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Tuatara walked off in another painful loss

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Melbourne Aces have walked off the Auckland Tuatara 5-4 in Sunday’s series finale in another heart-breaking loss for the Auckland club.

Former major league pitcher Josh Collmenter gave the Tuatara a great start, working through five innings while giving up one run on four hits while striking out four.

The Tuatara got some offense from Andrew Marck (2-4 with 2RBIs) and catcher Jonny Homza (2-4), who hit his first home run of the season. Jared Walker and Kent Blackstone also picked up a couple of hits for the visitors.

They carried a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning but as the rain got heavier, closer Hever Bueno struggled to find the zone. He loaded the bases and the Aces plated first the tying run and then the winning run.

It sees the Tuatara swept 0-4 in the series - they suffered a similar loss Friday night as well.

Manager Stephen Mintz was frustrated with his side’s inability to come up with key plays at the business end of ballgames.

"As a whole - the effort we are putting is good but we have just got to find a way to close out baseball games," Mintz said.

"We put base runners on, we make errors with pitches and then we can’t get anything going with the bats late in the game.

"This is our fourth or fifth one run loss."

There were some positives to come out of the series although it is hard to focus on them when the wins didn’t come. Starters Jared Koenig, Jimmy Boyce and Josh Collmenter gave the Tuatara a decent platform to work from early in games but things went astray later on.

Andrew Marck continued to hit the ball well and has cemented his spot in the line-up.

"We got good starts," Mintz said. "They gave us a platform but we weren’t able to take advantage of them. Elliot Johnstone had a good outing but the bullpen was terrible - there is no other way I can say it.

"Pinky [Marck] is doing a great job - he’s carrying us at the moment - but we need to help him out a bit."

The Auckland franchise returns home to face the Canberra Cavalry in a four-game series at North Harbour Stadium starting Thursday night.

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