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Shock loss snatches Bite momentum
01/26/2017 4:54 AM ET
Jordan Cowan collects three hits in Adelaide's loss to Sydney.
Jordan Cowan collects three hits in Adelaide's loss to Sydney. (Ryan Schembri / SMP Images / ABL Media)

ADELAIDE, JANUARY 26 - An unlikely push for top spot has ended for the Adelaide Bite, proudly presented by SA Power Networks, as the Sydney Blue won 5-4, leaving Adelaide in a fight for second and third.

Adelaide (10-17) has Brisbane (19-17) and Canberra (19-18) breathing down its neck after a scrappy performance which was highlighted by three hits to Jordan Cowan and five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings by reliever Matt Williams.

It was a long game to begin with as both sides collected early hits, although it was Sydney who took the early advantage as they loaded the bases several times throughout the game.

Despite Adelaide rallying from 1-0 down to lead 3-1, Manager Steve Mintz was critical of his side after a poor start.

"If we can't catch the ball and throw it's going to be tough to win and we just gave them four runs tonight," he said.

"It's normally not how we play defense and they put us in a hole and we couldn't get the hits we needed.

Trailing 1-0, a lead-off walk to Josh Altmann led to the first run for the home side in the second inning as Angus Roeger blasted a RBI double sharply into left field.

Roeger scored shortly after through Connar O'Gorman's hit into right field, although O'Gorman was soon out on a fielder's choice with LeDarious Clark at the plate.

Notching his 16th steal of the season, Clark took second to put himself in the prime position for a Cowan RBI single which had the Bite up 3-1 in a hurry.

A week after helping Australia qualify for the Under-18 World Cup, Jack O'Loughlin L (3-3, 3.02) was fighting hard to keep Sydney quiet and he pitched well with nine hits, two earned runs and two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

With every player collecting a hit, and Jacob Younis notching three, Sydney bounced back to tie up the game as Younis hit a RBI single, while Adelaide was left fighting to get out of a rut despite getting players on base.

Adelaide left 12 players on base throughout the night with just three reaching a scoring position, and Mintz did not mince his words, saying his players know exactly how they need to perform on field.

"I'm not going to say anything to them; they know, I don't need to remind them," Mintz said.

"They know what we gotta do this weekend and we'll come back out here tomorrow and go back out there to get a better result."

Singles to Welch and Altmann, and a Jordan McArdle sacrifice fly put Adelaide back in touching distance as the score closed to 5-4, but the game hit a lull as pitchers took control.

Blue Sox relievers Vaughan Harris (W, 1-0, 4.12) and Todd van Steensel (Save, 3) were the pick of the bunch, while Williams and Loek van Mil combined for seven strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

Adelaide had a late chance to win off loaded bases in the bottom of the ninth through a lead-off double to Cowan, but there was no joy as van Steensel shut the door.

"We'll come here tomorrow and send Sean Callegari out and hopefully he can pitch well and we can get our bats going," Mintz said.

"Opportunities tonight were men on base but I don't have to tell them anything; they know what we're doing and it was a bad night but we'll ride it off."

Callegari will start a crucial Game Two at 7PM as Adelaide looks to wrap up second place with the game streamed live on MixLr.


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