Backed by a stellar start from LHP Nate Nery, the Frederick Keys defeated the Lynchburg Hillcats, 6-1, on Saturday night. Nery allowed just four hits on the night as he improved to 4-5 on the year. With the win, the Keys improved to 33-23 and increased their lead in the Northern Division to eight games. Lynchburg dropped to 24-32 following the defeat.
The Keys immediately gave Nery run support following his 1-2-3 first. CF Kyle Hudson led off with a walk. While on first, RHP Mark Serrano threw a pickoff attempt into the Frederick dugout and Hudson advanced to second on the error. The next batter up, LF Xavier Avery, bunted for a single. Following a Greg Miclat walk, 1B Joe Mahoney came to the plate. While Mahoney stood in the batter's box, Serrano balked to bring home a run. Serrano struck out Mahoney and RF Jacob Julius but could not retire 2B Miguel Abreu. Abreu singled to bring home Avery and Frederick led by two after one inning.
The two-run advantage was all Nery needed.
Nery retired the first 11 Hillcats he faced. 3B Alex Buchholz was the first Lynchburg batter to reach. Buchholz doubled to left field but was stranded at second as Nery got 1B Carlos Mendez to groundout to short to end the inning.
DH Billy Rowell hit a solo homerun to rightfield to leadoff the bottom of the fourth. Rowell's fourth homer of the season increased Frederick's advantage to three.
Following another scoreless inning by Nery in the top of the fifth, the Keys plated two more runs. With one out, Jacob Julius doubled home Greg Miclat and Joe Mahoney to give the Frederick a commanding five-run lead. Julius has six RBI so far in the series against Lynchburg.
Nery did not allow a run in the seventh or eighth and came out for the ninth as he tried to pickup the first complete game shutout since August 13, 2007. RF Josh Fellhauer doubled to centerfield to leadoff the inning and following that pitch Nery was relieved by RHP John Mariotti.
On the night, Nery allowed one run on four hits over eight innings. He struck out five and walked zero in the Keys win.
Frederick will try to complete their first series sweep of season Sunday afternoon against Lynchburg. The Keys will also look to win their fifth straight game for the first time since August of 2006.
Sunday is Sunday Funday at Harry Grove Stadium. Play catch in the outfield and get autographs from select Keys players in the Fun Zone prior to the game. Sunday is also Thomas Day at Harry Grove Stadium. Celebrate 65 years of Thomas, the #1 blue Engine. Wear your Thomas gear, get free giveaways and samples of Carvel ice cream cake. First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m. in Frederick.
For tickets call 1-877-8-GO-KEYS or purchase online at www.frederickkeys.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.