ABLCS: Brisbane v Perth
31 Jan 2019 19:00 AEST
Australian baseball’s modern-day dynasties Brisbane and Perth will go head-to-head in the 2019 ABL Championship Series presented by Boral starting tonight.
The Bandits are after an unprecedented fourth Claxton Shield in as many years and the Heat a fifth title in the Brut Australian Baseball League’s nine-year history.
Brisbane and Perth’s run to the ABLCS was not without obstacles, despite both topping their divisions by the end of the season.
The Bandits battled injury woes and held the fourth-best record in the ABL at the midway point of the season before a red-hot 10-3 finish lifted them to the North-East Division title.
The Heat claimed the South-West Division crown on the second-to-last day of the regular season after a shock loss to Geelong-Korea on January 13 left them requiring results to go their way in round 10.
Perth then recovered from a game one loss in its ABLSF against Sydney.
This weekend’s best-of-three series puts the ABL’s two best offences against each other.
The Heat and Brisbane finished the regular season one and two for runs scored and homers.
Perth averaged 7.2 runs per game, compared to 6.1 by the Bandits.
Brisbane led the league with 68 homers, followed by the Heat with 51.
The Bandits will send left-hander Ryan Bollinger to the mound in game one in a bid to stop Perth’s offence.
Bollinger produced his best start of the season to lift Brisbane to a game one ABLSF victory over Canberra last Friday.
The San Diego Padres prospect allowed one run in eight innings with five strikeouts.
Bollinger will come up against Heat lefty John Anderson.
Anderson went 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA during six regular-season outings and gave up five runs against Sydney last weekend.
Perth has home advantage in game one ahead of the series shifting to Brisbane for game two and three (if required).