Miller's hot bat highlights packed weekend in ABL

Miller's hot bat highlights packed weekend in ABL

Week 5 in the Australian Baseball League saw another competitive slate of games. The Canberra Cavalry and Adelaide Bite split their four-game series, while the Perth Heat and Sydney Blue Sox split four as well. The Brisbane Bandits, meanwhile, moved into sole possession of first place by taking three of four from the Melbourne Aces.

Miller continues to rake for Adelaide
Aaron Miller continued to thrive with Adelaide, capping off an impressive weekend with a four-hit outburst on Sunday that included his fifth home run of the season. In all, Miller collected eight hits in the series, raising his average to .385 -- which ranks fourth in the league. The Dodgers prospect also scored six runs in the series, pulling into a tie with Anthony Alford for the league lead.

Craig Maddox, a onetime Braves prospect now playing with Adelaide, finished the series 7-for-11, including two home runs, five RBIs and five runs scored. The Georgia native leads the ABL with a .444 batting average through the first five weeks of play. Jack Murphy made his presence felt in the middle of the Canberra batting order, going 8-for-12 with a home run, four RBIs and four runs scored. The 26-year-old catcher, who has recorded five consecutive multihit contests, has a slash line of .423/.448/.596 through 13 games this season.

Blue Jays outfield prospect Alford collected three hits and scored three runs in the series, and he remains tied for the league lead with 18 runs scored through his first 15 games played. Christian Lopes, another Blue Jays farmhand playing with the Cavalry, finished the series with four hits, three runs scored, two RBIs and two stolen bases in three games played. The 22-year-old infielder is hitting .345 in the ABL.

Robbie Perkins, a native of Canberra and a prospect in the Rockies' system, collected four hits and scored four runs in his second series with the Cavalry this season.

A's prospect Tim Atherton moved to 4-0 through four starts with Canberra, holding the Bite to just two hits over six shutout innings in a 9-0 win. Atherton's 1.23 ERA is best among all ABL starters, and the right-hander has issued just two walks while striking out 23 over 22 innings.

Rays front and center for Brisbane
Rays prospects were once again responsible for much of the Bandits' offense, led by second baseman Thomas Coyle. Coyle was 7-for-13 in the series, raising his average to .373 while also extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Johnny Field blasted three solo home runs, bringing his season total to six, and Maxx Tissenbaum remained consistent, scoring three runs and notching three hits -- including his third home run -- in three games played.

Chen-Hua Lin, a 25-year-old from Taiwan, turned in the pitching performance of the season thus far, tossing a one-hit shutout for Brisbane in the series opener on Friday. The righty faced the minimum while striking out eight in the Bandits' 9-0 win.

Twenty-year-old Twins prospect Sam Gibbons dominated in Melbourne's lone victory, holding the Bandits to two runs on five hits in his 2014-15 Aces debut. The 6-foot-4 left-hander, who is coming off a strong campaign with the Rookie-level Elizabethton Twins, struck out six while walking just one.

Another 20-year-old Australian, Aaron Sayers, exploded for three hits in Sunday's contest after starting his ABL season hitless through his first five contests with Melbourne. The Tigers prospect showed significant improvement at the dish in the Gulf Coast League in 2014 while playing second base, third base and shortstop.

Also for the Aces, Kellin Deglan continued to swing a hot stick, finishing the weekend with a pair of homers and three RBIs. The Rangers prospect is tied for the league lead in home runs and RBIs, having launched seven homers and driven in 18 in just 16 games.

Glenn proving tough out for Sydney
D-backs prospect Alex Glenn, who collected four hits and three RBIs for the Blue Sox, has now reached base safely in nine straight for Sydney. Nineteen-year-old Tigers prospect Zach Shepherd also turned in a solid weekend, tallying four hits and scoring three runs. Shepherd, a Sydney native, hit .301 while appearing in 51 games in the Gulf Coast League as a third baseman in 2014.

For Perth, Joey Wong paced the offense, going 8-for-15 with a home run and five RBIs. The Rockies prospect raised his average to .371 after five weeks of ABL action -- sixth best in the league.

Former Indians prospect Ben Shorto turned heads on Sunday, tossing six shutout innings in his first start of the season for Perth. A 19-year-old outfielder, Shorto has now made two appearances on the mound, allowing just two hits in 9 2/3 innings of work. Shorto was born in Canada but raised in Australia, and he made his professional debut this past summer in the Arizona Fall League while still part of the Cleveland organization.

Also for Perth, Jorge Marban earned his first save of the season in Friday's 6-2 victory. The 25-year-old righty was signed by the Boston Red Sox in November, and he has yielded just three hits in 12 innings of work in the ABL this season.

On tap in ABL play
Next week will see the Perth Heat playing the Aces in Melbourne and the Canberra Cavalry taking on the Bite in Adelaide. Sydney and Brisbane will return to action on Dec. 11.

Craig Durham is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.