BUIES CREEK, NC-Forrest Whitley racked up 10 strikeouts in just under six innings of work to guide the Buies Creek Astros (53-40/16-7) to a 6-2 victory over the Frederick Keys (38-52/7-14) on Saturday night at Jim Perry Stadium. The Keys have now lost seven consecutive road series.
Pitching 5.2 innings, Whitley (2-0) established a new career-high for strikeouts while scattering only three hits. He walked one batter and punched out two or more in four separate innings. Houston's first round pick in 2016 has now struck out 91 in 62 frames this year.
Keys starter Reid Love did not allow a run in his first three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth. Jake Rogers opened the inning with a single and scored on a triple by Taylor Jones. One batter later, Stephen Wrenn added an RBI base knock to make it 2-0. Later in the inning, Wrenn scored on a throwing error by Keys shortstop Ryan Mountcastle .
Love (1-4) exited after the fifth, allowing one more run on a Jones base knock. Tagged with the loss, the Keys southpaw surrendered four runs (three earned) on nine hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Jones capped off a strong day at the plate with his third RBI in the seventh which scored Rogers from second. He was one of three Astros players that finished with a three-hit game.
Frederick scored single markers in the eighth and ninth innings. Following a two-bagger by Ademar Rifaela in the eighth, Randolph Gassaway stroked an RBI single. Yermin Mercedes then added a solo home run in the ninth.
The Keys begin a three-game series with the Down East Wood Ducks on Sunday afternoon. Left-hander Brian Gonzalez (2-7, 5.74) starts for Frederick and will be opposed by Wood Ducks left-hander Jeff Springs (1-7, 4.31). First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m from Grainger Stadium and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App.
Frederick returns home on July 20th for a four-game series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Homestand highlights include two nights of fireworks along with "Home Improvement" Night on the 22nd with an appearance from Richard Karn, who played Al Borland on the hit T.V. show. For tickets, fans can 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.