WHEN the game is on the line, there is only one man who the Brisbane Bandits want stepping up to the plate.
Josh Roberts is that man.
Ipswich Musketeers stalwart Roberts was the star of the show for Brisbane in the first two of their Australian Baseball League season-opening three-match series against the Sydney Blue Sox in Sydney.
On Friday night, the Bandits were humbled 8-0, with former Ipswich Musketeers pitcher Chris Oxspring pitching a complete game shut-out for the Sox.
In doing so, he equalled the league record with 14 strike-outs.
"What else can you say about Ox?" Brisbane manager Kevin Jordan said of the Ipswich-born Australian Olympian and former US minor leaguer.
"I've seen him for three years and he just gets better as he gets older.
"You know every time you face him, it's going to be a battle and tonight was his night."
The only bright spot for Brisbane was two-time Bandits' most valuable player and current Ipswich Musketeers star Roberts.
The 26-year-old was the only Brisbane player with a multi-hit game.
He notched the Bandits' first hit of the season in the top of the first inning, a double making him the first Australian-born player to reach 100 hits for his ABL career.
"It's a record that actually snuck up on me," Roberts said.
"It's an honour to hold the record and I'm proud to be the first to record 100 hits.
"Tomorrow we'll bounce back because it's just one game and we'll be ready to come back with a win."
Roberts was right and once again it was he who delivered.
On Saturday, Roberts drove in the winning run with his first home run of the season as the Bandits took down the home team 3-1 in extra innings.
"Roberts is one of the top three Aussie players in the country and he's our best player and go-to guy," Jordan said.
"Not just on the field but how he approaches the game.
"He's the heart and soul of this team."
Not only did Roberts hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the 11th, he also saved Brisbane from potential damage in the eighth with a diving catch in shallow right field.
The Bandits took the series 2-1, winning the third game yesterday 5-2, with Roberts driving in one run.