2017/18 ABL R2 – Perth v Brisbane
24 Nov 2017 22:00 AEDT
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GAME 1: Friday, 10.00pm AEDT
Fresh off an impressive series win over Melbourne, Perth will get a chance to test its mettle against two-time defending champions Brisbane at home.
The Heat jumped out of the gates on Opening Weekend, hitting five home runs in game one and ten across the series as they took three of four against the Aces in Melbourne.
Perth’s Tampa Bay imports were super impressive, as was starting pitcher Alex Boshers, while Luke Hughes led from the front.
The young Heat’s test now is to back it up against Brisbane, which won all three at home to Canberra.
Perth’s hopes get a boost with Tim Kennelly to make his season-debut and Detroit prospect Ulrich Bojarski added to its round two roster.
Manager Andy Kyle will hand right-hander Kyle Simon his first start, most likely in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, but otherwise stick with the same formula of Boshers, Nick Veale and Tom Bailey.
Heat fans will hope their Rays’ prospects fire at home after Garrett Whitley, Zacrey Law, Jake Fraley and Mike Brosseau went a combined 26-for-64 (.406) with 20 RBI against Melbourne.
The Bandits will relish taking on a team on a high.
Brisbane showed its never say die attitude against the Cavs, coming from behind in the opening two games of the series.
Logan Wade was clutch, driving go-ahead runs in, including his 100th ABL RBI, on back-to-back nights.
Tim Atherton then sealed a win in the rain-shortened series with 12 strikeouts in his first start as a Bandit.
It is early days and it was only one series win for Perth, but this looms as a fascinating match-up.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
BANDITS – Ryan Bollinger: The big lefty gave up a an early run on an error against Canberra but settled his defence in a big way. He finished with a no-decision, but recorded nine strikeouts and allowed only four hits.
HEAT – Alex Boshers: The man he is expected to square off with was equally impressive against Melbourne. The 26-year-old right-hander punched out nine in six innings, allowing one run on five hits.
Heat 3-1. Perth are on a high and with a couple of big ins and the home crowd behind them will want to make a statement against the league’s best. Both teams have solid pitching and showed solid offence in the opening round. The Heat’s Tampa contingent could be the series-breaker if they can reproduce the form they showed in Melbourne. They will need to get on top of the Bandits’ starters early, because once they settle they are hard to get anything off.