out fired up at the bottom of the 5th, hitting a double down the left field to lead things off and when Wigberto Nevarez hit a sac-fly, we had the games first score.
With one out and Jared Cruz still at first, Liam Bedford grounded first baseman David Sutherland who looked set to make the inning double play but threw it away to see both Aces' safe at first and second. That was enough to give James Beresford an RBI opportunity which he capitalised on to plate Cruz and double the Aces' lead.
The scoring continued at the bottom of the 6th as Mike Walker doubled to centre field. Swirling winds in Altona had been having an impact on flyballs throughout the afternoon and this hit was no exception as Thomas Milone missed one he probaly should have taken. Two outs later Jared Cruz drove in Walker to make it 3-0 in the Aces' favour and continue his red hot series at the plate.
Cody Jones continued the Aces run in the bottom of the 7th, with a double that drove in Liam Bedford for Melbourne's fourth run and then fellow outfielder Roman Collins followed suit, driving in Jones to make the score 5-0. Collins finished 2-4 on the afternoon with one RBI, taing his RBI tally for the season to 14.
A Logan Wade RBI helped the Bandits get one back late at the top of the eighth, and that's how the game would finish.
Jared Cruz finished the afternoon 2-4 with one RBI to continue his impressive series. After missing the first game on Thursday night, Cruz went 7-10 with four RBIs and two doubles over the next three games to put together a very strong weekend and press his claims for a reguar start on the Aces infield.
Dushan Ruzic was credited with the win for Melbourne, bringing his season total out to 3-1.
The Aces who are now five games clear of Canberra on top of the Australian Baseball League (ABL) standings, will take on the Cavalry in an away series beginning on Thursday 12th of January.