WILMINGTON, DE - The Keys utilized three RBI's by Jason Esposito, a pair from Adrian Marin, and 5 1/3 innings of scoreless pitching by Branden Kline to win 5-2 at Frawley Stadium against Wilmington Friday night.
Esposito muscled his eighth home run of the season, a solo shot in the second, to stake the Keys (50-57/18-22) to an early 1-0 lead against left-hander Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan (0-1) came in to the start with 11 innings of three-hit, shutout baseball to his resume since being selected in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft. The southpaw lasted four innings, allowed two hits and the one run in the losing effort.
Kline (7-5) lasted 5 1/3 innings and gave up six hits in picking up his fourth win in his last six starts. The Frederick native punched out three batters while walking three.
Wilmington had it chances against the trio of Kline, Jesse Beal, and Lex Rutledge, however the home team stranded 12 on base and went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. With one out in the bottom of the second, Cody Stubbs and Cam Gallagher singled, but with runners on the corners, Kline got Daniel Rockett to fly out and bounced out Logan Davis to escape ahead 1-0.
In the last of the third, Kline had to work with runners to his right and left again with one out, but Bubba Starling fouled out and Evans grounded out to end the frame.
The Keys pulled ahead for good with help from Esposito, who continued his torrid stretch by socking three hits for the second straight contest. In the seventh against reliever Johnny Walter, Jerome Pena singled, but was erased on a Johnny Ruettiger fielder's choice. Ruetigger stole second with Marin at the plate, and advanced to third on error on the catcher. Marin bounced one to second with the infield in, however Ramon Torres threw out Ruettiger at the plate. With two outs, Trey Mancini and Chih-Hsien Chiang singled, and Esposito followed with a sharp ground ball through the right side for a 3-0 Keys lead.
Kline needed help in the last of the sixth, as he loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Beal entered the game with three inherited runners, and he kept them all on base by striking out Rockett and popping out Davis to centerfield.
Walter ran into trouble in the seventh, as he pegged Tucker Nathans and walked Pena with one out. After getting Ruetigger to fly out, Yender Caramo entered. Marin clocked the first pitch thrown by him into the alley in left-center for a two-run double to make it 5-0.
Beal struggled in the last of the seventh, allowing four hits outside of two outs, including an RBI double by Starling and run-scoring single by Evans. Rutledge came in with two on and two outs, walked Gallagher, but Rockett punched a liner right at Esposito at third base for the end of the inning with the Keys up 5-2. Rutledge would work the eighth and ninth innings without allowing a hit for his second save of the campaign.
Frederick, having won two in a row, play the middle game tomorrow against Wilmington at 7:05 p.m. RHP Sebastian Vader (1-3, 8.50) tosses for the Keys against LHP Sean Manaea (3-7, 3.94).