SALEM, VA - Behind a dominant pitching performance from Trent Howard and a solo homerun from Aaron Baker, the Keys shut out the Salem Red Sox 1-0 at LewisGale Field.
Aaron Baker's homerun in the fifth inning broke a scoreless tie and would be the only run scored in the game.
LHP Trent Howard, in just his second start with the Keys, went six innings, giving up just one hit - an infield single - and struck out five against the Carolina League's best hitting team. Through two starts, Howard has now given up just three hits and two earned runs in ten innings.
After Howard went six scoreless, relief pitchers Matt Bywater and Ryan Berry combined to pitch three scoreless frames to convert the 1-0 lead into a win.
For Berry, he gets credited with his first save after pitching a perfect ninth inning.
The Keys have a chance to get their first sweep of the year tomorrow afternoon before heading home to face the Carolina Mudcats in a three game set starting on Monday.
Salem came into tonight with the league's best average of .286, but the Keys have limited them to just three total runs and ten hits so far through the first two games of the series. So far, they have yet to get a run against Keys' starting pitching, which spans twelve total innings.
Howard and Salem's starting pitcher Keith Couch were locked in a pitcher's duel, but the only one to make a mistake was Couch, and that resulted in a solo homerun from Aaron Baker, his team-leading sixth of the year.
That put the Keys up 1-0 and it would be all the offense they needed as Howard, Bywater and Berry controlled things from there.
The Keys will go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon against Salem. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM and RHP Kyle Simon (1-6, 5.05 ERA) is expected on the mound for the Keys and he'll face RHP Brandon Workman (2-1, 3.65 ERA).
Coverage starts at 3:45 PM on 1450 AM The Source and online at WTHU.org.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.