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What we learned - Round 3
12/02/2018 7:59 PM ET

We are 30 per cent of the way through the Brut Australian Baseball League season and round three was another big weekend of action.

Divisional match-ups delivered plenty of hotly contested action between rivals.

Brisbane recorded a series win to replace Sydney atop the North-East Division and Melbourne downed Victorian rivals Geelong-Korea to join Perth in first place in the South-West.

Here's what we learned from round three of the ABL season:

 

1. Divisional rivalries are fun

The second of three-straight rounds pitting divisional rivals against each other is done, and it was fun.

A lot of fun.

Yesterday's series finale between Brisbane and Sydney was a rollercoaster ride and you could see how much it meant to both teams.

Perth and Adelaide also slogged it out at West Beach before settling for a split and the first instalment of the Victorian rivalry between Melbourne and Geelong-Korea saw the newcomers stun their neighbours before order was restored.

In a 40-game season every win is important, but in divisional contests they're just that bit more valuable.

And on the weekend the urgency showed.

 

2. Bite's Aussie starts a concern

Adelaide raced to a 2-0 series lead over high-flying Perth but failed to seal a series win.

The Bite's Aussie starters - Greg Mosel and Michael Gahan - both had short outings as Perth racked up 30 runs across the final two games to take home a split.

Mosel lasted 1 2/3 innings and Gahan - who was not helped by his defence - gave up four unearned runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Across three starts Mosel holds a 15.19 ERA and Gahan's sits at 7.56.

Adelaide is 1-5 when a local pitcher starts and 4-2 when Markus Solbach and Kurt Heyer take the ball to begin a game.

That is going to hinder the Bite's hopes of returning to the playoffs.

 

3. Gift Ngoepe is a stud

Ngoepe has settled into the ABL very nicely.

He went 6-for-17 with four homers against Brisbane at hitter friendly One Hub Stadium powered by Optus over the weekend.

Ngoepe's fourth homer of the series put the Sox on top before ultimately falling short in yesterday's finale.

His four long balls lead Sydney after three rounds and the seven runs he has driven in are equal most on the team.

Defensively he has also been a very solid acquisition, making just one error in eight appearances.

 

4. Josh Collmenter cares … a lot

With Auckland up 9-0 in the sixth, Collmenter gave up the first run of his maiden home start.

He tossed his glove in the air in frustration after allowing a weak grounder to put Canberra on the board in the Tuatara's series levelling game four win.

It was a sign of emotion that showed how much Collmenter cares.

The former big leaguer impressed on Sunday, picking up his first ABL win.

Collmenter allowed one run on five hits and two walks and finished with four strikeouts.

On the season he has allowed three runs in 14 innings of work.

 

5. The Aces bullpen is solid

Aside from Saturday night's wild shootout between at Melbourne Ballpark, the Aces' bullpen was flawless against Geelong-Korea.

They did not give up an earned run across 11 2/3 innings in games one, two and four.

Relievers Tyler Falwell and Hiromasa Saito are both up to 10 innings without allowing a run this season.

Falwell has allowed just three hits and a hit-by-pitch in six outings.

He has also struck out 13 hitters.

Saito has given up four hits, three walks and two hit by pitches to have a WHIP of 0.70.

Scott Kuzminksy was ago solid through two outings against GK and is yet to give up a run in 7 1/3 innings.

Byung-hyun Kim worked two scoreless innings in his ABL debut series.

 

6. Kwang-Min Kwon is GK's MVP

The 20-year-old Chicago Cubs prospect has been a consistent performer for Geelong-Korea across the opening three rounds.

Kwon leads GK in batting average (.308), homers (three) and RBI (nine).

He has had a hit in nine of his past 10 games and is hitting .364 in that stretch.

For a young talent he has absorbed plenty of reponsibility in Geelong-Korea's line-up.

And, at this early stage of the season, is hard to go past as GK's most valuable player.

 

7. Perth can't be kept quiet for long

The league-leading Heat offence was kept to two runs across two losses to start the series in Adelaide.

But they didn't stay quiet for long, erupting in the final two games.

Perth scored 30 runs to claim a split against the Bite.

The Heat have scored 112 runs in 12 games, 43 more than second-ranked Melbourne.

Perth's 22 homers, 23 doubles, five triples and 57 walks are all ABL highs.

The Heat return to Perth to square off with Melbourne in a battle of the South-West Division's best two teams so far.

 

8. The Cavs are poised to strike

Canberra's 12-game stretch on the road to start the season is over and after losing the first four - in Melbourne - the Cavs hold a 5-7 record.

They sit a game back from Sydney - and 2.5 games behind North-East Division leaders Brisbane - ahead of their home opener against the Bandits on Thursday night.

Canberra will play 16 of its next 20 at Narrabundah, including three-straight series against Geelong-Korea, Auckland and Sydney between round six and eight.

Sure, the Cavs would like to have a better record, but they would be content with where they sit considering they're yet to play at home.

 

What did you learn from round three Brut Australian Baseball League action?

 



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