Craig Anderson and Rommie Lewis combined on a five-hitter Thursday night as the Frederick Keys edged the Wilmington Blue Rocks, 2-1, to force a deciding game in their Carolina League playoff series.
Anderson (1-0) allowed one run on five hits over seven innings with four strikeouts and two walks. He improved to 3-0 against Wilmington this season and has won his last six decisions.
The 25-year-old left-hander surrendered the Blue Rocks' only run in the first after issuing a leadoff walk to Jeffrey Corsaletti, who scored on John Otness' sacrifice fly.
"Walks are never good and walking the first guy of the game is especially not good, and it came back to hurt me," Anderson said.
The former Australian Olympian settled down after the first, scattering four hits over the next six innings, and he credited both his catcher and the variety of his pitches.
"We were so familiar with these guys (Wilmington) that he (catcher Brian Brock) told me to stick with him, follow his game plan and we should be all right," he said. "We played them so much and knew their hitters so well that we were able to throw the right pitches at the right times."
Anderson followed the game plan and was able to keep the Blue Rocks on their toes.
"I didn't rely on one pitch," he said. "I was throwing all of my pitches, and I think it kept the hitters off-balance."
Frederick, which managed just one hit, tied the game in the fourth. Paco Figueroa drew a one-out walk, stole second and moved to third on catcher Mark Wagner's throwing error. Mario Delgado followed with an RBI single to left field.
Though his team was facing elimination and managed just one hit, Anderson didn't feel any additional pressure.
"I felt pretty loose and so did the team," he said. "We had the attitude that we had nothing to lose, and it definitely helped."
Anderson said team may have been a little tense on Wednesday, but the dugout was very upbeat and relaxed on Thursday.
Anderson retired the final seven batters he faced and Lewis pitched a perfect eighth and ninth, fanning three, to earn his first playoff save.
Frederick went ahead for good in the sixth without a hit. Pete Maestrales drew a leadoff walk and moved up on Figueroa's sacrifice. Delgado reached and Maestrales scored on second baseman Ignacio Suarez's error.
Wilmington starter Michael Bowden (0-1) was the hard-luck loser after allowing two runs -- one earned -- on just one hit over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked three. Justin Masterson kept the Blue Rocks in the game with 3 2/3 innings of hitless relief, fanning two and walking one.
The teams will decide the series on Friday at 6:05 p.m. ET in Wilmington.