ZEBULON, NC - The offense came alive with their backs against the wall in game two, but the Frederick Keys (5-11, 34-51) were unable to complete the comeback, falling in both games against the Carolina Mudcats (8-8, 47-38) on Friday night at Five County Stadium. Christian Taugner tossed a complete game shutout in a 2-0 Mudcats' victory in game one, but Frederick's offense did not go down without a fight in game two. Trailing 6-0 in the seventh, the Keys plated five runs and put the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second but were held off in a 6-5 loss. The offense was held scoreless for 13 straight innings before the five-run outburst. Trevor Craport knocked across a pair of runs in the inning while Patrick Dorrian went 3-for-3 in game one.
Down 6-0 in game two of the twinbill, shortstop Trevor Morrison dropped an infield pop-up to allow the first batter to reach. Jean Carrillo then worked a walk and Kirvin Moesquit singled through the left side of the infield to load the bases. Robbie Thorburn punched a single to left that scored the Keys' first run and Craport then lined a pitch to left-center to bring in a pair and cut the lead in half 6-3.
Anthony Bender came on in relief after that. He struck out the first batter he faced but Ryan Ripken ripped a single to score Thorburn, and Craport made it to third base to put runners at the corners. Dorrian then struck out but Bender hit Sean Miller to load the bases and threw a wild pitch to Yeltsin Gudino which allowed a run to cross making it 6-5 Mudcats. With the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second, Gudino fouled off several pitches before striking out to end the game.
Game two started with the Mudcats taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning and Tristen Lutz adding another in the third with a solo home run.
The decisive inning was the fifth. After retiring the side in the second and fourth frames, Blaine Knight saw two men climb aboard with Ryan Aguilar coming to the plate. After falling behind in the count 3-1, Knight threw a high fastball that Aguilar blasted over the right field wall to give Mudcats a commanding 6-0 lead.
Knight (0-6) was pulled a batter later. He allowed all six runs on five hits while walking a pair and striking out five in 4.1 innings. It is Knight's sixth straight loss.
Diogenes Almengo came on in relief and struck out a batter with the bases loaded to end the inning. He would load the bases up in the bottom of the sixth after recording the first two outs, but he struck out Mario Feliciano to end the threat.
Meanwhile, Matt Smith threw zeros across the board against the Keys. Smith (3-7) gave up just four hits and struck out four in five scoreless innings. Bender (S,1) picked up the save. All five runs were charged to Rodrigo Benoit who was pulled after an inning and change in relief.
In game one, the Mudcats scored a pair of runs in the opening frame against David Lebron . After an Aguilar double put runners at second and third, Lutz hit a groundball that brought home the first run. A batter later, Payton Henry stroked a soft single to centerfield that plated Aguilar to give the Mudcats a 2-0 lead.
That was all Taugner (4-5) would need. The lone offensive threat came in the fifth inning when Dorrian doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a sacrifice. Dorrian tried to tag on a fly-ball to right field, but Lutz gunned him out at the plate to keep the Keys off the scoreboard.
Lebron (2-4) was finished after the completing five innings in which he gave up the pair of runs on five hits, two walks and struck out five. Luis Perez pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
Taugner gave up five hits and walked on batter while striking out four over seven shutout frames on 108 pitches.
Lutz finished the day with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored while Aguilar had a double, a three-run home run, and scored a pair of runs. Henry also added two RBIs.
The Keys conclude their three-game series with the Mudcats on Saturday, July 6 before heading to Winston-Salem. RHP Cody Sedlock (4-0, 1.89) starts for Frederick opposite LHP Aaron Ashby (1-2, 2.25) for Carolina. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00pm. Pregame coverage is set to start at 5:45pm on frederickkeys.com and the Tune In radio app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.