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Aces sweep doubleheader, advance to ABLCS02/05/2012 6:52 PM ET
By Ross Romano / ABL
MELBOURNE, 5 February - The Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces exploded for 29 runs in Sunday's doubleheader, taking both games from the Sydney Blue Sox at Melbourne Showgrounds to clinch the series victory in Round Two of the ConocoPhillips ABL Postseason. Melbourne picked up a 14-4 victory in Game Four, led by a four-hit output from Paul Weichard and two Brad Harman home runs. Travis Blackley bounced back from his rough Wednesday start by striking out eight over five innings and allowing just two runs to pick up the win. In Game Five, the Aces triumphed by a 15-3 score, with Harman adding his third home run of the day and Elliot Biddle adding a pair of his own. Jeff Jamnik was outstanding on the mound, tossing eight innings, striking out seven and surrendering just seven hits as he earned his first Postseason win. Mitch Dening was Sydney's bright spot in the doubleheader sweep, connecting for a home run in each game to finish with four in the series. Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces vs. Sydney Blue Sox (Game 4):
The Aces bats busted out in Game Four of the ConocoPhillips ABL Postseason Round Two series, connecting for 15 hits and three home runs in a 14-4 win over the Blue Sox at Melbourne Showgrounds. Regular season home run leader Brad Harman led the charge for the Aces with a pair of blasts and six total RBI. Travis Blackley returned to the mound on three days' rest and earned the win, striking out eight and allowing just two runs over five innings. For the Blue Sox, Mitch Dening hit his third home run in two games. The game remained scoreless for the first two frames before the Blue Sox scored in the third. After Blackley struck out the first two batters of the inning, David Kandilas sparked a rally with a single and subsequent steal of second base. The next man up was Dening, who came through with an opposite field home run, giving his team a two-run lead. The Aces struck back in the bottom of the third. Darryl George led off the inning with a double and then scored on a Dominic Ramos single, cutting the Sydney lead in half. Paul Weichard then singled, putting runners on the corners for Harman. The slugging second baseman smashed a three-run homer to right field, giving Melbourne a 4-2 lead. In the fifth, with rain beginning to fall, the Aces added four more to their lead. Harman hit his second home run of the game off Blue Sox starter Aidan Francis, a two-run shot, and Kevin David later added a two-run bomb of his own. With the big inning, Melbourne extended their lead to 8-2 before the game entered a rain delay. Blackley bounced back nicely from a difficult Game One start in which he surrendered seven earned runs. He earned his first Postseason win by tossing five innings, striking out eight, walking none, and allowing just five hits and two runs. He struck out 18 Blue Sox in 12 innings pitched this series. Designated hitter Paul Weichard, who had previously been hitless in the series, broke out of his slump with a four-hit evening. He had three singles and a double, drove in a run and scored three. When play resumed following the rain delay, Sydney briefly attempted a comeback when Trent D'Antonio's sixth inning home run cut the deficit to 8-4, but Melbourne's offence was just too strong in this one. They came back with three more in the bottom of the sixth and put another three-spot on the board in the eighth. Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces vs. Sydney Blue Sox (Game 5):
The Aces cruised to an easy 15-3 win in Game Five, clinching the ConocoPhillips ABL Postseason Round Two series victory over the Blue Sox. Melbourne put runs on the board in each of the first five innings and never allowed their opponent to make the game competitive. Elliot Biddle had two home runs in the game and Brad Harman added one, finishing the day with three over the course of the doubleheader. The Aces now move on to challenge the 'Alcohol Think Again' Perth Heat in the 2012 ConocoPhillips ABL Championship Series, beginning 4:05PM WST Friday at Barbagallo Ballpark. The Aces scored early and often in this game, displaying great urgency in their quest to reach their first ABL Championship Series. After Mitch Dening connected for his fourth home run in the series in the top of the first, Melbourne came back with four runs in the bottom half, highlighted by Harman's two-run homer, his third of the doubleheader. The Aces scored one in the second and then really put the game away in the third, when they exploded for a six-spot. They began the inning with three straight singles, the last of which came off the bat of Darryl George and scored Scott Wearne. George joined Dominic Ramos and Elliot Biddle as Aces who had three hits in the game, while John Edwards had four. After George's hit, a sacrifice fly by Ramos scored Edwards. Then Paul Weichard grounded into a force out, setting up Sydney with two outs in the inning and a chance to get out of it with only two runs on the board. However, that groundout was followed by a single by Harman that loaded the bases and then a wild pitch that brought home Weichard. A walk to Justin Huber brought up Biddle, who launched the first of his two home runs, giving Melbourne a 10-run lead they'd never look back from. Jaff Jamnik turned in his finest start in an Aces uniform, earning a complete game win. He struck out seven and surrendered just seven hits and three earned runs. The right-hander displayed impressive stamina and control, throwing 121 pitches in the game, 84 of which were strikes. In all, seven Melbourne batters had multiple hits in the game and Weichard was the only starter who failed to record a hit. The Aces displayed impressive offensive depth, with eight players driving in runs during the doubleheader. In today's wins, they displayed the type of offensive firepower necessary to defeat Perth. The bright spot in an otherwise difficult day for Sydney was Mitch Dening, who blasted a home run in each game. He finished the series with four home runs and seven RBI in the final three games. The Blue Sox will now have to wait until next season for a shot at their first ABL Championship. The Aces will only have to wait until Friday for their shot, when they will begin the 2012 ConocoPhillips ABL Championship Series at Barbagallo Ballpark against the 'Alcohol Think Again' Perth Heat. The best-of-three series will be broadcast live by Fox Sports and ABC Grandstand and begins at 4:05 WST on Friday night.