FREDERICK, MD -The Frederick Keys committed a season-high four errors, while Branden Kline turned in the shortest outing of his career, as the Lynchburg Hillcats dropped the Frederick Keys 11-1 on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was tied for the Keys second-worst loss of the season, and equaled the club's largest margin of defeat in the second-half.
Lynchburg sent 12 men to bat in the first inning, as Kline (6-5) failed to get out of the first inning. Daniel Carroll got hit-by-a-pitch to open the game. The Hillcats leadoff man then stole second while a walk to Eric Garcia put a pair on base. Jose Martinez stepped in next, and proceeded to ground a ball to shortstop Adrian Marin. Looking to be a sure double-play ball, Marin muffed the exchange to load the bases for Justin Bloxom. The reigning Carolina League Player of the Week, Bloxom doubled home a pair to make it 2-0.
The Hillcats would quickly add two more thanks to the second defensive mistake of the inning. On a soft single by Will Skinner, Chih-Hsien Chang misplayed the bounce, allowing Martinez and Bloxom to come around. In total, Frederick made three errors in the first inning, equaling the club's previous season-high. Kevin Ahrens (RBI double) and Blake Brown (groundout) completed the scoring for the Hillcats as 12 men came to bat.
Kline would be removed following the third error of the inning. Completing only two-thirds of an inning, it easily ranked as the shortest start of his career. Half of the six runs allowed by the Frederick native were unearned, while he scattered four hits, walked one and struck out one.
The Hillcats extended their lead by a run in the third on a solo homer by Tyler Tewell, before the Keys answered with their only run in the fourth. Coming off an excellent roadtrip, Jason Esposito smoked his sixth home run to centerfield. It was his third longball in his last three games.
That was all the Keys would manage off Hillcats starter Blair Walters. Making his second start, the southpaw allowed only one run on three hits, while he walked two and struck out seven.
In the seventh, Lynchburg applied the dagger, as the visitors batted around for the second time. Facing Jon Keller, Tewell walked and Levi Hyams followed suit with two outs. With the inning still alive for Carroll, the Hillcats leadoff man singled home Tewell before a base knocks by Eric Garcia and Martinez capped off the four-run inning. On the single by Martinez, Brenden Webb misfired to third, allowing Garcia to come home.
Cody Fassold and Alex Wilson tossed two scoreless innings to wrap up the Hillcats 11-1 win.
The Keys play the second of three games against Lynchburg on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. Frederick faces Braves No. 1 pitching prospect Lucas Sims (6-9, 4.60). The broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source. For ticket information, fans can call 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com.