FREDERICK, MD - The Frederick Keys (24-42, 53-82) dropped a pair of close games in a double-header against the Potomac Nationals (38-30, 68-67) on Saturday night at Nymeo Field. The P-Nats earned a come-from-behind 7-5 victory in game one and took a hard fought 4-1 contest in game two. The teams combined for 22 total hits in game one while the offense was held in check most of the night in game two.
The P-Nats and Keys traded off the lead several times in the opening innings of game one. KJ Harrison picked up an RBI single in the first inning and the Keys answered with a Zach Jarrett RBI ground-out. Osvaldo Abreu opened up the second frame with a towering home run to put the P-Nats up 2-1, but the Keys came storming back in the third.
After putting runners at the corners to start the inning, the Keys flied out in consecutive at-bats but not deep enough to score the runner at third. After Tim Cate issued a walk to load the bases, Chris Clare came through in the clutch and singled home a pair of runs to put the Keys ahead 3-2.
In the fourth, the Keys rallied with two outs. Robbie Thorburn reached on a fielding error and stole second to put himself in scoring position for Cole Billingsley, who knocked him home with his third base hit of the day. Billingsley advanced to second on the throw home and scored on Sean Miller 's single to make it 5-2 Keys.
The P-Nats rallied back in the fifth against Cameron Bishop as they loaded the bases with no-outs. Bishop traded a run for a double-play ball but Harrison came through again with an RBI base hit to make it a 5-4 ballgame.
Bishop completed five innings in his final start of 2019. He allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out four.
The game got away from the Keys in the sixth. Diogenes Almengo came on in relief and gave up a double to Alex Dunlap with one-out in the inning. He then walked Omar Meregildo on a controversial ball four call and gave up a game-tying double to Gilbert Lara right after. Cole Freeman then came to the plate with two-outs in the inning and doubled home two runs to take a 7-5 lead.
Cate (7-4) came out for the bottom of the sixth but let a pair of runners reach before he was pulled. Frankie Bartow (S, 10) came in relief and retired the side in the sixth and seventh to earn the save. Cate gave up five runs (three earned) on 10 hits with three strikeouts in 5.1 innings.
Almengo (5-5) took the loss after blowing the save. He was charged with three runs on three hits, walked three and struck out three in two innings.
Game two saw the Keys take an early lead. After Miller tripled, Jarrett knocked him in with a single to get things started. Telmito Agustin answered right back in the second with a solo home run to tie the game. The game stayed tied until the fifth inning when Freeman climbed aboard after an error and stole second base to set up Aldrem Corredor, who singled him home.
Luis Perez (6-2) allowed the run to score and was charged with the loss. He lasted 4.1 innings in his third start of the season.
Luis Reyes (5-5) turned in a dominant start for the P-Nats. He retired 13 of 14 batters and struck out the side in the fourth inning. He lasted into the sixth but gave up a lead-off triple to Miller and was pulled after Jarrett lined-out to the shortstop. After Hayden Howard got the second out of the inning, Miller tried to take home on a wild pitch but was called out.
The P-Nats scored two more insurance runs in the seventh off of Tyler Joyner. Corrder laced an RBI double and then scored on Gage Canning's single.
The Keys and P-Nats play the penultimate game of the 2019 regular season on Sunday, September 1. RHP Blaine Knight (1-11, 6.29) takes the mound for Frederick against RHP Luis Reyes (4-5, 5.05) for Potomac. First pitch is slated for 6:00pm with the final firework show to follow. Pregame coverage starts at 5:45pm on the Tune In app and frederickkeys.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.