WILMINGTON, DE -The Frederick Keys (50-58/19-20) were held quiet with runners in scoring position, while a late-game single by Nick Heath gave the Wilmington Blue Rocks (58-52/19-21) a 3-2 victory on Thursday night at Frawley Stadium. With the setback, the Keys saw a four-game win streak against Wilmington come to an end.
In the seventh, Jecksson Flores walked to open the inning. A sacrifice bunt by D.J. Burt advanced Flores into scoring position to send up Heath. Mitch Horacek jumped ahead of Heath 1-2, but the Blue Rocks two-hole batter singled softly up the middle to put Wilmington ahead for good.
The Keys had a variety of opportunities for more runs early in the game, but went only 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.
Once Wilmington starter Colin Rodgers exited the game, the Blue Rocks bullpen combination of Walker Sheller and Grant Gavin proved stout. The duo combined on 5.1 innings of scoreless baseball and allowed only two hits. Blue Rocks pitching combined to strike out 12.
The Keys got on the board in the second against Rodgers. Yermin Mercedes opened the frame with a strike out, but advanced to second on a wild pitch and a throwing error by catcher Nate Esposito. Chris Clare then walked while a balk advanced both baserunners 90 feet. That sent up Armando Araiza who clubbed a two-run single down the third baseline.
In the home second, the Blue Rocks got one run back. Wander Franco singled off Cody Sedlock and advanced to second after the ball was fumbled by Randolph Gassaway in left. One batter later, Jonathan McCray added an RBI base knock.
Sedlock came back on for the fifth and retired the first batter, but gave up a two-bagger to Flores and an RBI base knock to Burt. Although that ended Sedlock's night, Horacek (4-3) induced a lineout double play to keep the damage at just one run.
Sheller (4-1) earned the win tossing 3.1 scoreless innings of two-hit baseball. Horacek (4-3) suffered the loss, giving up one run on three hits in three frames. Gavin struck out four in two scoreless innings for his second save.
The Keys and Blue Rocks continue their series on Friday night. Left-hander Keegan Akin (7-8, 4.31) goes for the orange and black and will be opposed by Rocks right-hander Scott Blewett (5-8, 4.05). First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App.
The Keys return home on Tuesday, August 8 when the Winston-Salem Dash come to town. Homestand highlights include Cancer Awareness Night with a special jersey auction, Salute to the Orioles Night with a Jonathan Schoop Gnome giveaway and the final Meet the Team event of the year. 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.