ADELAIDE, FEBRUARY 3 - A late comeback by the Brisbane Bandits, proudly presented by WellDog, saw the Adelaide Bite, proudly presented by SA Power Networks, lose 3-1 in Game 1 of the ABL Preliminary Final Series presented by Ladbrokes.
Adelaide found it hard all game to get the hits they needed as Max MacNabb and Justin Erasmus pitched clean starts for their respective sides, but consistent pressure eventually saw the Bandits break Adelaide.
Through five scoreless innings, Adelaide claimed some key scalps with a strikeout of David Rodriguez, while Jordan McArdle claimed a stunning leaping grab at first to prevent a Trent Oeltjen single, however a persistent Brisbane chipped away at the Bite.
"For this time of the year if you make mistakes you'll lose," Bite Manager Steve Mintz said.
We made two in a row and you can't do that type of stuff in a one-run ballgame during playoffs. We made mistakes and didn't score the runs we needed tonight but we had the lead and we had the pitchers we wanted to, come in."
Pitching five hits and six strikeouts in seven innings, MacNabb continued to shine throughout the game with another strong performance this season.
Tacking on early hits, Brisbane struggled to string together many hits, however Adelaide struggled even more, going hitless for the first five innings.
A rocket arm from Marcus Greene Jr. provided another highlight as he threw out Thomas Milone for a backs-against-the-wall performance, and once Adelaide earned a hit off Erasmus they broke through for their opening run.
McArdle, who signed to the Arizona Diamondbacks this week, was the man with a single through the centre before he scored on a huge Jordan Cowan RBI triple against the pitching of Ryan Rowland-Smith.
Rounding third as Cowan nearly cleared the fence, McArdle was nearly beaten on a throw to catcher David Rodriguez, however the hot prospect fumbled the ball and McArdle scurried across the plate.
It was a rare offensive highlight, though, and Mintz knows his team has to bounce back after Erasmus dominated.
"I just told them we can't lose no more," he said."
"We'll go there and get ready to play; we'll send Jack O'Loughlin out there and hopefully the bats will come up... Erasmus did an oustanding job and I don't think they could have asked for anything else."
A bullpen combination of Zac Treece (W, 1-0, 0.00) and Ryan Searle left Adelaide on the back foot as Brisbane roared ahead against Matt Williams late in the eighth (L, 0-1, 9.00).
With runners at first and second, a regulation throw by Williams to first on a bunt sailed high over the head of Josh Altmann, and Brisbane scored on the error.
Oeltjen then made up for his earlier out with a damaging two-run double and with a 3-1 lead and just six outs left for victory, Brisbane claimed a crucial game one win.
"I like what we got in the 'pen," he said. "We got Zach Cooper down there but if we need to use him tomorrow to get to Sunday we'll use him; it's all hands on deck.
"Then we'll worry about Sunday but tomorrow we got to go out there and win the game."
Game 2 is Saturday night in Brisbane with Jack O'Loughlin starting against Kramer Champlin with the game live on ABLtv.com at 6.30PM.