FREDERICK, MD -The Frederick Keys rallied back from a three-run deficit, but a five-run Carolina fourth and a big night by Logan Vick helped the Mudcats secure a 6-4 win on Thursday night at Harry Grove Stadium. With the win, the Muddies claimed the season series. Although the orange and black had chances to tie the game in the seventh and eighth innings, the Keys finished just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Frederick grabbed a quick 2-0 lead off of Dylan Baker in the bottom of the first. Making only his fourth second-half start after missing 3.5 months with a broken ankle, Baker allowed singles to Jerome Pena and Adrian Marin to open the inning, before Pena scored on a double by Trey Mancini. One batter later, Chih-Hsien Chiang brought home Marin on a groundout to the left side.
Branden Kline faced only one over the minimum through his first three stanzas, but the Mudcats would bat around in the fourth. Yandy Diaz doubled to begin the inning and came home two batters later on a one-out, two-run homer by Jeremy Lucas. From there, Kline (7-6) retired Joe Sever, but Todd Hankins singled and LeVon Washington walked to keep the inning alive.
Looking to minimize the damage, Kline would be hurt by his defense. Facing Luigi Rodriguez, the Mudcats eight-hole batter singled to left, but a misplay in the outfield by Lucas Herbst and a second error by Pena on a mishandled throw to second allowed two runs to score. Logan Vick completed the scoring with an RBI double to center to make it 5-2 Mudcats.
Although the visitors sent nine men to bat in the inning, Kline threw only 15 pitches, as six of the nine Carolina batters swung at the first pitch. The former Governor Thomas Johnson standout completed six innings, allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits. He walked one and struck out six, but was tagged with the loss.
Meanwhile, Baker (2-2) settled in nicely, giving up just two hits over his final five innings. Posting his second quality start against the Keys this year, he gave up two runs on five hits to go along with two walks and three strikeouts.
In the seventh the Keys pulled within a run. Brenden Webb opened the inning with a homer to right, while walks to Wynston Sawyer and Herbst put a pair on base. Pena then drove a ball down the rightfield line which was mishandled by Rodriguez to make it a one-run game. However, Josh Martin struck out Marin and got Mancini to bounce out to end the threat.
The Keys failed to score in the eighth after Chiang got caught in a rundown between third and home plate, but Frederick would have one final chance in the ninth. Sawyer singled to open the frame, before a strikeout was followed by a second base knock by Pena. Tangling with Grant Sides, Mancini hit a frozen rope to left. Looking to be extra-bases, Vick made a phenomenal leaping catch to end the game. In additional to the highlight-reel catch, Vick closed the day 2-for-4 at the plate and the series 6-for-11 with five extra-base hits.
The Keys begin a three-game series with the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Friday night. In the opener, Frederick will square-off against Carolina League ERA leader Glenn Sparkman (6-2, 1.46). First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m. and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source. For tickets, fans can call 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com.