Team Australia were caught with their "socks down" this afternoon when they were defeated by the Chicago Whitesox 10-3 in front of 2625 fans at Camelback Ranch, a new state of the art spring training complex shared by both the Whitesox and L.A Dodgers in Glendale, Arizona.
Today's game marks the end of a three-game exhibition series that has seen the Australians take on the Milwaukee Brewers (10-5 Brewers) and the Seattle Mariners (11-9 Aus) in preparation for the 2009 World Baseball Classic which commences for Australia on Sunday night when they take on Mexico in Round one.
Australia has faired well statistically against their Major League counterparts - scoring a total of 19 runs in 27 innings, with 33 hits and just 3 errors - a solid effort that is not too dissimilar to their big league opponents’ accumulative total of 29 runs, 40 hits, 3 errors.
Josh Fields and Brandon Allen were the first to get on the board for the host team in the bottom of the second inning. Brad Harman's dazzling ball skills robbed Josh Kroeger of a hit and turned it into a forced out at second, before Beckham popped up to retire the side, the Sox leading 2-0.
The Aussies bounced back in the top of the third when Mitch Dening - who led off with a single - came home on an RBI double by Trent Oeltjen. Oeltjen later crossed home off a Luke Hughes RBI single to tie it at 2-2.
The Whitesox added another run in the bottom of the third after Brandon Allen legged out a slow roller for an infield hit securing an RBI single, but it was in the bottom of the fourth that the thunder really came, and it wasn't from down under.
Chicago had white knuckles, let alone 'socks' in the fourth as they choked up on the bat, this time putting up five runs headlined by a leadoff homerun by Brian Anderson, and a single that drove in two by Josh Fields - his third hit of the day. The inning resulted in 5 hits, 5 runs, 0 errors and 2 left on Base - giving the Sox an 8-2 lead.
The Sox placed another two runs on the board before the end of the game, adding one in the fifrth and another in the seventh, advancing their lead to 10-2.
Justin Huber scored off an RBI single from Stefan Welch in the top of the eight, but it was not enough to ignite the aussies bats and the score was left at 10-3.
The Australians didn't hold back on their bullpen today, making 9 pitching changes in as many innings. On the mound for Team
Australian Pitching Coach Phil Dale said the revolving bullpen door was an aid in assisting to define each players position in the rotation.
"Everyone has to adhere to the same pitching counts, we have the roles clearly defined going in to
Standout hitter for the Aussies Luke Hughes, who went two-for-three with one RBI, said the team is not concerned about the loss and are ready to go to
"We've been working a lot back in
"Team goals are to keep executing no matter what the scoreboard is," Hughes said.
Team Australia will depart for Mexico City this evening and will spend 48 hours south of the boarder before competing against Mexico in Round one of the 2009 World Baseball Classic on Sunday 8 March 2009 at 7.00pm local Mexican time - (9.00pm EST) and (12 noon AEST on Monday 9 March).
Manager Jon Deeble is not concerned about the reputation of the team’s competition.
"We’ll see when the game comes. We played
When asked about Mexico's perceived home country advantage, Deeble said:
"We have been there before, we played
White Sox = 10 runs, 17 Hits, 2 errors with 12 left
Win = Link
Loss = Welch
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