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Tols tasked with stopping Bandits
02/01/2018 8:46 PM ET

Melbourne will send lefty Josh Tols to the bump tonight in the hope he can ignite one of the biggest upsets in Australian Baseball League playoff history.

The Aces face Brisbane in a best-of-three semi-final series, starting tonight at Holloway Field, with both teams chasing a return to the ABLCS.

Tols, 5-3 with a 4.78 ERA this season, has been tasked with the job of stopping the Bandits' potent offence.

Just three weeks ago Brisbane outscored Melbourne 67-32 in a five-game sweep at Holloway Field.

Tols was on the receiving end, giving up 11 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings during a 12-5 defeat in game two.

The left-hander - alongside Brisbane starter Ryan Bollinger - led the league with 75 strikeouts during the regular season and allowed one hit in seven innings during his most recent start against Perth on the road last weekend.

He will be hoping for a repeat performance when he duels with Tim Atherton tonight.

Atherton - who missed a couple of rounds following a car crash - went 3-1 with an ERA of 4.15 in eight appearances in the regular season.

Manager Dave Nilsson has slowly been upping the right-hander's workload since his comeback on December 30.

Atherton tossed seven innings against Canberra last weekend, allowing four earned runs on six hits while fanning seven.

His 99 pitches were a season-high.

The three-club pitcher worked five innings against the Aces during round eight, striking out six and giving in three runs on three hits.

Both starting pitchers will have their work cut out with the teams stacked with offensive weapons.

During the Bandits' five-game sweep last month Lin Chih-sheng homered five times and drove in 13 runs as Brisbane out-homered the Aces 24 to 11.

Delmon Young went deep five times for Melbourne.

The Bandits also possess regular-season home run leaders T.J. Bennett and Donald Lutz.

Game one starts at 6pm local time.

Buy your tickets to the #ABLSF series at Holloway Field here! #OurGame

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