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Big pitching sets up grand slam win
Bite level the series after 8-1 victory over Aces
01/19/2018 4:53 AM ET
Kuan-Jen Chen mashes a ninth inning grand slam as the Bite claim a much needed win.
Kuan-Jen Chen mashes a ninth inning grand slam as the Bite claim a much needed win. (Ben Southall/SMP Images/ABL Media)

A grand slam from Kuan-Jen Chen was the icing on the cake as a complete pitching performance from the Adelaide Bite, proudly presented by SA Power Networks, secured the club's eighth win of the season - an 8-1 win over Melbourne.

Adelaide may still be five games behind the Aces with time running out, but there is still a chance the Bite can steal fourth place - or at the very least shake up the battle for playoffs.

Here's our three takeaways from a big win.

The little airplane goes big

Starting off with a 2-for-2 game, Kuan-Jen Chen again looked to be putting in a solid performance. Entering the ninth he was up for his fifth at-bat with the Bite leading 4-1 and the bases loaded after hits to Jordan McArdle and Curtis Mead, plus walks to Rodrigo Ayarza and Max Brown.

A few weeks ago, Chen faced a similar situation with a late grand slam opportunity on offer, but his hit fell just short as the breeze held it inside the park and it was caught - denying the Bite a walk-off. Against the Aces he had no problems, crushing the ball over right field with absolute ease. The hit broke the hearts of the Aces as the score ballooned out, while it leaves the door open for a series win and even finals.


Koura, Williams back at their best

Ryo Koura made a massive start to ABL life with 12 strikeouts in seven innings for the win on debut. Tonight he had eight in 5 2/3 innings as the Bite defence backed him up to keep the Aces at one run from six hits.

Some early runs built a 3-1 lead for the Bite after two innings but from there it turned into a pitcher's duel with Koura a crucial part. There was no panic in his game and while he was the only player to give up a walk in the match, that one walk was not enough to hand out easy bases. With Matt Williams backing him up with four strikeouts Koura could also sit back with some comfort after his start. 

The duo also combined to retire 13 straight hitters from the fourth to the eighth inning in an impressive run of form that has been missing for much of the season. Loek van Mil then came in and made it 15 in the ninth, before a walk ended the streak - but that was no problem as he then wrapped up victory.

Fast starts are easy - backing them up is tough

Three, three runs in the first inning. That's what Adelaide managed as Rodrig Ayarza, Stephen Lohr and Kuan-Jen Chen singled in the first. Max Brown also reached on a fielding error to load the bases with Lohr's hit bringing home two runs. Angus Roeger also got in on the action with an RBI ground out.

It was a complete team start, and one we have seen several times this season. Unfortunately Adelaide has struggled too many times to keep a lead, whether it was for one inning or more, but the confidence to keep calm and just play simple baseball was clear tonight. There was a noticeable change in the side with fielding, hitting and pitching, and when they got to the ninth with the lead - well extending it was easy as pie.

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