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Bandits clinch home semi-final series
Brisbane closer Ryan Searle breaks ABL save record
01/25/2018 5:07 AM ET
Brisbane's T.J. Bennett took the league lead with his 15th homer of the season against Canberra on Thursday night (C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA
Brisbane's T.J. Bennett took the league lead with his 15th homer of the season against Canberra on Thursday night (C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA 

Brisbane clinched a home semi-final series in the opening round of the Australian Baseball League playoffs after edging Canberra on Thursday night.

The Bandits prevailed 5-4 after taking the lead on veteran David Sutherland's RBI-double in the seventh inning at Narrabundah.

Cavs' starter Brian Grening walked Andrew Campbell and Logan Wade's triple tied the ballgame before Sutherland gave Brisbane the lead.

Relievers Zac Treece, Matt Timms then combined for two scoreless frames before Bandits' closer Ryan Searle recorded his ABL record 36th save.

Early in the game the league's two in-form outfits traded longs balls.

T.J. Bennett and Campbell homered for Brisbane, while Jay Baum, Cameron Warner and Kyle Perkins went deep for Canberra.

The Bandits struck first on Bennett's league-leading 15th homer of the season off Grening.

Grening gave up an uncharacteristic walk - just his seventh of the season - to Donald Lutz before Bennett punished him to give Brisbane a 2-0 lead.

The Cavs hit back almost immediately as lead-off hitter Travis Witherspoon singled before Baum took starter Justin Erasmus deep.

Andrew Campbell restored the Bandits' lead before Cameron Warner's third homer of the season tied the ballgame once more.

Kyle Perkins put Canberra in front with a solo shot off Travis Blackley in the fourth.

But Brisbane refused to give up, adding two runs in the seventh to guarantee a home semi-final series next weekend.

Erasmus gave up three runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings before the Bandits' bullpen gave up just one run in 5 1/3 innings.

Grening allowed five runs on seven hits, striking out five in six innings for the Cavs.

The series continues at 7pm local time on Friday.

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