In a matchup of touted starting prospects, Wilmington's Daniel Lynch had just a little bit more in the chamber as he out-dueled Dean Kremer of Frederick on Wednesday.
The No. 4 Royals prospect scattered a pair of hits and did not issue a walk while fanning a career-high nine over seven frames as the Class A Advanced Blue Rocks blanked the Keys, 1-0, at Frawley Stadium.
Gameday box score
The 22-year-old was coming off a rough outing in which he yielded five runs on 10 hits and two walks while needing 72 pitches to make it through four innings. Entering Wednesday's action, Lynch was sporting a 3.95 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over eight starts with 42 strikeouts and 11 walks over 41 frames.
A first-round pick in the 2018 Draft, Lynch spent his rookie campaign split between Rookie-level Advanced Burlington and Class A Lexington, where he posted a 1.58 ERA and struck out 61 while walking eight over 51 1/3 combined innings.
Against the Keys, Lynch got O's No. 5 prospect Austin Hays -- who was making a rehab appearance with the Keys after undergoing ankle surgery late last year -- to line out to second base before giving up a single to Willy Yahn, who blooped an 0-2 pitch just beyond the left side of the infield. The left-hander would face the minimum the rest of the way.
After escaping the first unscathed with back-to-back punchouts of J.C. Escarra and Trevor Craport, Lynch allowed his only other hit when Jake Ring led off the second with a frozen rope to right field. After Ring tried to stretch the single into a double and was thrown out at second, Lynch coasted the rest of the way.
The Virginia product retired 17 of the final 18 batters he faced -- including a run of 16 in a row -- while striking out six. He whiffed the side in order in the sixth. The only blemish came when he hit Craport with a 2-1 pitch with two outs in the seventh. The Frederick infielder went on to steal second but was stranded there as Ring went down swinging on a 2-2 breaking ball in the dirt to end the inning.
Collin Snider (3-1) and Tad Ratliff came on in relief of Lynch and each tossed a hitless inning to secure Wilmington's second consecutive shutout. Snider walked one and struck out one and Ratliff nailed down his 10th save of the season after retiring the side in order in the ninth.
The Blue Rocks scratched across their lone run in the eighth when fifth-ranked Royals prospect Nick Pratto lined the first pitch he saw from Cameron Bishop into right to plate Colby Schultz from second.
Kremer -- Baltimore's No. 9 prospect -- matched zeros with Lynch through six frames, working around two hits and a pair of walks while also fanning nine. He has not allowed a run through his first two starts of the season and has struck out 14 while walking four over 9 2/3 innings.