Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-16-14

Saturday, August 16, 2014 · Game #120 · Home Game #57

Frederick Keys (55-64/23-29) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (62-61/28-25)

RHP Sebastian Vader (1-4, 6.00) vs. RHP Jarrett Miller (8-7, 3.82)

HANGING TOUGH: The Frederick Keys sent eight men to bat in the bottom of the eighth to rally back and defeat the Lynchburg Hillcats 8-7 on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the team’s second win in as many nights and helped the Keys snap a three-game losing streak to the Hillcats. Down by a run entering the inning, the orange and black loaded the bases against Navery Moore. From there, Johnny Ruettiger tied the game with his third RBI single of the night and Trey Mancini coaxed a four-pitch walk to put the Keys up for good. Ruettiger and Mancini accounted for seven of the eight RBIs, while Jesse Beal picked up the win despite suffering his first blown save of the year.

IT’S CALLED A (HOME) WINNING STREAK: With a win on Friday, the Keys picked up back-to-back home wins for the first time in the second-half. Coming into the game, Frederick was 5-18 at the Grove in the second-half, while the club had not won consecutive home games since June 14-15. A team that has fared better on the road (their 17 second-half road wins pace the CL North) the Keys six home wins since the All-Star break are the fewest in the circuit. Wilmington (9-15) is the only other club without at least 10 second-half home wins. A problem all season, Frederick it 22-34 in home games and 33-30 in road tilts.

CLOSE CALLS: With a win on Friday night, the Keys improved to 16-16 in one-run games this season. That mark is fourth-best in the Carolina League, as the team trails only Potomac (26-11), Lynchburg (25-18) and Salem (17-15). Since the All-Star break, Frederick is 6-5 in games hinging on a single run. This season, the Keys and Hillcats have played six one-run games, but until last night, all five had gone Lynchburg’s way.

BOOMER: Trey Mancini tied his career-high with four RBIs on Friday. Going 1-for-4, the former Notre Dame product slugged a three-run homer in the sixth which wiped away a three-run deficit. Mancini recorded his first four RBI game on June 19-his Carolina League debut-going 2-for-5 with a homer and a double. Including his time with Low-A Delmarva, Mancini has hit nine home runs this season, while he is batting .280 over 13 games in August.

GO JOHNNY GO!: For the second straight night, Johnny Ruettiger tied his career-high with three RBIs. Finishing 3-for-4, all three of the RBIs he recorded came off singles. On Thursday at Wilmington, the former Arizona State Sun Devil went 2-for-5 with a single and a homer to snap a string of 14 hitless at-bats. In his last four games, Ruettiger has seven RBIs (he has 11 total in 20 games with the Keys). Additionally on Friday, he tied his season-high with three hits. He posted three hits three times with Double-A Bowie this season, most recently on July 5.

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED: Wynston Sawyer’s sac-fly in the fourth inning on Thursday ended a string of 20 scoreless innings for the Keys. Held off the scoreboard in both games of their doubleheader on Wednesday, the run was the Keys first since the fifth inning on Sunday, when Sawyer recorded a two-run single of Yender Caramo. The 20 innings marks the Keys longest scoring drought of the year. Frederick’s previous high without a run scored was 17.2 innings, which stretched from July 27-30 against Lynchburg and Winston-Salem.

MAKING A SNOW MAN: Branden Kline became the first Keys pitcher to reach eight wins on Thursday night thanks to 5.1 innings of one-run baseball. He walked two and struck out four. With the victory, Kline takes solo possession of the team wins lead. He came into the game tied with Mark Blackmar (7-1). A pitcher who has been difficult on the road all year, the right-hander is 7-0 away from the friendly confines and sports a 2.79 ERA.

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Intra-division competition for the Keys has often been problematic. Against Wilmington, Lynchburg and Potomac, Frederick is just 19-31, while the orange and black do not have a winning record against any CL North club. Frederick is the only team without at least 20 wins against divisional competition. This season, 24 of the Keys 31 losses in northern play have come to Wilmington and Lynchburg. The Keys have been defeated by each team 12 times, though Frederick has a worse winning percentage against the Hillcats (6-12).

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .333 (16-for-48) over his first 13 August tilts to go along with a home run, six doubles and seven RBIs. He has multiple hits in five of his last 10 games (and seven of his last 14 tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 13 pts (.258 to .271).

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Pitcher Dylan Bundy (1) and shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlight the list and are joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Jarrett Miller makes his 26th appearance of the year and his 25th start. His most recent start came last Sunday against Winston-Salem. Over six innings, he allowed one run on five hits in a no-decision. A winner in four of his last six starts, Miller has also registered six quality starts in his last seven trips to the mound. Currently 10th in the CL in ERA (3.82), Miller will become just the second pitcher in the league to make his 25th start on Saturday. He is third in innings pitched (132.0) and fourth in strikeouts (111). Coming off a terrific July (2.79 ERA), the righty is 5-1 with a 3.08 ERA in the second-half. Against the Keys this year, he is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. This is Miller’s second year in the Carolina League, after the righty went 9-8 with a 3.73 ERA over 30 games (25 starts) last season. He finished fifth in the CL in strikeouts (122) and fourth in innings pitched (147.0), but occasionally struggled with command, as he ended third-overall in walks (63). Although his walk/nine inning ratio has improved this season (3.3), in his career, Miller averages 4.1 free tickets per nine innings. The right-hander spent all of 2011-12 with Low-A Rome. Selected by Atlanta in the 21st round out of UNC-Greensboro, Miller went 4-2 with a 4.08 ERA in 28 games (four starts) as a junior. He is trying to become the first Spartans pitcher to reach the Major Leagues since Brian Moehler, who made his big league debut with Detroit in 1996, and pitched 14 years with the Tigers, Reds, Astros and Marlins. Miller throws a low-mid 90s fastball, a curve, a slider and a changeup. He hails from Easley, South Carolina which is the home of the Big League World Series. Big League is a section of Little League for 15-18 males. Easley will hosted its 14th Big League World Series in July.

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