WILMINGTON, DE-The Frederick Keys scored four times in the third inning to defeat the Wilmington Blue Rocks 5-3 on Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium. Pitching on an MLB rehab assignment, Orioles closer Zach Britton tossed a scoreless fifth inning and struck out the side.
The Keys (22-29) seized control in the third inning. Sending all nine men to bat, Frederick quickly loaded the bases after a pair of walks and a bunt single by Ryan McKenna . From there, the next four batters added RBIs off Arnaldo Hernandez. Wilson Garcia started things with a sac-fly, Jomar Reyes added an RBI double, Collin Woody contributed an infield single and T.J. Nichting followed with a fielder's choice.
Wilmington (21-31) managed a run in the fourth on an RBI single by Meibrys Viloria which scored Khalil Lee from third, but the orange and black regained their lead in the seventh on a solo home run by McKenna. Ending 3-for-5 on the game, the Carolina League's leading hitter finished a double short of the cycle.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Blue Crew pushed ahead a pair of runs thanks to two Keys errors and a pair of hit-by-pitches. With men at the corners, D.J. Burt singled home Angelo Castellano while an error by McKenna in center put men at second and third. From there, the next two hitters got plunked to make it a 5-3 contest.
The Blue Rocks would get no closer in their last trips to bat though, as Zach Muckenhirn surrendered only one hit in two frames to pick up his second save in as many outings.
Britton (1-0) earned the win for the Keys pitching a clean fifth inning. He threw 17 pitches (11 strikes) while giving up an infield single. Hernandez (5-3) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits in five innings. The right-hander walked two and struck out three.
In his Carolina League debut, Zac Lowther allowed one run on two hits in four innings. The southpaw walked three and struck out two.
Frederick and Wilmington complete their three-game series on Thursday night. Right-hander Michael Baumann (1-0, 1.42) starts for the Keys and will be opposed by Blue Rocks left-hander Daniel Tillo (1-1, 3.38). First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m and broadcast can be heard on frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn app.
The Keys return to Nymeo Field on Friday, June 1 when the Lynchburg Hillcats come to town for a three-game series. Highlights include Keyote's Birthday w/LEGO Picnic on Friday to go with a Trey Mancini Shirsey giveaway sponsored by Nymeo, Scout Night on Saturday presented by Wegman's, the second meet the team of the year on Sunday and two fireworks shows. For tickets fans can call the Keys at 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.