FREDERICK, MD - Rob Henry went 2-for-4 with a career high 5 RBI while leading the Mudcats to an 8-1 victory in game one, but the Keys outlasted Carolina 4-3 in game two despite home runs from Eddie Silva and Tristen Lutz as the two teams split a doubleheader at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick on Tuesday night.
Matt Smith started the first game for the Mudcats (36-28) and earned the win after pitching through five complete frames with just one unearned run allowed on five hits. Smith (W, 2-5, 3.66) reached 76 pitches (51 strikes) and struck out five while earning the game one victory for Carolina.
Cameron Bishop started and took the game one loss for the Keys (29-34) after allowing three Carolina runs in the third, with all three scoring with two outs in the inning. The first Carolina run scored on a bases loaded walk from Payton Henry and the next two came on Rob Henry's first of two run scoring hits in the game.
The Mudcats led 3-0 in the third before the Keys came back with an unearned run off Smith to get within two of the lead. Carolina was up 3-1 through the sixth before eventually breaking the game open with five runs and five hits in the seventh while taking an 8-1 lead.
Devin Hairston started the five run seventh with a single to left off All-Star reliever Steven Klimek. Wes Rogers followed a strikeout, but then Ryan Aguilar connected on a RBI double to right, Lutz singled to left-center and Mario Feliciano came through with a RBI single to center as well. Klimek then hit Payton Henry with a pitch to load the bases for Rob Henry who went on to clear the bags with a three-run double to right-center. Klimek faced 12 over his two innings and allowed five runs on five hits.
Henry went 2-for-4 with a three-run double and a two-run single while setting a new single game career high with 5 RBI in the game one victory. Lutz went 3-for-4 with two runs, two walks a double for the Mudcats in game one. Aguilar was 1-for-3 with two runs and a RBI, Feliciano was 1-for-2 with two runs and a RBI and Hairston went 1-for-2 with a run scored and a walk for Carolina.
Relievers Christian Taugner and Michael Petersen worked the final two innings for Carolina in game one. Taugner struck out one, allowed one hit while pitching through a scoreless sixth. Petersen followed with two strikeouts and a walk in the seventh to finish the game.
Game two of Tuesday's twin bill ended up with the Keys holding off the Mudcats while snapping an eight-game losing streak with a 4-3, series tying win.
Noah Zavolas started for Carolina and worked through two scoreless frames before allowing a run in the third on a two-out RBI single to Willy Yahn. The Yahn RBI hit gave the Keys, and starter Luis Perez, the early 1-0 lead in game two of Tuesday's doubleheader.
Perez pitched through four scoreless frames in his spot start for the Keys. He also walked two, struck out three and allowed just three hits in his first start of the season.
The Keys led 1-0 through the fourth, but Silva quickly changed that when he connected on his fifth home run of the season in the fifth. Silva's homer tied the game at 1-1 and it came off newly inserted pitcher Scott Burke (W, 1-1, 4.96).
The Keys quickly came back, however, with three runs on three hits against Zavolas (L, 3-3, 3.60) in the fifth while going up 4-1. The fifth began with a walk to Kirvin Moesquit, a single from Stuart Levy and a sacrifice bunt from Cole Billingsley. Yahn then singled in a run, Jomar Reyes reached on a fielder's' choice to score another and a single from J.C. Escarra brought across the third run of the inning.
Carolina was down 4-1 heading into its half of the sixth, but Lutz would bring his club within one of the lead as he hit a two-run home run off reliever Diogenes Almengo to make it 4-3. The home run was Lutz's eighth of the season and second in the game for the Mudcats.
That 4-3 lead, however, would stick as Almengo (S, 7) eventually worked through the rest of the Carolina lineup unscathed while earning his seventh save of the season. Almengo struck out three, walked three and allowed two runs and two hits while earning the save. He also left two men on in the sixth and one in the seventh while closing out the game.
Reliever Justin Topa followed Zavolas in game two of Tuesday's doubleheader and struck out two over one clean inning pitched for the Mudcats.
The game two Keys' victory leveled the series at a game apiece, making Wednesday's 7:00 p.m. game the rubber match of the three game series. The game will air live on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and online at carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.