Auckland Tuatara third baseman Keyber Rodriguez at the plate against the Sydney Blue Sox.
The Auckland Tuatara and Sydney Blue Sox won a game each at North Harbour Stadium on Saturday.
The Blue Sox won the opener of the double header 6-1, but the Tuatara took the second game 4-2 To put them 2-1 up in the series, with the final game at 11am on Sunday.
In the first game the Blue Sox got out to an early lead, which they never looked like relinquishing, as the Tuatara bats stayed quiet.
The first runs came in the second inning, with Mitchell Austin driving in Dylan Shockley with a hit to centre field.
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The Tuatara starting pitcher Chien Yu gave up another run that inning as Jacob Younis scored from a wild pitch.
The Blue Sox tagged on three further runs before a Jason Mathews home run in the bottom of the fifth inning made the score 5-1.
Not that they needed it, but Jase Bowen extended Sydney’s advantage in the sixth with his fourth RBI of the season.
It was the second game in a row where the Tuatara were only able to get three hits, while Yu picked the loss to go 1-1 and an ERA of 5.06.
It was déjà vu all over again at the start of the second game, with Sydney’s Bowen scoring off a wild pitch from Kiwi Ben Thompson, who was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 2019.
In the top of the third Jacob Younis hit a home run to left field to make the score 2-0, but Wyatt Hoffman’s double at the bottom of that inning got Robert Emery to the home plate and soon after the scores were level, thanks to a Keyber Rodriguez sacrifice fly.
When Thompson walked Dylan Shockley to have runners on first and second in the top of the fourth, Tuatara manager Steve Mintz made a call to the bullpen for Wei-Chun Weng from Taiwan and he pitched magnificently to get the Tuatara out of trouble.
In the lower half of that inning the Tuatara picked up a couple of runs, with Jack Barrie and Emery getting the RBIs.
San Diego Padres prospect Jason Blanchard pitched a solid sixth inning for the Tuatara and stayed on the mound for the seventh, with the game ending with the Tuatara turning a double play.
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