A sloppy seventh inning cost the Canberra Cavalry a chance to shoot to a joint lead atop the Australian Basbeall League standings on Thursday night.
The Cavalry pegged back a two-run deficit after five innings against Brisbane at Narrabundah Ballpark before conceding three runs in the seventh to fall 5-2 to the Bandits.
Cavalry ace Brian Grening battled through six innings after giving up a leadoff homer to Andrew Campbell in the first, but still did well to restrict the visitors to just two runs on nine hits, striking out four.
However, things fell apart for Canberra during the top of the seventh with relief pitcher Eric Massingham on the mound.
Leading off, Campbell reached base after an error from Cavalry second baseman Ryan Stovall.
After striking out Brad Dutton, Massingham intentionally walked Cody Clark to load the bases following a Josh Roberts double.
But he was unable to find the double play ball as CJ Beatty singled for two RBIs.
Another single by David Sutherland brought home Clark to extend the Bandits’ lead to 5-2, ending the night for Massingham, who was charged with the loss.
Kyle Perkins cleaned up the damage to get the hosts out of further trouble with a double play ball.
Earlier, Kohei Shibata got the Cavalry back in the contest with his sac-fly in the fifth bringing home Ben Warner to cut Brisbane’s lead to 2-1.
And when Marcus Knecht singled in the sixth to bring home Jack Murphy and tie the game, Canberra looked poised to secure another come-from-behind win.
The second-placed Cavalry (13-9) would have joined Perth (14-8) on top of the ABL standings with victory, but still hold a two-game lead over Brisbane and Sydney (both 11-11).
Game two of the four-game series starts at 7pm on Friday night.