ZEBULON, NC - Cody Ponce delivered seven innings and allowed two earned runs, while the Frederick Keys (3-5) could not force the tying run across in a 5-3 setback to the Carolina Mudcats (5-3) on Friday night at Five County Stadium. Lucas Erceg led the charge for Carolina at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs.
Erceg gave the Mudcats a 1-0 lead in the first, with a two-bagger which scored Luis Aviles from second. However the Keys added a pair a half frame later. Randolph Gassaway singled and Jomar Reyes doubled to put men at second and third, while the duo scored on a Yermin Mercedes single and a double play ball.
This advantage would be short-lived, as the Mudcats scored the next three off Brian Gonzalez. Adding two in the third, Isan Diaz singled home Trent Clark from second and Erceg plated Diaz on a second single. In the third, Troy Stokes Jr. tripled and scored on a Reyes throwing error at third to make 4-2.
The Keys pulled within a run in the sixth on a double and an error by Muddies second baseman Wendell Rijo, but the Keys were limited again by Ponce (2-0). After the right-hander tossed seven shutout innings in Frederick last Sunday, he allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits in seven stanzas to earn his second win. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Frederick did have chances to tie the game in the seventh and eighth, but in both instances the visitors left runners at second. The orange and black finished 1-for-10 with men in scoring position on the game.
Gonzalez (0-2) suffered the loss, giving up four runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings. He walked two and punched out four. Jon Olczak worked a clean ninth for Carolina to earn the save.
The Keys and Mudcats keep the series going on Saturday at Five County Stadium. Right-hander Cristian Alvarado (0-1, 20.25) makes the start for the Keys and will be opposed by Carolina righty Freddy Peralta (0-0, 0.00). First pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on MAX County 93.5 FM/100.5 FM. The broadcast can also be heard on frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app.
The Keys return to Nymeo Field on Thursday, April 20 when the Salem Red Sox come to town. 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.