MOOSIC, Pa. (August 8, 2019) - Brian Keller was fantastic in his Triple-A debut on Thursday night at PNC Field, but the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders fell to the Charlotte Knights 7-4. The win for the Knights marks the first time this season the RailRiders have been swept in a series at home this season.
Charlotte starter Justin Nicolino walked Clint Frazier and Gary Sanchez to begin the bottom of the first, and Thairo Estrada brought them home with a three-run home run down the left field line to put the Baby Bombers on top 3-0.
The RailRiders tacked on another run in the bottom of the second when Wendell Rijo launched a leadoff home run into the Knights' bullpen in left-center. The blast was the second baseman's second round-tripper of the series, and his fourth of the season.
Ramon Torres got Charlotte on the board in the top of the third with a two-run home run against Brian Keller, who was making his Triple-A debut in the game. The right-hander turned in a superb outing, allowing just two runs on three hits in 7.0 innings, walking four and striking out three.
Coming off throwing a no-hitter in his final start in Double-A Trenton, Keller (1-0) finished strong by retiring the final seven batters he faced in order. His 7.0 innings pitched tied his personal season-high, and he has reached that mark in four of his last five starts. He was the first RailRiders starting pitcher to complete seven innings since Brody Koerner on July 19.
The Knights got even in the top of the eight against RailRiders reliever Will Carter. Ramon Torres singled to lead off the frame and two batters later Luis Robert tied the game with a two-run home run. In the top of the ninth, Ramon Torres brought in a run with a double, and a two-run single from Nick Madrigal gave Charlotte a 7-4 advantage.
MLB rehabber Gary Sanchez caught seven innings for the RailRiders as part of his second rehab game and finished 0-for-2 with a walk at the plate. The backstop threw out would-be basestealer Nick Madrigal in the only time he was tested on the base paths.
The RailRiders continue the homestand by welcoming in the Gwinnett Stripers to PNC Field for the first time this season on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre sends RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (0-2, 9.28) to the mound, while Gwinnett counters with RHP Bryce Wilson (7-7, 3.83). For tickets and more information call 570-969-2255 or slide to www.swbrailriders.com/tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.