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Battle for playoffs intensifies following loss
01/11/2019 5:25 AM ET
 

The chance to move into second place in the ABL's South-West Division has gone begging for Adelaide in a 4-0 away defeat to Melbourne on Friday night.

Adelaide's offence struggled for consistency against starting pitcher Scott Shuman and South Australia's own Josh Tols, the pair combined for 12 strikeouts.

Only Curtis Mead and Kuan-Jen Chen found any success with two hits each.

With the loss, the Bite slips two games behind the Aces with three to play this weekend, and their respective Round 10 fixtures next week.

A scoreless start for both sides took a turn as Melbourne plucked two solo home runs in the fourth inning before runs in the sixth and eighth, with another solo home run, swiftly buried comeback hopes.

Mead was impressive yet again with his late season form which is sure to please the Philadelphia Phillies ahead of his first full year of spring training and rookie ball in Florida.

The 18-year-old will leave following the ABL's conclusion and with the local prospect hitting above .300 over his past 10 games he looks ready to shine against his international counterparts.

Veteran slugger Chen has been even more dominant since arriving for his second season; his early hits were the brightest signs of life for the side.

Pitching dominance proved to be the major difference, however, Michael Gettys and Aaron Whitefield saw their power nullified as they struck out three times each.

A familiar face from the Aces bullpen haunted Adelaide, Tols tallied four strikeouts against his former side in a clinical closing performance.

It was the first time Tols has pitched against his old team since signing a Minor League contract with Philadelphia in mid-2018.

Adelaide had brief sparks of hope from its pitchers, Jared Wilson recorded three consecutive strikeouts in the seventh, but they could not pin down a Melbourne side which saw eight of its nine starts collect a hit.

The series continues on Saturday with a doubleheader from 5.00pm local time.

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