BRISBANE, FEBRUARY 4 - A 12 inning marathon effort saw the Adelaide Bite, proudly presented by SA Power Networks, keep its season alive with an 8-4 win over the Brisbane Bandits, proudly presented by Welldog, in Brisbane.
With the ABL Preliminary Final Series presented by Ladbrokes going down to the wire, Adelaide relied on the whole side to secure the win as Brisbane attempted to clinch a series win.
Racking up 15 hits just one night after putting four on the board back home, Adelaide had three runs inside the opening minutes as Jordan Cowan clubbed home lead-off man LeDarious Clark, before Marcus Greene Jr. mashed a two-run bomb.
Brisbane responded quickly and their hitter friendly park was on full display as a pair of solo homers in the second inning helped the Bandits tie the game up in the blink of an eye.
Sixteen year-old Jack O'Loughlin pitched an impressive outing in his ABL postseason debut, throwing four innings with four hits, three runs, two walks and four strikeouts - an improved effort after lasting less than three innings when he was last in Brisbane.
As the home side edged ahead in the fifth inning, Adelaide looked to have lost its momentum with the hits drying up and a couple of errors creeping into the game.
However, Clark teamed up with his fellow Texas Ranger to pull the Bite level in the seventh on the back of a much needed RBI single down the centre.
Calling upon Loek van Mil in the seventh as well, Adelaide let the closer go the distace as the game crept into extra innings.
Allowing just two runs all season, van Mil had not pitched more than three innings in one stint but Steve Mintz showed faith in the Netherlands player, letting him strike out four in four shutout innings.
It was a crucial moment of the game as he kept the Bandits from scoring while their own bullpen tried to do the same. With no international tiebreaker rules in play, a tense 11th inning passed into the 12th and there was no doubt both teams wanted the match to end soon.
A lead-off single to Cowan, which was his fourth hit of the night, paved the way for Mitch Dening to do his thing - and he did just that with a two-run homer out to right centre field.
Against Ryan Searle (L, 0-1, 8.31) Adelaide had finally broken the game apart against one of the best closing pitchers in the competition. Leading 6-4, the tide turned for Adelaide and they finally found freedom in their hitting through base hits to Greene and Stefan Welch.
Loading the bases, Altmann's third hit of the game brought Altmann home, before Alex Carter ended any hopes of a Brisbane comeback with his sacrifice fly.
Defending an 8-4 lead, Zach Cooper (W, 1-0, 0.00) struck out three Bandits in two innings, slamming the door on the home team for an emphatic Bite victory.
Game 3 will have Steven Chambers starting for the Bite with the season on the line. The game is live on ABLtv.com at 1.30PM ACDT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXvQP3PbOGg