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Auckland @ Sydney preview
Will Sydney bounce back after a shocker against Canberra?
01/08/2019 10:30 PM ET

Despite a well below par performance against Canberra in round eight, Sydney have an opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the North-East Division as they welcome Auckland to town.

The Blue Sox (20-12) slumped to their first series sweep of the season, as they watched a four-game lead at the top of the North-East Division evaporate. Game two's loss was particularly disappointing, as Sydney were overrun in extra innings after relinquishing an 8-3 lead.

For only the second time this season, Sydney had no representatives on the Brut Team of the Week.

The Blue Sox recall utility Max Brennen for their four-game set against the Tuatara at the expense of Taiwanese outfielder Shen Hao-Wei.

Sydney's starters will need to pick up the slack this weekend, as their week eight starters (Maestri, Wilkins, Anderson, Guyer) gave up 13 earned runs in 18.2 innings.

Blue Sox legend Craig Anderson will make his final regular-season start at Blacktown International Sportspark, as the 38-year-old hangs up the cleats at season's end. Anderson has recorded an outstanding 2.10 ERA in eight appearances this season.

Brisbane took advantage of Auckland's pitching in their week eight matchup, as the Tuatara conceded 48 runs in five games at hitter-friendly OneHub Stadium.

Auckland (10-22) managed one win against the defending champions, as former MLBer Josh Collmenter anchored a nail-biting extra innings win on Friday night. Collmenter tossed seven innings, striking out seven and only giving up the one earned run. Luke Hansen collected the game-winning RBI and made a sensational diving catch in the bottom of the 10th to deny Brisbane any momentum.

Brewers prospect Zach Clark continues to impress for Auckland, as the 23-year-old made his second Brut Team of the Week. Clark nailed three homers and has been a reliable option for the Tuatara in left field through eight weeks.

Sydney dominated Auckland in their first matchup this season, winning all four games and fanning Tuatara hitters 53 times in four games.


Ones to watch

Jack Murphy and Nick Tanielu both have AAA experience and will be crucial in the heart of their respective lineups this weekend.

Tanielu hit .289 in AAA-Fresno in 2018 and has big league potential, while Murphy is hitting .316 in his past 10 games and clubbed a pair of homers in round eight.



After striking out only 274 hitters in 332.2 innings last season, Sydney's pitching staff has ramped up their output this time around. The Blue Sox have fanned a league-high 299 hitters in only 274.1 innings this season. 


Probable starters

G1: Stephen Swagerty (0-1, 11.25) at Alex Maestri (5-2, 3.18 ERA) 

G2: Josh Collmenter (3-3, 3.45) at Craig Anderson (0-1, 2.10)

G3: Scott Richmond (1-1, 8.68) at Luke Wilkins (2-3, 3.25)

G4: Jimmy Boyce (0-5, 6.56) at Josh Guyer (5-1, 2.91)


Series schedule

G1: Thursday, 7.30pm AEDT at Blacktown International Sportspark, Rooty Hill NSW

G2: Friday, 7.30pm AEDT at Blacktown International Sportspark, Rooty Hill NSW

G3: Saturday, 7.30pm AEDT at Blacktown International Sportspark, Rooty Hill NSW

G4: Sunday, 1.00pm AEDT at Blacktown International Sportspark, Rooty Hill NSW


Broadcast guide

Check out the full round nine broadcast guide here!



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