WILMINGTON, DE-The Frederick Keys split a doubleheader against the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Saturday night at Frawley Stadium. Taking game one 2-1 in eight innings, the Keys claimed their fifth extra-inning win of the year before Nolan Watson tossed six innings of one-run baseball to lead the Blue Rocks to a 4-2 win in game two.
In game one, D.J. Burt tied the game in the sixth with an RBI single off Zac Lowther , while neither side scored in the seventh to force extra innings. Opening the eighth with Chris Clare at second base, the Keys (53-59, 18-25) received a one-out RBI double from Wilson Garcia off Anthony Bender put Frederick on top for good. The two-bagger ended an 0-for-17 stretch for Garcia.
After tossing a scoreless seventh, Tyler Erwin slammed the door in the bottom of the eighth, retiring Angelo Castellano, Blake Perkins and D.J. Burt in order to strand Oliver Nunez at third.
Lowther was outstanding despite receiving a no-decision. Tossing six innings, the southpaw allowed only one run on three hits to go with one walk and nine strikeouts. The nine punch outs were the most Lowther had posted in any of his starts with the Keys.
Frederick scored its first run in the fourth against Blue Rocks starter Daniel Tillo. T.J. Nichting opened the inning with a base knock and advanced to third on a single to right by Randolph Gassaway . From there, Preston Palmeiro ripped a base hit past the dive of first baseman Travis Jones to make it 1-0.
Erwin (3-3) earned the win for the Keys tossing two scoreless frames. He allowed one hit and struck out two. Bender (6-3) suffered the loss, allowing one unearned run on one hit in two innings.
In game two, Wilmington (57-54, 26-15) scored once in the second on a safety squeeze, before plating three more runs in the third off Cristian Alvarado. Vance Vizcaino walked on four pitches to kick off the inning. Back-to-back singles by Castellano and Perkins followed to put the Blue Rocks up 2-0, while Burt added a sac-fly and Gabriel Cancel notched a soft single to left to complete the scoring.
Frederick did not get on the board until the sixth against Nolan Watson. Entering the inning having retired 13 in-a-row, Watson (6-1) allowed a leadoff single to Daniel Fajardo who eventually scored after a wild pitch, a passed ball and a single by Clare. The Keys added one more run in the seventh against Julio Pinto on a Jake Ring sac-fly but could get no closer.
Earning his fifth straight win, Watson allowed one unearned run on three hits in six innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. Alvarado (10-8) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on nine hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out five. Pinto allowed one run in the seventh to tally his eighth save.
The Keys and Blue Rocks conclude their three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Frawley Stadium. Left-hander Alex Wells (4-7, 3.93) starts for Frederick and will be opposed by Wilmington right-hander Andres Sotillet (1-2, 4.66). First pitch is at 1:35 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app.
The Keys return to Nymeo Field on Friday, August 10 when the Buies Creek Astros come to town. Homestand highlights include Cancer Awareness Night with a jersey auction, Salute to the Orioles Night, Scout Night presented by Wegman's and the final Meet the Team event of the year. For tickets, fans can call the Keys at 301-815-9900 or visit frederickkeys.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.