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Heat go outright top in Hughes' return
Conor Lourey tossed a gem as the Heat claimed a Game One win over the Aces
12/07/2018 9:29 AM ET
Perth Heat outfielder Jess Williams swings at a ball on Friday night
Perth Heat outfielder Jess Williams swings at a ball on Friday night (James Worsfold)

The Perth Heat moved to outright top of the Australian Baseball League standings, recording a tight 2-1 win over the Melbourne Aces in Luke Hughes' return to his old hunting ground on Friday.

Conor Lourey was the star of the show - striking out eight batters across six innings as the Heat moved to 10-3 on the year - overtaking their division rivals in the process.

"Tonight was an important game, so it was great to get the win," Lourey said.

"I'm feeling really good out there on the mound."

Playing in honour of the late Ben Shorto, Perth fell behind early on as Darryl George's first inning solo shot put Melbourne on the board.

The Heat hit back immediately - Tristan Gray levelling up the game with an RBI single to score Tim Kennelly before Pete Kozma crossed home plate on a passed ball to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.

That would be how it would end, as Lourey and Melbourne starter Luke Westphal dominated on the mound - keeping both offences at bay.

Perth left five runners on base, while Melbourne stranded four in a pitcher's duel.

With a slender one run lead heading into the seventh inning, Tim Kennelly ripped a hard-hit single with Alex Hall on second, but the 19-year-old designated hitter was gunned out at home plate by Aces outfielder Rudy Martin.

The baserunning error wouldn't come back to bite Perth, but the win wouldn't come without drama.

After tossing 2.2 scoreless frames, Heat reliever Joel Peguero ran into trouble - putting runners on the corners in the ninth inning before reigning Reliever of the Year Cameron Lamb recorded the final out to nail down his second save of the season.

With the win, Perth took a 1-0 series lead.

The team's return to action for Saturday's double-header where they will battle it out for the Team Spencer Cup from 4.05pm and 7.05pm.

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

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