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Adelaide @ Melbourne preview
01/08/2019 6:37 PM ET

Playoff positions on the line and two teams with some serious history make for a fascinating round nine Brut Australian Baseball League clash between Melbourne and Adelaide.

In one of the most memorable playoff races in recent history, the Aces hold a one-game advantage over the Bite with eight games to play. Couple that with a series split in round two, and a series win for either team could mean a giant step towards playoff baseball.

Adelaide (17-15) clubbed 21 runs on Sunday afternoon as they brushed aside Geelong-Korea to record their third series victory of the 2018/19 season. 

The Bite welcome Mikey Reynolds back with open arms in round nine, after their star shortstop broke his wrist against Auckland on December 22. Reynolds was putting together an MVP-calibre season before he went down, slashing .395/.465/.581 in 23 games. Melbourne's defence will need to be on their toes, as Reynolds has struck out a mere seven times in 86 at-bats.

Manager Chris Adamson has tinkered with his rotation again, shifting regular game one starter Markus Solbach to game two. In his only other game two start of the season, Solbach threw a seven-inning complete game and struck out 10 en-route to his fourth win of the season. 

Melbourne (18-16) will rue missed opportunites from their round eight split against Perth. After claiming hard-fought wins in games one and two, the Aces left 21 runners on base in games two and three as the Heat stormed home to split the series.

In his first season in Melbourne, Luke Hughes has been a major factor in the team's success. The former MLBer is hitting .457 in his past 10 games, and is one of only three men to record double-digit home runs through eight weeks.

After missing the last three weeks of action, Mike Walker returns for Melbourne's playoff push. An ultra-consistent bat, Walker is hitting .292 in his 16 games this season, and will provide the Aces with another experienced offensive option.

 

Ones to watch

Game one's pitching match-up should be special as Adelaide's Kurt Heyer goes toe-to-toe with Melbourne's Scott Shuman.

Shuman has been lights out in his four outings this season, striking out 20 in 12 1/3 scoreless innings.

27-year-old Heyer only allowed one earned run in six innings against the Aces earlier this year, and will be aiming for a repeat performance in a high-stakes contest.

 

DYK?

Adelaide and Melbourne played a 15-inning epic which lasted nearly five and a half hours on November 7, 2015. Originally scheduled as a seven-inning ballgame, a total of 473 pitches were thrown as the Aces edged the Bite 5-4. 

 

Probable starters

G1: Kurt Heyer (4-3, 2.30 ERA) at Scott Shuman (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

G2: Markus Solbach (5-2, 0.64) at Luke Westphal (1-3, 3.73)

G3: Michael Gahan (2-3, 4.68) at Dushan Ruzic (4-1, 2.48)

G4: TBA at Jack Enciondo (2-4, 5.65)

 

Series schedule

G1: Friday, 7pm AEDT at Melbourne Ballpark, Altona VIC

G2: Saturday, 5pm AEDT at Melbourne Ballpark, Altona VIC

G3: Saturday, 7.30pm AEDT at Melbourne Ballpark, Altona VIC

G4: Sunday, 2pm AEDT at Melbourne Ballpark, Altona VIC

 

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.