The Auckland Tuatara have fought back from a 5-1 first inning deficit to secure a superb 9-7 win and a 3-1 series victory over the four-time defending Australian Baseball League champion Brisbane Bandits on Saturday night.
The win lifts the Tuatara into second place in the North East Division and a playoff spot as things stand.
The Auckland franchise plated two runs in the top of the first to take an early lead in the night cap but starter Jimmy Boyce got rocked for five innings in the bottom of the first. But the Kiwi right-hander settled down and put up three success scoreless innings.
Elliot Johnstone was fantastic out of the bullpen as well, firing three scoreless innings as his offense started to chip away at the lead.
The Tuatara scored nine runs on 15 hits in their best offensive display in franchise history.
Josh Morgan went 3-5 with an RBI while Kent Blackstone hit his first home run of the season and was one of six Tuatara hitters to collect a pair of hits.
Shortstop Yonny Hernandez was superb with his glove while he stole three bases in a stellar showing.
“We came out and got the two runs in the top of the first and were feeling good and then all of a sudden we are down 5-3,” manager Stephen Mintz said.
“Just the way we grounded out the game – they scored those five runs and then we didn’t let them score again.
“Jimmy put up some zeroes and we kept clawing it back one run at a game.”
Bandits manager David Nilsson was quick to pay tribute to the Tuatara, who recorded arguably their best series result in their short history.
“Credit to Auckland they kept coming at us,” Nilsson said.
“You have to tip your hat to the opposition – they just battled every at bat and every pitch of every game.”
Earlier in the day the Tuatara beat the Bandits 6-4 on the back of a strong start from former major league pitcher Josh Collmenter and a three-run home run by Texas Rangers prospect Josh Morgan.
The Tuatara head back to Auckland for a home series against the division leading Sydney Blue Sox at North Harbour Stadium starting Thursday night.