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Round 3 Review
Who Did What During Round 3?
12/03/2017 11:18 PM ET
Mark Hamburger (Melbourne Aces) - Photo: SMPIMAGES.COM - Action from the 2016/2017 Australian Baseball League (ABL) Championship Series between theJet Couriers Melbourne Aces v Brisbane Bandits proudly presented by WellDog at the Melbourne Ballpark.
Mark Hamburger (Melbourne Aces) - Photo: SMPIMAGES.COM - Action from the 2016/2017 Australian Baseball League (ABL) Championship Series between theJet Couriers Melbourne Aces v Brisbane Bandits proudly presented by WellDog at the Melbourne Ballpark.  (SMP IMAGES)

With Round 3 now over, here's a recap of what went down around the league.

Melbourne wins series 3-0 over Brisbane

Aces: In a soggy, rain-soaked weekend at Melbourne Ballpark, the Aces pitching neutralized the ABL's hottest offense taking three out of a possible three. Mark Hamburger set the tone in Friday's opener by going the distance for his second career ABL shutout. He was nearly untouchable walking only one and striking out seven. Tyler Neslony made his Aces debut and went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles while Liam Bedford and Ryan Dale each picked up RBIs in the win. Saturday's pair of games were washed out, and in Sunday's rescheduled double-header, Kona Takahashi and Josh Tols each delivered sparking pitching efforts, helping propel the Aces to a sweep. The bullpen also performed well in a limited role meaning that many of the arms should be fresh in their Round 4 matchup against Canberra. After a dismal 1-3 start, the Aces are surely flying high having won six of their last 7.

 

Bandits: If Brisbane's offense was on fire heading into Melbourne, it's safe to assume the rain doused all of that momentum. Having scored 47 runs in their previous series against Perth, the Bandits were able to muster a total of 3 runs in 24 innings against the Aces. Reigning Offensive Player of the Week Mitch Nillson went just 2-for-9 while Aaron Whitefield was 1-for-9. Travis Blackley, Ryan Bollinger, Ryan Searle, and most of the pitching staff played very well and kept the Bandits in each of three games; however, they just couldn't find the offensive run support. Dating back to last season, the Bandits have lost 10 of 11 against Melbourne in the regular season.

 

Perth win series 3-0 over Sydney

Heat: Perfect bounce-back effort after the drubbing they suffered against Brisbane. In another rainy series that only featured three games, the Heat's offense set the pace putting 20 runs on the board receiving contributions throughout the lineup. Garrett Whitley, Michael Brosseau and Tim Kennelly each had a pair of hits in Friday's win while Jesse Williams and Zac Law combined to go 5-for-8 with two RBIs in Game 1 on Sunday. Kennelly was the hero in Game 2 with his three-run blast to help seal the sweep. This type of depth is what makes Perth a dark horse in the race for the Claxton Shield.

 

Blue Sox: Disappointing result for Sydney to return home and lose all three games to Perth. The pitching, though usually strong for the Blue Sox, failed to deliver the goods in Round 3. Craig Anderson couldn't escape the fourth inning after conceding five runs while Clayton Freimuth gave up four over 4.2 innings. Of the 24 innings these teams played, Sydney trailed for 20 of them. Jacob Younis played well in the double-header for the Blue Sox, going 4-for-8 in the series as a whole, and bumped up his average to .364, which is the sixth-highest in the ABL.

 

Canberra win series 3-1 over Adelaide

Cavalry: Canberra demonstrated a multitude of ways to win over the struggling Adelaide Bite in round 3. On Thursday, they pounded out 18 runs including a nine-run ninth inning. Six players had multi-hit games while eight players had at least one RBI. Then on Friday, it was a pitching classic led by Steven Kent who scattered five hits and two runs over six innings. Dan Lietz and Michael Click struck out six over the final three innings to lock down the win. Round 4 will be a real test to see where Canberra stand as they welcome the first-place Aces in the penultimate first-half series.

 

Bite: Adelaide's playoff hopes are quickly dwindling and we're not even at the half-way point of the season. Two wins in 12 games see the Bite already 4.5 out of the final playoff spot and statistically, there isn't much to assume things will turn around soon. They have allowed the second-most runs in the ABL and have been hitting .212 as a team (lowest in the ABL). Up next for Adelaide is a road trip to Perth followed by a Round 5 clash against Brisbane, who is still the best hitting team in the league. If the pitching fails to improve, the Bite will be out of playoff contention by New Year's Day.

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