FREDERICK, MD-With a doubleheader sweep on Monday, the Wilmington Blue Rocks (50-50, 19-11) completed the three-game sweep of the Frederick Keys (45-56, 10-22). The Blue Rocks shut out the Keys 8-0 in game one before holding on to win 7-6 in game two.
The Blue Rocks struck for the first time in the second inning of game one. Emmanuel Rivera reached on an error while Meibrys Viloria and Travis Jones followed with singles to load the bases with nobody out. Vance Vizcaino then hit a sacrifice fly, but the damage was limited by Zac Lowther, recording the final two outs on a flyout and a groundout.
In the third, Viloria collected his second hit to drive in a run. Brewer Hicklen and Gabriel Cancel singled. Hicklen then moved to third on a double play and scored on the Viloria single. The Blue Rocks added a run in the fifth on a Rivera single to make it 3-0.
Five more came home in the top of the seventh against Keys pitcher Matt Trowbridge . Blake Perkins walked and advanced to third on a hit from Hicklen and a throwing error from Trowbridge. Both men came home on a three-run home run from Gabriel Cancel. Rivera then walked and scored on a Viloria two-run shot to push the Wilmington lead to 8-0 and end the scoring.
Nolan Watson (4-1) earned the win for the Blue Rocks. He tossed the second straight complete game for Wilmington, and did not allow a hit until Cole Billingsley collected a two-out single in the sixth inning. He allowed just one other hit and surrendered one walk by striking out four. Lowther (3-2) took the loss. He produced a quality start, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits while walking three and striking out three.
In game two, the Blue Rocks once again struck in the second inning. Jones was hit by a pitch and stole second base. He moved up to third on a Rudy Martin single. Esposito brought in his first of three runs with a single. Martin and Esposito then completed a double steal to put runners at second and third. Martin would score on an Angelo Castellano single, while Esposito and Castellano scored on a D.J. Burt base hit to make it 4-0.
The Keys would respond in the bottom of the third with four runs of their own. T.J. Nichting and Daniel Fajardo each walked to begin the frame. A Jake Ring single loaded the bases with nobody out, and Chris Clare singled in Nichting to get the Keys on the board. With the bases still loaded, Billingsley walked to score Fajardo. After a double play, the Keys collected two-out singles from Randolph Gassaway and Preston Palmeiro to tie the game at four.
The scored remained 4-4 until the sixth. Viloria singled to begin the frame, and Hicklen followed two batters later with a single. The two moved to third and second respectively on a fly out to center field. They would then score on a bouncing infield single from Esposito.
Frederick would respond in the bottom of the inning on a Fajardo home run. It was his third home run of the year, and made it 6-5 Blue Rocks. In the seventh, Burt walked and scored on a stolen base and a throwing error from Elvis Araujo that rolled up the right field line.
The orange and black threatened in the bottom of the seventh, putting the tying run at second and the winning run at first. Wilson Garcia singled, and two batters later, Palmeiro singled to put runners at first and second. Pinch-hitter Alejandro Juvier walked to load the bases. Nichting then hit a sacrifice fly to make it 7-6, but a Fajardo groundout ended the game.
Anthony Bender (6-2) picked up the win for Wilmington. He allowed a run on four hits over two innings. Steven Klimek (2-2) took the loss for Frederick. He allowed the two runs in the sixth inning, and overall allowed three hits over three innings while striking out four. Julio Pinto picked up his seventh save after a rocky ninth inning. He allowed a run, but stranded the tying and winning runs on base.
The Keys head down to Winston-Salem to begin a series with the Dash on Tuesday. Right-hander Cristian Alvarado (9-7, 4.03) takes the mound for the Keys. The Dash will star right-hander Luis Martinez (6-4, 4.40). First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and the game can be heard on frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.