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Extra Innings Win Puts Playoffs in Reach
Ryan Searle allows one hit over 3.2 innings
01/28/2017 7:20 AM ET

Leave the dramatics for Game 3.

With international rules coming into play Saturday night, the Brisbane Bandits, proudly presented by WellDog, seized the opportunity in the eleventh inning with a David Rodriguez RBI double, securing Game 3, 5-4, over the Canberra Elite Cavalry.

With the Bandits and Cavalry tied at four runs apiece in the bottom-of-the-ninth, the Bandits were forced into their first extra-inning showdown of the season. As the score remained deadlocked through the tenth inning, both teams were forced to enter international rule play. By definition, international rules allow the offensive team to place runners on first and second base to begin the inning.

In an enthusiastic crowd at MIT Ballpark in Canberra, the scene was set. Zech Lemond was in the zone early, retiring Trent Oeltjen and Mitch Nilsson on back-to-back strikeouts in the top-of-the-eleventh, leaving it to David Rodriguez with two runners on base and two outs. Much to the tune of his season, Rodriguez delivered under pressure, driving an RBI double to centre field to score Wade Dutton from second base and give the Bandits a 5-4 lead.

Rodriguez was sensational in Game 3, extending his hitting streak to a remarkable 18 games in a row, as the catcher was 3-for-5 with two RBI's and a run Saturday night.

Ryan Searle remained on the bump in the bottom-of-the-eleventh. In the first at-bat, Aaron Sayers' bunt fell into a force out at third base, claiming the first out of the inning. Aaron Sloan followed immediately with a routine groundout advancing the runners to second and third base, leaving D.J. Davis as the last option for Canberra's offence. On a full count with two outs, Ryan Searle slammed the door on Davis' opportunity, sealing the Bandits' Game 3 win.

Searle was absolutely dominant Saturday night, extending his usual time frame on the mound. The ABL veteran allowed just one hit and dealt three crucial strikeouts over 3.2 innings, earning his third win of the season.

In a swift turn of events from Game 2, the Bandits had no issues producing offensive numbers early Saturday evening. The Bandits and Cavalry posted nine hits apiece in Game 3.

David Rodriguez led off Game 3's showdown with a solo shot to left field in the top-of-the-second. In the ensuing at-bat, Logan Wade followed Rodriguez's lead, driving another solo home run to right centre field. In a twist of fate, the trend continued. David Sutherland put his bat speed on full display, launching a monster shot over the right field wall to give the Bandits an early, 3-0 lead.

But, Canberra wasted no time responding. With Boss Moanaroa on second base, Robbie Perkins plated the Cavalry's first two runs of the evening with a two-run home run to left centre field.

Canberra acted again the bottom-of-the-fifth with a David Kandilas RBI double to centre field, tying Game 3 at three runs apiece.

The game of Ping-Pong continued into the top-of-the-fourth at the hands of third baseman Kevin Padlo. The Tampa Bay Rays prospect drove a double off the centre left field wall to plate Wade and retake the Game 3 lead, 4-3.

Josh Almonte evened the score yet again in the bottom-of-the-fifth with a deep double to left field. From there, bats in each clubhouse went silent, as each team struggled trying to gain momentum.

The Cavalry had their chance in the bottom-of-the-ninth. With two outs, David Kandilas had a runner on first and belted a shot to deep centre field tracking Aaron Whitefield back to the wall. To the dismay of the Canberra fans at MIT Ballpark, Whitefield made a spectacular leaping catch in centre field, leaving the crowd in shock as the Minnesota Twins prospect robbed Kandilas of his walk-off.

A win tomorrow, Sunday the 28th, guarantees a playoff spot for the Bandits. If Brisbane loses Game 4, they will travel to Sydney to play a make-up game Monday in hopes of securing a win, and in return, a playoff spot. Simon Morriss has the 12:00 p.m. AEST start Sunday in Game 4 against the Cavalry.

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