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Heat and Aces square off in blockbuster series
The Perth Heat and Melbourne Aces go head-to-head in a top of the table series this weekend
12/06/2018 1:29 AM ET
Perth Heat's Tristan Gray leads the ABL with 13 RBIs
Perth Heat's Tristan Gray leads the ABL with 13 RBIs (Ryan Schembri, Ryan Schembri / SMP Images / ABL Media )

A pair of World Series Champions will go head-to-head this weekend as Pete Kozma and the Perth Heat host Byung Hyun Kim and the Melbourne Aces in Round Four of the Australian Baseball League season.

After two weeks on the road, the Heat return home to the Perth Harley-Davidson Ballpark, with plenty on the line.

Not only does the series pit the league's top two teams against each other, but it also marks the first time former Perth star Luke Hughes will return to the West since joining Melbourne in the offseason.

Perth's Head of Baseball Operations Lachlan Dale says a lot of emotion will be on display during the series but is confident his side can come out on top.

"It's going to be a massive test for both sides," he said.

"Obviously Luke coming back is a major talking point, but we've been swinging the bats really well to start the year."

Both teams own an identical 9-3 record to sit joint top of the Australian Baseball League's South-West Division.

"We know the importance of this series," Dale said.

"Even though it's still early on, every win is vital."

The Heat enter the series with the league's most potent offence having scored 112 runs - more than double of the second-ranked Sydney. 

Tristan Gray, Alex Hall and Jake Bowey have been major contributors at the plate for Perth - with the trio leading the league with 13 RBIs apiece.

"We're coming into this series with a bit of confidence after swinging the bats well last week," Bowey said.

"Team morale is really high and we can't wait to get back on the field this weekend."

In team news, the Heat will be boosted by the return of Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Robbie Glendinning, while pitcher Nathan Kuchta is recalled after impressing for the Morley Eagles in the WA State League.

Ryan Flores is in line to start Friday's Game One, while Robert Garcia, Conor Lourey and Nick Veale round out the rotation.

All of the games will be played at the Perth Harley-Davidson Ballpark in Thornlie between Friday and Sunday.

Friday's game will honour the late Ben Shorto, while Saturday's double-header will mark the annual Team Spencer charity game. 

Perth Heat roster:

Chris Betts, Sam Kennelly, Jess Williams, Tristan Gray, Chris Clare, Pete Kozma, Carl Chester, Tim Kennelly, Alex Hall, Jake Bowey, Robbie Glendinning, Nathan Kuchta, Robert Garcia, Ryan Flores, Nick Veale, Scott Mitchinson, Cristopher Sanchez, Joel Peguero, Cameron Lamb, Daniel Schmidt, Conor Lourey, Benn Grice

TICKETS: https://mailchi.mp/perthheat/tickets 

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