LYNCHBURG, VA - Branden Kline looked sharp in his first outing, while the Keys used two big innings at the plate to defeat Lynchburg 6-2 on Thursday night at Calvin Falwell Field. It marks the second straight season that the Keys have earned an opening day win, after pummeling Salem 11-1 last year.
Making his Carolina League debut, Kline (1-0) pitched five innings of one-run baseball. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. Although he allowed seven hits, the right-hander showed an ability to work around trouble. This was most notable in the third inning. After a lead-off double by Jose Peraza to start the stanza, and a single by Kyle Wren, Kline recorded three straight outs to prevent the tying and go-ahead runs from scoring.
Offensively, the Keys acted early against Hillcats starter Lucas Sims (0-1). Glynn Davis opened the game with a strikeout, but advanced to first base on a wild pitch. He moved to second on a single by Brenden Webb, while a base knock by Tucker Nathans loaded the bases. From there, Creede Simpson cracked the scoreboard via a fielder's choice, before a sacrifice fly by Wynston Sawyer made it 2-0 Frederick.
Lynchburg sliced the lead in half via an RBI single from Levi Hyams in the second. However, the Keys got the run back one frame later. After reaching on a walk, Davis stole second and scored on an opposite field double by Simpson.
In the sixth, the Keys put the game out of reach. With two outs, and a runner at first, Jason Esposito singled Michael Burgess to second, while a throwing error by the shortstop Daniel Castro put runners on the corners. In search of his first hit, Davis drove both men home with a single to right center, and later scored himself on a double by Webb to make it 6-1.
Miguel Chalas and Matt Hobgood allowed only one run on two hits over the final four innings to close out the win.
The Keys and the Hillcats play game two of the four-game set on Friday night at 6:05 p.m. Righty Parker Bridwell (0-0, --) makes his Advanced-A debut for the Keys and will be countered by right-hander Mauricio Cabrera (0-0, --) for Lynchburg. Pre-game radio coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on 1450 AM the Source and on frederickkeys.com.
Opening Day 2014 for the Frederick Keys is scheduled for Tuesday, April 8, when the Carolina Mudcats visit Harry Grove Stadium at 7:00 p.m. For ticket information, please call 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.