2018/19 ABL R10 – Melbourne v Auckland
19 Jan 2019 17:00 AEST
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Melbourne will aim to continue its red-hot finish to the Brut Australian Baseball League season when it faces Auckland in their round 10 #FestivalofBaseball at Melbourne Ballpark.
The Aces clinched their spot in the 2019 Playoffs presented by Boral by sweeping Adelaide last weekend and can clinch a home semi-final series when they take on the Tuatara.
Melbourne, the away team this weekend, can clinch the South-West Division title and a home semi by winning at least as many games as Perth does in Canberra.
The Aces enter round 10 equal with Perth on 22 wins, but hold the tiebreak advantage after compiling a better record in South-West Division matchups this season.
Melbourne can also claim the top seed overall – and home advantage throughout the playoffs – if results fall the right way.
The Aces would need to win two more games than Sydney does in Adelaide, and for Brisbane to only register the same amount of wins as Melbourne in the final round.
A pair of comebacks against the Bite, combined with Geelong-Korea’s stunning comeback against the Heat, puts the Aces in a strong position.
Melbourne is 14-6 at Melbourne Ballpark this season and had gone a league-best 6-2 so far in 2019.
Strong pitching has been the catalyst for the Aces’ late-season form.
Melbourne’s 2.74 ERA through eight games in January is the best in the ABL.
Scott Shuman has made a successful transition to the starting rotation, and tossed a season-high six innings against Adelaide, while Josh Tols has not allowed a run in seven innings of relief work.
The Tuatara took game one off Sydney and will be looking to end the season on a high.
Auckland’s series at Melbourne Ballpark will cap off a six-week road trip to end their first-ever ABL season.