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Keys look to clinch series finale with Carolina tonight

Hello Keys fans!

James here for my final preview as tonight will be my last game working for the Frederick Keys. It felt like a quick season, but regardless, it was a lot of fun. Despite it ending in disappointing fashion, it was an absolute honor to be an employee for such a classy organization. Huge thanks to Geoff Arnold for having me come aboard and also lots of gratitude to the rest of the people I worked with here at Nymeo Field. But most importantly, thank you Keys fans! Hopefully my experience here will have me go on to a successful career within the sport of baseball. Crossing my fingers that my last night here will end in a thriller like last night’s dramatic win.

Frederick managed to rally in the ninth inning by plating two runs, including the walk off RBI single by Tad Gold, to come out victorious 7-6 and evening the series at one game apiece. Despite not being in contention for the playoffs, the orange and black look to end on a high note as they can win the three game set with a victory tonight. The Keys will trot out Josh Walker (0-1, 1.50) as he will be making his second start this season in a Frederick uniform. He will be countered by Carolina Mudcats’ hurler Andrew Waszak (6-6, 3.43) who his making his third appearance against the orange and black this year as he is 1-0. Tonight’s contest will begin at 7:00 PM.

For the final time, thank you fans and go Keys!

Tonight’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Anthony Caronia 2B

Dariel Alvarez RF

Yaisel Mederos 1B

Tad Gold LF

Adrian Marin SS

Conor Bierfeldt DH

Derek Peterson 3B

Steel Russell C

9/3 Game Notes

GOLD LEADS KEYS TO WALK-OFF WIN: A Tad Gold RBI single gave the Frederick Keys a 7-6 walk-off win over the Carolina Mudcats on Wednesday night at Nymeo Field. The victory forces a Thursday rubber game and preserves the Keys chances of finishing the second-half with a winning record. Down 6-5, the orange and black loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth for the second straight day. Josh Hart singled to open the inning, while consecutive sacrifice bunts by Anthony Caronia and Wynston Sawyer were mishandled by the Mudcats defense to pack the bags. Richie Tate was brought in from the Carolina bullpen to replace Andy Otero, but the right-hander never recorded an out. Derek Peterson singled through the right side to tie the game, before Gold followed suit with a bouncing ball past the dive of first baseman Tanner Krietemeier to give Frederick the win.

WALK IT OFF, WALK IT OFF: The Keys posted their eighth walk-off win of the year on Wednesday night, and first since July 25, when a Chance Sisco double lifted the team past Winston-Salem. Perhaps the most impressive aspect, is that all eight walk-offs have come from a different Keys player each time.  Last season, Frederick came up with only three walk-off wins. The ninth inning single also capped off a nice night for Tad Gold, who went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a walk. His three hits tied a career-high, while it raised his batting average from .229 to .246, the highest it has been since August 19.

THAT’S ALL FOLKS: For the fourth straight season, the Keys have been eliminated from playoff contention. Entering Tuesday night with an elimination number of one, Frederick would have needed seven straight wins and seven straight Lynchburg losses to force a one-game playoff. In spite of a loss to the Salem, the Hillcats clinch a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive year. They will meet Wilmington in the North Division Championship Series.

ALVAREZ OPTIONED TO KEYS: On Wednesday night, Dariel Alvarez was optioned to the Frederick Keys from the Baltimore Orioles. He is expected to be in uniform for the orange and black on Thursday and is scheduled to play through this weekend. He becomes the fourth player with Orioles to suit up for Frederick this year, joining Wei-Yin Chen (optioned) as well as Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman and David Lough (rehab assignments). Making his Orioles debut last Friday, Alvarez was hitting .250 (3-for-12) with a double. Prior to his call-up to Baltimore, he was hitting .275 with 16 homers and 72 RBIs in 130 games for Triple-A Norfolk. He was an International League all-star and won the Triple-A Home Run Derby.

MORE PROMOTIONS: Donnie Hart earned his first promotion to Double-A Bowie on Thursday, while he becomes the second Keys player to move up to the Eastern League this week after David Hess was called up on Tuesday. The second time he has been promoted this year, Hart went 5-1 with a 1.03 ERA and three saves in 27 games since being sent up from Low-A Delmarva. Combined between Low-A and Advanced-A this year, the Texan is 5-2 with 13 saves and a 1.41 ERA in 45 games.

WRAPPING UP AUGUST: A win Sunday helped the Keys conclude August on an encouraging note. Despite hitting only .231 as a club (the team’s worst showing in any month) the orange and black finished with a 13-14 August record. The 13 wins are tied for the second-most the Keys have posted in a month. In July, the team went 15-15, while the orange and black went 13-8 in April (the team’s only winning month of the year). On the mound, the Keys registered a 4.19 staff ERA, while David Hess (0.99 ERA) and Mikey O’Brien (1.57) put together outstanding months. Among active players, Conor Bierfeldt led the Keys with a .286 average.

KEYS ABOUND IN ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE: On Tuesday afternoon Adrian Marin and Donnie Hart were selected to play in the Arizona Fall League, while Jon Keller, Chance Sisco and Mike Yastrzemski were also tabbed to play for the Peoria Javelinas. Considered a “finishing school” for top minor league prospects, the AFL runs from mid-October to late-November.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: Last Saturday afternoon, Cody Wheeler was named a Carolina League postseason all-star. He was Frederick’s lone selection. In 42 games this year, the Virginian is 5-1 with 17 saves and a 2.79 ERA. Over 51.2 innings, he has walked 28, struck out 56 and is holding opponents to a .194 average. Entering Wednesday’s action, Wheeler is tops in the CL in saves, appearances and games finished (35).

AGAINST CAROLINA: Frederick plays its final game of the year against the Mudcats on Thursday. Carolina has already taken the season-series, winning 12 of the 15 matchups, while the Muddies won the first 10 meetings. Against Carolina pitching, Frederick is batting just .239 while the pitching staff has a 4.64 ERA. In contrast, the Mudcats are batting .291 off Keys arms and boast a 2.66 ERA. Individually, Josh Hart leads the way with a .349 average.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Andrew Waszak makes 30th overall appearance this season and his 12th start. Between Carolina, Double-A Mississippi and Low-A Rome, the right-hander is 7-6 with a 4.21 ERA. Most of Waszak’s time has come with the Mudcats, where he is 6-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 games (11 starts) over 78.2 innings. Joining Carolina from Low-A Rome, the Michigan native last pitched on Tuesday night against Biloxi in relief. Working 1.1 innings, he gave up one hit and did not factor into the decision. With Carolina, Waszak has fared better as a starting pitcher (3.09 ERA) than as a reliever (4.24 ERA). Before moving up to Double-A, his August in Carolina was outstanding, as the 24-year-old allowed only two runs (one earned) on nine hits in 16 innings (0.56 ERA). Against the Keys this year, Waszak is 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA (5.2 IP/3R) in two games (one start). Waszak split 2014 between Rookie-Danville, Low-A Rome and Lynchburg, going 4-7 with a 5.52 ERA over 21 games (18 starts). With the Hillcats he went 0-0 with a 9.42 ERA in five games (four starts). Waszak’s Carolina League debut came against the Keys on Opening Day 2014. In 1.1 innings, the Michigan native struck out one and did not allow any runs. A 22nd round selection by Atlanta in 2013, Waszak was a standout pitcher at Michigan State. The right-hander earned third team All-Big 10 honors as a senior, and ranked fifth in the conference in ERA (2.36). In his college career, he went 18-11 with a 3.82 ERA. As a member of the Spartans, he was teammates with former Keys outfielder Torsten Boss.

Keys look to even series with Carolina

Last the Keys were finally eliminated from postseason contention when they lost to the Carolina Mudcats allowing the Lynchburg Hillcats to clinch the North Division title in the second half. Now with nothing to play for, the orange and black will look to go out and finish on a high note as they hope to even the series at one game apiece as they send out southpaw Mitch Horacek (7-16, 4.67). This will be Horacek’s third start against the Mudcats where he is 0-2. Carolina will look to counter with Seth Webster (8-7, 2.75) who is making his fourth appearance against Frederick on the year where he is 3-0. Tonights contest will begin at 7:00 PM.

 

Tonight’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Anthony Caronia 2B

Wynston Sawyer C

Derek Peterson 3B

Tad Gold RF

Adrian Marin SS

Conor Bierfeldt DH

Yaisel Mederos 1B

Jay Gonzalez LF

9/2 Game Notes

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS KNOCKED OUT OF PLAYOFF RACE: The Frederick Keys were eliminated from second-half playoff contention on Tuesday night following an 8-5 setback to the Carolina Mudcats at Nymeo Field. It was the club’s sixth loss in its last seven games. Armed with a number of scoring chances, Frederick finished 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base. Three of those came in the ninth inning, as the orange and black loaded the bases with no outs. Jorge Zavala plunked Josh Hart, before issuing consecutive walks to Tad Gold and Wynston Sawyer. That prompted a pitching change by Mudcats manager Luis Salazar who turned to Bradley Roney. The right-hander quickly struck out Yaisel Mederos and Conor Bierfeldt before hitting Adrian Marin to make it a three-run contest. However, Roney struck out Derek Peterson to end the game. Carolina was fueled by three different multi-run innings, while Conor Lien, Keith Curcio and Dustin Peterson all drove in two runs.

THAT’S ALL FOLKS: For the fourth straight season, the Keys have been eliminated from playoff contention. Entering the night with an elimination number of one, Frederick would have needed seven straight wins and seven straight Lynchburg losses to force a one-game playoff. In spite of a loss to the Salem, the Hillcats clinch a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive year. They will meet Wilmington in the North Division Championship Series.

TRYING TO CLOSE IN ON .500: Although Frederick will not be able to reach the .500 mark for the year with just six games remaining, the team will try and avoid falling more than 10 games below sea-level. This year, the Keys have been 10 games below .500 on four occasions, but have not dipped farther south. In 2014, Frederick’s low-water mark was 11 games, something which has not happened since last August 13.

WRAPPING UP AUGUST: A win Sunday helped the Keys conclude August on an encouraging note. Despite hitting only .231 as a club (the team’s worst showing in any month) the orange and black finished with a 13-14 August record. The 13 wins are tied for the second-most the Keys have posted in a month. In July, the team went 15-15, while the orange and black went 13-8 in April (the team’s only winning month of the year). On the mound, the Keys registered a 4.19 staff ERA, while David Hess (0.99 ERA) and Mikey O’Brien (1.57) put together outstanding months. Among active players, Conor Bierfeldt led the Keys with a .286 average.

KEYS ABOUND IN ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE: On Tuesday afternoon Adrian Marin and Donnie Hart were selected to play in the Arizona Fall League, while former Keys Jon Keller, Chance Sisco and Mike Yastrzemski were also tabbed to play for the Peoria Javelinas. Considered a “finishing school” for top minor league prospects, the AFL runs from mid-October to late-November.

PUT THE SUITCASES AWAY: Sunday marked the Keys final regular season road game. Overall, the team finished 29-41 in games away Nymeo Field, the second-worst mark in the CL. In the second-half, the Keys posted a 16-19 road record. In contrast, Frederick is two games over .500 at home (33-31) for the season but just 14-15 in second-half home affairs. Still, the club has won three of its last four home series.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: On Saturday afternoon, Cody Wheeler was named a Carolina League postseason all-star. He was Frederick’s lone selection. In 42 games this year, the Virginian is 5-1 with 17 saves and a 2.79 ERA. Over 51.2 innings, he has walked 28, struck out 56 and is holding opponents to a .194 average. Entering Wednesday’s action, Wheeler is tops in the CL in saves, appearances and games finished (35).

AN AWARD AND A PROMOTION: The day after winning his second Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” Award, Keys starter David Hess was promoted to Double-A Bowie. It marks the right-hander’s first call-up to the Eastern League, while he becomes the 15th Frederick player to receive a promotion this season. In 26 games, the Tennessee native went 9-4 with a 3.58 ERA. Over 133.1 innings, he allowed 112 hits, walked 33 and struck out 110. Opponents were batting .224 against him. At the time of his promotion, Hess was second in the CL in batting average against and games started, fourth in strikeouts, fifth in innings pitched and ninth in ERA. In 12 second-half starts, Hess went 7-0 with a 1.34 ERA, the lowest of any starting pitcher in the league.

AGAINST CAROLINA: Frederick plays its penultimate series of the year against the Mudcats. Carolina has already taken the season-series, winning 12 of the 14 matchups, while the Muddies won the first 10 meetings. Against Carolina pitching, Frederick is batting just .227 while the pitching staff has a 4.54 ERA. In contrast, the Mudcats are batting .289 off Keys arms and boast a 2.47 ERA. Individually, Josh Hart leads the way with a .308 average.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Seth Webster makes his 19th appearance with Carolina and his 18th start. His most recent outing came last Thursday against Lynchburg. Receiving a no-decision, he allowed one runs on eight hits in seven innings. A pitcher with pinpoint command, Webster has walked only seven in 117.2 innings and leads the minors in SO/BB ratio (12.14) among pitchers with a minimum of 90 innings. The righty is second in the CL in ERA (2.75) and second in WHIP (1.07). Against Frederick he is 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA in three starts. His last win came at Nymeo Field on August 16, a game where Webster threw seven innings and allowed one unearned run. Of his 17 starts, 13 have been quality outings, while he has pitched seven innings or more 12 times. Signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent on May 18, Webster made one start at Low-A Rome before joining the Mudcats on May 21. Prior to joining the Braves, Webster pitched for the Schaumberg Boomers of the Frontier League from 2013 through this season. In his career with the Boomers, he went 14-6 with a 2.88 ERA in 300 games while logging 200 innings. Last season, Webster helped guide Schaumburg to the Frontier League championship, going 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in postseason play. Originally from Alexandria, Louisiana, Webster played college baseball for the Louisiana College Wildcats, a Division III school.

Keys open final homestand tonight!

The Keys managed to stave off elimination as they defeated Winston-Salem on Sunday night. Tonight, Frederick comes to Nymeo Field for their final homestand of the season for seven games closing out the season on Monday. For the first three games of the homestand, the orange and black will be taking on the Carolina Mudcats as they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive. However, if either the Keys lose or Lynchburg wins tonight, Frederick will be eliminated from postseason contention. With the daunting task of keeping his team alive in the playoff hunt, southpaw John Means (0-1, 7.45) will go out for the orange and black making his third start for the team. The Mudcats will counter with Blair Walters (5-8, 2.93) who is making his fourth appearance against the Keys this season. Game time start will be at 7:00 PM.

Tonight’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Tad Gold RF

Wynston Sawyer C

Yaisel Mederos 1B

Conor Bierfeldt DH

Adrian Marin SS

Derek Peterson 3B

Jay Gonzalez LF

Tanner Witt 2B

Also a number of Keys this season made the Arizona Fall League team in Peoria as Chance Sisco, Donnie Hart, Jon Keller, and Adrian Marin will be playing after this season comes to an end.

Game Notes 9/1

CARONIA HELPS KEYS STEAL WIN: The Frederick Keys scored three times in the ninth inning, while a steal of home by Anthony Caronia helped the orange and black earn a 4-3 comeback win over the Winston-Salem Dash on Sunday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark. Thanks to the come-from-behind win, the Keys kept their playoff hopes alive, while the club snapped a five-game losing streak. Needing two runs to stay alive in the ninth, Conor Bierfeldt opened the inning with a double off Brad Goldberg. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit by Derek Peterson. After Josh Hart came on to pinch-run, Caronia tripled home his teammate to level the score. That sent up Stuart Levy, who missed on a suicide squeeze, but Caronia snuck around the tag of Brett Austin to take the lead. Cody Wheeler worked a clean ninth to wrap up the win.

SLIDE SNAPPED: The Keys snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday at Winston-Salem, and avoided being swept for the fifth time this year. It was tied for the team’s second-longest losing streak of the year. Runs were at a premium over the team’s seven-day roadtrip, as the Keys were outscored 35-15 and shutout three different times. Over the seven-game road stretch, the Keys hit .187 (40-214) and committed 11 errors, resulting in 11 unearned runs.

NEEDING A MIRACLE: In addition to the Keys ending a five-game losing streak, first-place Lynchburg saw its five-game winning streak come to a close. Entering Tuesday, Frederick’s playoff elimination number is one, meaning that a Keys loss or a Lynchburg win over Salem would knock the orange and black out of playoff contention for a fourth straight year. Tonight’s opponent, the Carolina Mudcats, were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday, when the Dash blanked the Keys 4-0.

WRAPPING UP AUGUST: A win Sunday helped the Keys conclude August on an encouraging note. Despite hitting only .231 as a club (the team’s worst showing in any month) the orange and black finished with a 13-14 August record. The 13 wins are tied for the second-most the Keys have posted in a month. In July, the team went 15-15, while the orange and black went 13-8 in April (the team’s only winning month of the year). On the mound, the Keys registered a 4.19 staff ERA, while David Hess (0.99 ERA) and Mikey O’Brien (1.57) put together outstanding months. Among active players, Conor Bierfeldt led the Keys with a .286 average.

PUT THE SUITCASES AWAY: Sunday marked the Keys final regular season road game. Overall, the team finished 29-41 in games away Nymeo Field, the second-worst mark in the CL. In the second-half, the Keys posted a 16-19 road record. In contrast, Frederick is three games over .500 at home (33-30) for the season but just 14-14 in second-half home affairs. Still, the club has won three of its last four home series.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: On Saturday afternoon, Cody Wheeler was named a Carolina League postseason all-star. He was Frederick’s lone selection. In 42 games this year, the Virginian is 5-1 with 17 saves and a 2.79 ERA. Over 51.2 innings, he has walked 28, struck out 56 and is holding opponents to a .194 average. Entering Tuesday’s action, Wheeler is tops in the CL in saves, appearances and games finished (35).

AN AWARD AND A PROMOTION: The day after winning his second Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” Award, Keys starter David Hess was promoted to Double-A Bowie. It marks the right-hander’s first call-up to the Eastern League, while he becomes the 15th Frederick player to receive a promotion this season. In 26 games, the Tennessee native went 9-4 with a 3.58 ERA. Over 133.1 innings, he allowed 112 hits, walked 33 and struck out 110. Opponents were batting .224 against him. At the time of his promotion, Hess was second in the CL in batting average against and games started, fourth in strikeouts, fifth in innings pitched and ninth in ERA. In 12 second-half starts, Hess went 7-0 with a 1.34 ERA, the lowest of any starting pitcher in the league.

ROSTER MOVEMENT: With Hess’ call-up to the Baysox, the Keys have activated left-handed reliever Ronan Pacheco from the seven-day DL. Mikey O’Brien has also been placed on the temporary inactive list, while Steel Russell has joined the Keys from Low-A Delmarva.

AGAINST CAROLINA: Frederick plays its penultimate series of the year against the Mudcats. Carolina has already taken the season-series, winning 11 of the 13 matchups, while the Muddies won the first 10 meetings. Against Carolina pitching, Frederick is batting just .229 while the pitching staff has a 4.34 ERA. In contrast, the Mudcats are batting .283 off Keys arms and boast a 2.35 ERA. Individually, Josh Hart leads the way with a .343 average.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Blair Walters makes his 28th appearance of the season and his 21st start. A loser in his last three games, the southpaw’s latest setback came last Wednesday against Wilmington. Tossing 5.2 innings, Walters allowed two runs on seven hits. Walters is fourth in the CL in ERA (2.93), third in batting average against (.243), while he has been very consistent, posting a 2.91 ERA in the first-half and a 2.94 mark in the second stanza. This will be Walters’ fourth appearance against the Keys. Combined he is 0-1 with a 1.98 ERA (13.2 IP/3ER). In five career games against Frederick, Walters is 1-3 with a 3.03 ERA (32.2 IP/11ER).  Signed by Atlanta last July, the lefty went 6-1 with a 2.33 ERA in eight games (seven starts) for Lynchburg (then a Braves affiliate). Prior to joining the Braves, Walters was playing for the Independent Joliet Slammers. A Frontier League All-Star, he pitched to a 2.74 ERA in 75.2 innings. He allowed just 59 hits and struck out 54. Originally selected by the White Sox in the 11th round of the 2011 draft out of the University of Hawaii, Walters was acquired by the Houston Astros in July 2012 along with RHP Matt Heidenreich and RHP Chris Devenski in exchange for RHP Brett Myers. Last March, Walters was released by the Astros after finishing with a combined 7.18 ERA between High-A Lancaster and Triple-A Oklahoma City (one game) in 2013. He throws a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

Time to Get Moving!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys saw their elimination number pared down to five on Thursday night following a 5-4 loss to Winston-Salem coupled with a Lynchburg win over Carolina. Frederick has now lost three straight games, and must move quickly with only 10 games remaining in the season.

Seven of those will come against Winston-Salem, a team that has posted the league’s top record since the all-star break, but is one that the Keys have fared well against. This season, Orlando Gomez’s team has gone 8-6 against the Dash, and have come away victorious in three of the four sets this year. Remember, the last time Frederick visited the Triad, the Dash won game one, before the orange and black won the remaining games in the series. Here’s to hoping the story line will be similar this time.

Although the transaction is not official yet, congratulations to former Keys outfielder Dariel Alvarez who is expected to receive his first call to the majors. In 130 games with Triple-A Norfolk this year, he was batting .275 with 16 home runs and 72 RBIs. Over 10 games with Frederick in 2013, he hit .436 with two homers and seven RBIs.

As a visiting broadcaster with Wilmington at the time, I got a chance to see Alvarez play. His arm was a cannon, while I saw one of his two home runs against Blue Rocks flamethrower Angel Baez. Alvarez got a high fastball and absolutely PUMMELED it. Two years later, it still ranks as one of the longest home runs I have seen hit at Nymeo Field. Alvarez 640

Not to be left out, another former Key, Jason Gurka, has been called up to the Rockies this afternoon. Some of you may remember that Gurka threw the final pitch of the 2011 season. When Alvarez and Gurka make their big league debuts they will be 140th and 141st Keys to reach the big leagues.

In total eight former Keys have been called up to the show this year.  Others that have gotten the call this include: Mychal Givens, Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Oliver Drake, Eduardo Rodriguez and Scott Copeland.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m tonight from BB&T Ballpark. Mitch Horacek gets the ball for the Keys and will be opposed by Dash right-hander Carson Fulmer. If the name sounds familiar, Fulmer was Chicago’s first round pick this season following a stellar college career at Vanderbilt.

Doug Raftery has the call tonight on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Today’s batch of game notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Friday, August 28, 2015 · Game #131 · Road Games #68

Frederick Keys (61-69/29-31) vs Winston-Salem Dash (67-61/37-21)

LHP Mitch Horacek (7-15, 4.54) vs. RHP Carson Fulmer (0-2, 2.81)

DASH BREAK THROUGH IN SIXTH: The Frederick Keys went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base in a 5-4 loss to the Winston-Salem Dash on Thursday night at BB&T Ballpark. To go along with the setback, a Lynchburg win over Carolina pushes the Keys six games back in the CL North standings with 10 games remaining. Frederick jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth, after a solo home run by Adrian Marin, as well as an RBI fielder’s choice by Tanner Witt. The Dash countered with five unanswered runs, tying the game on a two-run double by Trey Michalczewski in the fifth, before two errors opened the door to a three-run Winston-Salem sixth. Marin committed consecutive errors at shortstop to open the inning to put runners at the corners. Nolan Early followed with an RBI groundout, before Michael Danner drove in the other two runs with a double to left. In the seventh, the orange and black pulled within a run on a two-run single by Derek Peterson, but could not capitalize with the bases loaded in the eighth.

NEED TO GET MOVING: The Keys have dropped three straight games, while at the same time, first-place Lynchburg has rattled off three straight wins. That has cut the Keys elimination number to five, meaning that any combination of Keys losses and Hillcats wins which equal five will knock the Keys out of playoff contention. Making matters worse, the orange and black face a Winston-Salem team that holds the top mark of an CL team in the second-half (37-21) and is on the verge of clinching its first playoff berth since 2012. Entering Friday, the Dash’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is four.

SCORELESS STRING ENDS:  On Thursday, The Keys ended a 23.1 inning scoreless stretch when Adrian Marin hit a solo home run with one out in the fourth inning. It marked the first time the Keys had scored since the front-end of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Potomac, when the Keys scored once in the third inning. The 23.1 frames ranks as the club’s second-longest scoring drought of the season. This year’s high is 28.2 innings from June 29-July 2 against Wilmington and Potomac. During that time, the Keys were shutout in consecutive games (June 30-July 1).

LOOKING FOR THE LEATHER:  Frederick has committed an error in five straight games, while in four of those contests the Keys have committed two errors. As a result, 12 of the last 31 runs allowed by Keys pitching have been unearned. This season, the orange and black are tied for fifth in fielding percentage (.973) with Potomac and Winston-Salem, but have committed the third-most errors (131) in the league.

AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: There is no team that Frederick will see more than Winston-Salem over the last week and a half of the season. Seven of Frederick’s last 10 games will come against the Dash, a team that the Keys have gone 8-6 against this year. The Keys have won the only head-to-head battle at BB&T Ballpark, claiming two of three over Fourth of July weekend. Offensively, the orange and black are batting .274 against the Dash and hold a 4.37 ERA. Winston-Salem is batting .238 off Keys arms but boast a 3.48 staff ERA.

THE HESS EXPRESS: David Hess put together his first professional complete game and his first shutout in the front-end of Tuesday’s twinbill. Delivering seven innings, the Tennessee allowed just one hit, walked one and struck out five. The only hit Hess allowed was a single to David Masters in the third. It was the second one-hitter by a Carolina League pitcher this season, while Hess picked up his fourth win in five August outings. Since the start of the month, the right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA (27.1 IP/3ER) and is holding opponents to a .186 average. Hess has not allowed a run in his last 11.1 innings to trim his ERA to 3.58, ninth-best in the circuit.

STREAKS WERE MEANT TO BE BROKEN: Garrett Cortright saw his scoreless innings streak conclude on Tuesday at 12.1 innings, while it marked the first time he had allowed an earned run in an eye-popping 36.1 innings. Prior to Tuesday, Cortright had not given up an earned run since May 30 when he was pitching for Low-A Delmarva. The four runs were a season-high for Cortright, who had allowed three runs just once (on May 30). Overall 2015 has been an outstanding one for the former Canisius product, who is 3-2 with a 1.08 ERA over 42 combined games between Frederick and Delmarva.

O’BRIEN NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday, Mikey O’Brien was named the Carolina League’s “Pitcher of the Week” for August 17-23. The honor comes after O’Brien threw a seven-inning no-hitter at Lynchburg on Thursday in the back-end of a quasi-doubleheader. Over seven innings he struck out nine, walked one and allowed only two baserunners to reach. The right-hander retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced. The no-hitter was the fourth individual no-hitter in club history, as O’Brien joined Nathan Moreau, John Maine and Eric Shullstrom as the only Keys pitchers to throw their own no-no.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Carson Fulmer makes his seventh start with the Dash on Friday and his eighth since signing with the White Sox on July 3. The eighth overall pick in this year’s draft, Fulmer received a reported signing bonus of $3,470,600. All of Fulmer’s outings with the Dash have been three innings or less, while each of his last four starts have gone three frames. His most recent came last Saturday against Carolina. Receiving a no-decision, he allowed one run on two hits over three frames to go with three walks and three strikeouts. With the Dash he has struck out 17 over 16 stanzas to go with seven walks and is holding opponents to a .196 average. As a junior at Vanderbilt, Fulmer led his team to a runner-up finish at the College World Series. Named the SEC “Pitcher of the Year” and first-team All-America by Baseball America, he went 14-2 with a 1.83 ERA, to go with 167 strikeouts in 127.2 innings. Opponents hit .180 against him. Fulmer led the NCAA in wins and was second in strikeouts. Additionally, the 167 punchouts were the second-most in school history (big leaguer David Price registered 194 in ’07). The Floridian was also drafted by Boston in the 15th round of the 2012 MLB draft from All Saints (FL) Academy but did not sign. He throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

 

It’s on to Winston-Salem!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Keys try and snap a 20-inning scoreless stretch on Thursday night, when the club takes on the Winston-Salem Dash in the Ole North state. Frederick fell to Potomac 10-0 on Wednesday, as the Nationals scored multiple runs in three of their first three trips to bat.

Left-hander John Means gets the ball for the Keys in game one and will be opposed by Dash right-hander Spencer Adams. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Doug Raftery has the call.

Tonight’s notes are below. Shake your keys!

Geoff

Thursday, August 27, 2015 · Game #130 · Road Games #67

Frederick Keys (61-68/29-30) vs Winston-Salem Dash (66-61/36-21)

LHP John Means (0-1, 10.80) vs. RHP Spencer Adams (1-0, 3.48)

ONE OF THOSE NIGHTS: The Potomac Nationals scored in each of their first four at-bats, tallying three different multi-run innings during that time, en route to a 10-0 shutout of the Frederick Keys on Wednesday night at Pfitzner Stadium. It marked the second straight game where the orange and black had been shut out by the P-Nats. Coupled with a Lynchburg win over Salem and it moved the Keys five games back in the CL North standings with 11 games remaining. Luis Gonzalez struggled over 2.2 innings, allowing eight runs (six earned) on eight hits. Four of those runs scored in the first, as Grant DeBruin drove in Rafael Bautista with an RBI single, before Narciso Mesa hit a three-run homer off the leftfield foul pole. DeBruin (walk) and Mesa (sac-fly) posted RBIs during a three-run P-Nats second, before an RBI double by Bautista and two wild pitches by Dylan Rheault in the fourth completed Potomac’s scoring. Optioned to the Nationals before the game, big leaguer Tanner Roark made the start and tossed four clean innings, while Brian Dupra followed suit to earn the win

LOOKING FOR A SPARK:  Offensively, the Keys have struggled since the first game of their Tuesday doubleheader at Potomac. The Keys have not scored a run in their last 20 innings (dating back to the third inning of game one on Tuesday). That marks the club’s second-longest scoring drought of the season. This year’s high is 28.2 innings from June 29-July 2 against Wilmington and Potomac. During that time, the Keys were also shutout in consecutive games (June 30-July 1).

SHUTOUT NOTES: This season, the Keys have endured consecutive shutout losses twice. Prior to the second game of Tuesday’s twinbill, Frederick had not been shutout since July 21. Since the all-star break, the Keys are 5-5 in shutout games, while the team’s shutout record for the year is 8-10. Although that mark is second-worst among CL teams, Wilmington, Myrtle Beach and Carolina have all been shutout more.

WRAPPING UP DIVISIONAL PLAY: The Keys wrapped up divisional play on Wednesday. With the loss, the club finishes the year with a 35-36 mark against divisional opponents. In spite of finishing one game below .500, Frederick posted winning records against Potomac (13-9) and Lynchburg (12-11). Most of the team’s struggles came against Wilmington (10-16).

NEED TO GET MOVING: With time running out, the Keys saw their playoff elimination number drop to seven with only 11 games remaining in the season. That means any combination of Frederick losses and Lynchburg wins which equals seven will knock the Keys out of playoff contention. Making matters worse, the orange and black face a Winston-Salem team that holds the top mark of an CL team in the second-half (36-21) and is on the verge of clinching its first playoff berth since 2012. Entering Thursday, the Dash’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is six.

AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: There is no team that Frederick will see more than Winston-Salem over the last week and a half of the season. Eight of Frederick’s last 11 games will come against the Dash, a team that the Keys have gone 8-5 against this year. Winston-Salem has had more problems with Frederick than any team on their schedule, with the Keys taking three of the four series. Head-to-head, the orange and black are batting .271 against the Dash and hold a 4.51 ERA. Winston-Salem is batting .243 off Keys arms but boast a 3.44 staff ERA.

THE HESS EXPRESS: David Hess put together his first professional complete game and his first shutout in the front-end of Tuesday’s twinbill. Delivering seven innings, the Tennessee allowed just one hit, walked one and struck out five. The only hit Hess allowed was a single to David Masters in the third. It was the second one-hitter by a Carolina League pitcher this season, while Hess picked up his fourth win in five August outings. Since the start of the month, the right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA (27.1 IP/3ER) and is holding opponents to a .186 average. Hess has not allowed a run in his last 11.1 innings to trim his ERA to 3.58, ninth-best in the circuit.

STREAKS WERE MEANT TO BE BROKEN: Garrett Cortright saw his scoreless innings streak conclude on Tuesday at 12.1 innings, while it marked the first time he had allowed an earned run in an eye-popping 36.1 innings. Prior to last night, Cortright had not given up an earned run since May 30 when he was pitching for Low-A Delmarva. The four runs were a season-high for Cortright, who had allowed three runs just once (on May 30). Overall 2015 has been an outstanding one for the former Canisius product, who is 3-1 with a 1.11 ERA over 41 combined games between Frederick and Delmarva.

O’BRIEN NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday, Mikey O’Brien was named the Carolina League’s “Pitcher of the Week” for August 17-23. The honor comes after O’Brien threw a seven-inning no-hitter at Lynchburg on Thursday in the back-end of a quasi-doubleheader. Over seven innings he struck out nine, walked one and allowed only two baserunners to reach. The right-hander retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced. The no-hitter was the fourth individual no-hitter in club history, as O’Brien joined Nathan Moreau, John Maine and Eric Shullstrom as the only Keys pitchers to throw their own no-no.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHERS: Right-hander Spencer Adams makes his 22nd overall start this season and his third with the Dash. Combined between Winston-Salem and Low-A Kannapolis he is 10-5 with a 3.26 ERA. With the Dash he is 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA over two starts. Adams’ most recent outing came last Thursday against Myrtle Beach. Receiving a no-decision, he allowed four runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings. He walked two and struck out four. Promoted to Winston-Salem on July 19, Adams went 9-5 with a 3.24 ERA at Kannapolis and was 12th in the SAL in ERA at the time he was moved up. Entering the year ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the White Sox system according to Baseball America, Adams was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2014 draft out of White County High School. Just 19 years old, the right-hander went 3-3 with a 3.67 ERA with the AZL White Sox after signing. He posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 14.8 and struck out nearly 13 batters per nine innings. Adams was committed to the University of Georgia out of White County (GA) High School but elected to go pro. He throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Time to Wrap up Divisional Play Strong!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys wrap up their divisional slate against the Potomac Nationals on Wednesday night at Pfitzner Stadium. With a victory tonight, Frederick can clinch a winning record over its division rivals. Sitting at 35-35 for the year, the Keys hold a 13-8 mark against the P-Nats. That is the Keys top mark against any CL opponent this year.

Luis Gonzalez makes the start for the Keys tonight and will be opposed by Austen Williams. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Doug Raftery has the call.

Lineups will be posted shortly, while today’s batch of game notes is below.

Talk soon and shake your Keys!

Geoff

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 · Game #129 · Road Games #66

Frederick Keys (61-67/29-29) vs Potomac Nationals (59-68/26-31)

LHP Luis Gonzalez (5-10, 6.79) vs. RHP Austen Williams (4-4, 2.62)

KEYS AND NATIONALS SWAP SHUTOUTS: The Frederick Keys and the Potomac Nationals exchanged shutouts as the two sides split a doubleheader on Tuesday night at Pfitzner Stadium. In game one, David Hess led the orange and black to a 4-0 victory, posting the first complete game shutout of his career. At the plate, the Keys scored three times in the second against Tyler Mapes. With a pair in scoring position and two outs, Derek Peterson drove in both men with a single to center, before scoring on an RBI double by Josh Hart. P-Nats starter, Ian Dickson, was effectively wild in game two but guided the Nationals to a 7-0 win. Despite walking four and throwing only 44 of his 85 pitches for strikes, the right-hander tossed five shutout innings of one-hit baseball. The Nationals scored once in the third, before adding six more runs in their last two at-bats. Four of those runs were pinned on Garrett Cortright, but only two were earned due to a throwing error by the Keys pitcher.

THE HESS EXPRESS: David Hess put together his first professional complete game and his first shutout in the front-end of Tuesday’s twinbill. Delivering seven innings, the Tennessee allowed just one hit, walked one and struck out five. The only hit Hess allowed was a single to David Masters in the third. It was the second one-hitter by a Carolina League pitcher this season, while Hess picked up his fourth win in five August outings. Since the start of the month, the right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA (27.1 IP/3ER) and is holding opponents to a .186 average. Hess has not allowed a run in his last 11.1 innings to trim his ERA to 3.58, ninth-best in the circuit.

SHUTOUT NOTES: On Tuesday, the orange and black posted their second shutout win in five games, but were also blanked for the first time since July 21. In that game, the Nationals defeated the Keys 7-0 at Nymeo Field. Since the all-star break, the Keys are 5-4 in shutout games, while the team’s shutout record for the year is 8-9. Although that mark is second-worst among CL teams, Wilmington, Myrtle Beach, Carolina and Salem have all been shutout more.

ONE LAST TASTE OF DIVISIONAL PLAY: The Keys will play their final divisional game of the year on Wednesday. Frederick is currently four games out of first with an elimination number of nine. Any combination of Lynchburg wins/Frederick losses will trim that mark. Against the Nationals, the Keys are 13-8 and have fared better against the Nationals than any other CL team this year. Tonight, the Keys will try for a win to clinch a winning regular season record against divisional opposition. Frederick claimed its season-set with Lynchburg (12-11) while ending 10-16 against Wilmington.

YET ANOTHER RUBBER GAME: For the second straight series (and the third time in five sets) the orange and black will play a rubber game. In deciding games this year, the Keys are 7-8 following a 9-7 loss to Myrtle Beach on Sunday. This season, the Keys and Nationals have played two rubber games, with both sides winning one each.

STREAKS WERE MEANT TO BE BROKEN: Garrett Cortright saw his scoreless innings streak conclude on Tuesday at 12.1 innings, while it marked the first time he had allowed an earned run in an eye-popping 36.1 innings. Prior to last night, Cortright had not given up an earned run since May 30 when he was pitching for Low-A Delmarva. The four runs were a season-high for Cortright, who had allowed three runs just once (on May 30). Overall 2015 has been an outstanding one for the former Canisius product, who is 3-1 with a 1.11 ERA over 41 combined games between Frederick and Delmarva.

COME BACK BALL!: After not allowing any more than three home runs in their first 124 games, Keys pitching surrendered four home runs on both Saturday and Sunday. That accounted for 18 of Myrtle Beach’s 19 runs over the last two days of the two teams’ recent series. Three of those came from Ben Carhart, who became the fourth opposing player to hit two home runs in a game off Keys pitching this year. Meanwhile, Mitch Horacek (three), John Means (two) and Dylan Rheault (two) either set or tied their career-highs for home runs allowed. This season, Keys pitching has given up 81 home runs, tops in the CL.

O’BRIEN NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday, Mikey O’Brien was named the Carolina League’s “Pitcher of the Week” for August 17-23. The honor comes after O’Brien threw a seven-inning no-hitter at Lynchburg on Thursday in the back-end of a quasi-doubleheader. Over seven innings he struck out nine, walked one and allowed only two baserunners to reach. The right-hander retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced. The no-hitter was the fourth individual no-hitter in club history, as O’Brien joined Nathan Moreau, John Maine and Eric Shullstrom as the only Keys pitchers to throw their own no-no.

AGAINST POTOMAC: Frederick is 13-8 against the Nationals this year, and 8-4 in games at Pfitzner Stadium, the Keys best mark in any road venue this season. As a team, the Keys are batting .234 against Potomac and boast a 3.33 staff ERA. P-Nats hitters are batting .246 against the Keys and hold a 3.14 staff ERA.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHERS: Right-hander Austen Williams makes his 22nd overall start on Wednesday and his ninth with the Nationals. Combined between Potomac, Low-A Hagerstown and Triple-A Syracuse Williams is 12-6 with a 2.59 ERA over 121.2 innings. With the Nationals, he is 4-4 with a 2.62 ERA in eight games. His most recent outing came last Friday at Lynchburg. Tagged with the loss, Williams allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out six. That loss ended a three-game winning streak for the 22-year-old, who had allowed just one earned run in 18 innings over that time (all six inning starts). Promoted to Potomac from Low-A Hagerstown on July 8, Williams went 8-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 13 starts (73 innings) and was named a South Atlantic League all-star. Wednesday marks the second time the Texan will face the Keys. Facing them on July 22, Williams suffered the loss, giving up four runs (two earned) on five hits in 4.2 innings.  A pitcher known for very good command, Williams has a BB/9IP ratio of 2.0 this season, while is equal to his career mark. Selected by Washington in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out Texas State, Williams was a college teammate of Keys pitcher Donnie Hart. Drafted after his junior year, he went 8-3 with a 3.65 ERA for the Bobcats as the team’s Friday starter. Hoping to go to Texas Tech like many of his family members, Williams was not recruited by the Red Raiders since they did not think he threw hard enough. Williams throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Let’s Play Two!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Well Monday night’s game might have been rained out, but it means that tonight, it’s double the pleasure, double the fun and yes…double the baseball!

The Keys and Nationals will play a doubleheader starting at 5:00 p.m from the “Rusty Tank” aka. Pfitzner Stadium. As amazing as this sounds, this will be Frederick’s first true doubleheader since the all-star break. In three twinbills this season, the Keys are 5-1, the top mark in the Carolina League.

That being said,  the Keys have played the fewest twinbills in the league…by far. Every other team has played at least six. We’ll chalk it up to outstanding groundskeeping at Nymeo Field (where all three have taken place) and some goodwill from the baseball gods.

A sweep of the doubleheader would give the Keys a big lift. After a loss by Lynchburg last night, the orange and black are within 3.5 games of the Hillcats for first place.

The Keys will have two of their best on the mound tonight, as David Hess starts game one for the Keys and Mikey O’Brien gets the ball in game two. Some of you might recall what O’Brien did in his last start.

To say O’Brien being named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week after his no-no was not surprising would be the understatement of the season.

O'Brien POW 640

Potomac has not fared well against their Beltway rival this season, dropping 12 of the 17 head-to-heads. However, the Nationals will have some reinforcements tonight, as Dan Uggla and Tyler Moore join the P-Nats on big league rehab assignments.

As a broadcasters aside, here is one of my favorite home run calls involving Dan Uggla:

First pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m tonight as Tyler Mapes pitches for the P-Nats in game one and Ian Dickson gets the ball in game two. Both are right-hander pitchers, while both of tonight’s games can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Doug Raftery will keep you company on the radio.

Doug will post both lineups later on, but until that time, check out today’s game notes.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 · Game #127/#128 · Road Games #64/#65

Frederick Keys (60-66/28-28) vs Potomac Nationals (58-67/25-30)

G1: RHP David Hess (8-4, 3.78) vs. RHP Tyler Mapes (4-2, 2.51)

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: The Frederick Keys and the Potomac Nationals were postponed on Monday night due to rain. That sets up a doubleheader on Tuesday night at Pfitzner Stadium, beginning at 5 p.m. Both games will be seven innings. This season, the Keys have played three true doubleheaders (quasi-doubleheaders excluded). All took place in the first half, with the Keys sweeping two (both against Lynchburg) and splitting the other against Myrtle Beach. Frederick’s 5-1 doubleheader record is the best in the Carolina League, while Potomac’s 7-7 mark places them fifth. The Keys three doubleheaders are by far the fewest in the CL, as all other teams have played at least six twinbills.

LONGBALL HELPS PELICANS WITHSTAND LATE RALLY: The Frederick Keys rallied for three runs in the ninth inning, but four Myrtle Beach Pelicans home runs proved to be too much to overcome, in a 9-7 setback on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. With the loss, the season-series ends in an 8-8 draw. Down 5-4 going to the ninth inning, the Keys committed a critical error which opened the gates to a four-run Pelicans frame. With two outs and a runner at first, Chesny Young hit a groundball to Tanner Witt at third, which appeared to be the final out of the inning. However, Witt’s throw sailed into rightfield to put runners at the corners. From there, Pin-Chieh Chen singled home Kevin Brown, while Ben Carhart hit a three-run homer to left. Despite holding a five-run lead, the Pelicans turned to their closer Jasvir Rakkar, who needed 31 pitches to get through the home-ninth. Two walks and a single by Jeff Kemp loaded the bases with one out, before Wynston Sawyer drove in a run with a sac-fly. An infield single by Tad Gold then reloaded the bases for Adrian Marin. He hit a groundball to third, but Carhart’s throw sailed into right, allowing two more runs to score. In the end, the comeback came up short though, as Conor Bierfeldt bounced out to end the game.

COME BACK BALL!: After not allowing any more than three home runs in their first 124 games, Keys pitching has surrendered four home runs in back-to-back contests. That accounted for 18 of the Pelicans 19 runs over the last two days of the series. Three of those came from Ben Carhart, who became the fourth opposing player to hit two home runs in a game off Keys pitching this year. Meanwhile, Mitch Horacek (three), John Means (two) and Dylan Rheault (two) either set or tied their career-highs for home runs allowed. This season, Keys pitching has given up 81 home runs, tops in the CL.

ONE LAST TASTE OF DIVISIONAL PLAY: For the final time in the regular season, the Keys will face a divisional opponent when they begin a three-game series with the Potomac Nationals on Tuesday. Frederick is currently 2.5 games ahead of Potomac in the CL North standings, while the orange and black have already claimed the season-set against the P-Nats. Owners of a 12-5 record against the P-Nats, the Keys have fared better against the Nationals than any other CL team this year. The last time the Keys faced the Nationals, the orange and black earned a three-game sweep (July 22-24).

HERE COME THE BATS: After scoring three runs or less in seven straight games, the Keys offense has shown some improvement in its last three contests, posting four runs or more each time. Ending with seven runs and 11 hits, the Keys put together their most productive day at the plate since August 12, when the team scored 10 runs on 14 hits against Lynchburg. Another encouraging sign, was the Keys 5-for-14 showing with runners in scoring position, after the team went just 9-for-64 (.141) in its previous nine games. This season when Frederick scores four or more runs in a game, the team is 45-16 as opposed to 15-50 when tallying three or less.

O’BRIEN NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday, Mikey O’Brien was named the Carolina League’s “Pitcher of the Week” for August 17-23. The honor comes after O’Brien threw a seven-inning no-hitter at Lynchburg on Thursday in the back-end of a quasi-doubleheader. Over seven innings he struck out nine, walked one and allowed only two baserunners to reach. The right-hander retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced. The no-hitter was the fourth individual no-hitter in club history, as O’Brien joined Nathan Moreau, John Maine and Eric Shullstrom as the only Keys pitchers to throw their own no-no. Outstanding since his return from Double-A, O’Brien has not allowed a run in his last 17.1 innings and has not given up an earned marker in his last 19.1 stanzas.

SAWYER SLUGGING: Wynston Sawyer has driven in six runs in his last four games, while he is 4 for his last 11 at the plate. Three of those hits have gone for extra-bases, while Sawyer hit home runs on both Friday and Saturday, his first two longballs of the year. Entering Monday with 32 RBIs, nearly half of them have come in the month of August, as Sawyer has 15 in 18 games.

AGAINST POTOMAC: Frederick is 12-7 against the Nationals this year, and 7-3 in games at Pfitzner Stadium, the Keys mark in any road venue this season. As a team, the Keys are batting .242 against Potomac and boast a 3.37 staff ERA. P-Nats hitters are batting .251 against the Keys and hold a 3.24 staff ERA. Individually, the Keys are led by Conor Bierfeldt, who is batting .300 (6-for-20) against Nationals arms over eight games.

ANOTHER PHOTO FINISH: Since Frederick’s 8-2 loss to Lynchburg last Tuesday night, four of the Keys last five games have been decided by two runs or less. Since July 25, 19 of the Keys last 27 games have come down to three runs or less (the Keys are 12-15 during that time). Frederick has fared well in nail-bitters this season, with the team boasting a 22-17 mark in one-run games (second-best in the league) and the circuit’s top mark in two-run games (15-9).

STILL STREAKING: Garrett Cortright kept his scoreless innings streak intact last Thursday, tossing two clean innings. Dating back to his time at Low-A Delmarva, the New York native has not allowed a run in his last 11.2 frames while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 35.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Over six games with the Keys, Cortright has tossed nine scoreless innings, giving up five hits to go with a walk and six strikeouts. Opponents are batting only .167 against him.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHERS: Right-hander Tyler Mapes makes his 30th appearance this season and his sixth start. Combined between Potomac and Low-A Hagerstown he is 5-2 with a 2.32 ERA and has logged 77.2 innings. His most recent outing came at Wilmington last Tuesday. Tossing a season-high six innings, Mapes picked up the win allowing one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out five. Promoted to the Nationals on April 20, Mapes is 4-2 with one save and a 2.51 ERA over 27 games (five starts) for the Nationals. Outstanding as a starter with Potomac, the right-hander has gone 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA (23 IP/2ER) while he has struck out 17 and walked only one. Opponents are batting nearly 100 points lower when Mapes starts (.205) compared to when he throws in relief (.300). Last season, Mapes turned in a combined 1.14 ERA over 17 games (all in relief) between the GCL Nationals and Short-Season Auburn. Selected by Washington in the 30th round of the 2014 draft out of Tulane, Mapes pitched three seasons for the Green Wave and went 5-5 with a 2.20 ERA as a redshirt senior. A pitcher with outstanding command, Mapes left the school with the eighth-best single-season BB/9IP ratio (1.65). One of three colleges Mapes attended, the Texan spent one season at the Naval Academy (2010) and one year at Navarro College (2011) where he helped lead the Bulldogs to an NJCAA National Championship and was a third-team All-American. Mapes throws a fastball, a slider and a split-changeup. Ian Dickson makes the game two start for the P-Nats. Splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen, the right-hander’s most recent outing came last Wednesday at Wilmington. Pitching two innings of relief, Dickson allowed two runs on two hits. Prior to that game, Dickson made four consecutive starts. As a starter is he is 2-2 in five games with a 4.50 ERA. Dickson opened the year on the disabled list, and joined the team on July 2. With the Nationals in 2014, he went 5-9 with a 4.37 ERA. He was acquired from the Cubs in a trade for Nationals right-hander Henry Rodriguez in June 2013.

The Keys Last Divisional Series Gets Underway Tonight!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Keys begin a three-game series and a seven-game roadtrip on Monday night. Potomac is first on the docket, while it marks the final three divisional games the Keys will play in the regular season. This season, the Keys have enjoyed playing their Beltway rival, winning 12 of the 17 meetings. Seven of those wins have come at Pfitzner Stadium.

To keep the trend going, the Keys will send David Hess to the mound. The Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Month for July will be opposed by Nationals righty Tyler Mapes.

For those who didn’t hear, Mikey O’Brien was named the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Week earlier today after throwing a seven-inning no-hitter last Thursday at Lynchburg. Probably one of the easiest “Pitcher of the Week” calls the league has had to make all year.

Tonight’s First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Doug Raftery will keep you company for this series and the upcoming one to Winston-Salem.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Monday, August 24, 2015 · Game #127 · Home Game #64

Frederick Keys (60-66/28-28) vs Potomac Nationals (58-67/25-30)

RHP David Hess (8-4, 3.78) vs. RHP Tyler Mapes (4-2, 2.51)

LONGBALL HELPS PELICANS WITHSTAND LATE RALLY: The Frederick Keys rallied for three runs in the ninth inning, but four Myrtle Beach Pelicans home runs proved to be too much to overcome, in a 9-7 setback on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. With the loss, the season-series ends in an 8-8 draw, while Lynchburg gains a game in the CL North standings following a 2-0 win over Potomac. Down 5-4 going to the ninth inning, the Keys committed a critical error which opened the gates to a four-run Pelicans frame. With two outs and a runner at first, Chesny Young hit a groundball to Tanner Witt at third, which appeared to be the final out of the inning. However, Witt’s throw sailed into rightfield to put runners at the corners. From there, Pin-Chieh Chen singled home Kevin Brown, while Ben Carhart hit a three-run homer to left. Despite holding a five-run lead, the Pelicans turned to their closer Jasvir Rakkar, who needed 31 pitches to get through the home-ninth. Two walks and a single by Jeff Kemp loaded the bases with one out, before Wynston Sawyer drove in a run with a sac-fly. An infield single by Tad Gold then reloaded the bases for Adrian Marin. He hit a groundball to third, but Carhart’s throw sailed into right, allowing two more runs to score. In the end, the comeback came up short though, as Conor Bierfeldt bounced out to end the game.

LONGBALL BLUES: After not allowing any more than three home runs in their first 124 games, Keys pitching has surrendered four home runs in back-to-back contests. That accounted for 18 of the Pelicans 19 runs over the last two days of the series. Three of those came from Ben Carhart, who became the fourth opposing player to hit two home runs in a game off Keys pitching this year. Meanwhile, Mitch Horacek (three), John Means (two) and Dylan Rheault (two) either set or tied their career-highs for home runs allowed. This season, Keys pitching has given up 81 home runs, tops in the CL.

ONE LAST TASTE OF DIVISIONAL PLAY: For the final time in the regular season, the Keys will face a divisional opponent when they begin a three-game series with the Potomac Nationals on Monday. Frederick is currently 2.5 games ahead of Potomac in the CL North standings, while the orange and black have already claimed the season-set against the P-Nats. Owners of a 12-5 record against the P-Nats, the Keys have fared better against the Nationals than any other CL team this year. The last time the Keys faced the Nationals, the orange and black earned a three-game sweep (July 22-24).

HERE COME THE BATS: After scoring three runs or less in seven straight games, the Keys offense has shown some improvement in its last three contests, posting four runs or more each time. Ending with seven runs and 11 hits, the Keys put together their most productive day at the plate since August 12, when the team scored 10 runs on 14 hits against Lynchburg. Another encouraging sign, was the Keys 5-for-14 showing with runners in scoring position, after the team went just 9-for-64 (.141) in its previous nine games. This season when Frederick scores four or more runs in a game, the team is 45-16 as opposed to 15-50 when tallying three or less.

O’BRIEN NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday, Mikey O’Brien was named the Carolina League’s “Pitcher of the Week” for August 17-23. The honor comes after O’Brien threw a seven-inning no-hitter at Lynchburg on Thursday in the back-end of a quasi-doubleheader. Over seven innings he struck out nine, walked one and allowed only two baserunners to reach. The right-hander retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced. The no-hitter was the fourth individual no-hitter in club history, as O’Brien joined Nathan Moreau, John Maine and Eric Shullstrom as the only Keys pitchers to throw their own no-no. Outstanding since his return from Double-A, O’Brien has not allowed a run in his last 17.1 innings and has not given up an earned marker in his last 19.1 stanzas.

SAWYER SLUGGING: Wynston Sawyer has driven in six runs in his last four games, while he is 4 for his last 11 at the plate. Three of those hits have gone for extra-bases, while Sawyer hit home runs on both Friday and Saturday, his first two longballs of the year. Entering Monday with 32 RBIs, nearly half of them have come in the month of August, as Sawyer has 15 in 18 games.

AGAINST POTOMAC: Frederick is 12-7 against the Nationals this year, and 7-3 in games at Pfitzner Stadium, the Keys mark in any road venue this season. As a team, the Keys are batting .242 against Potomac and boast a 3.37 staff ERA. P-Nats hitters are batting .251 against the Keys and hold a 3.24 staff ERA. Individually, the Keys are led by Conor Bierfeldt, who is batting .300 (6-for-20) against Nationals arms over eight games.

ANOTHER PHOTO FINISH: Since Frederick’s 8-2 loss to Lynchburg on Tuesday night, four of the Keys last five games have been decided by two runs or less. Since July 25, 19 of the Keys last 27 games have come down to three runs or less (the Keys are 12-15 during that time). Frederick has fared well in nail-bitters this season, with the team boasting a 22-17 mark in one-run games (second-best in the league) and the circuit’s top mark in two-run games (15-9).

STILL STREAKING: Garrett Cortright kept his scoreless innings streak intact on Thursday, tossing two clean innings. Dating back to his time at Low-A Delmarva, the New York native has not allowed a run in his last 11.2 frames while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 35.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Over six games with the Keys, Cortright has tossed nine scoreless innings, giving up five hits to go with a walk and six strikeouts. Opponents are batting only .167 against him.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Tyler Mapes makes his 30th appearance this season and his sixth start. Combined between Potomac and Low-A Hagerstown he is 5-2 with a 2.32 ERA and has logged 77.2 innings. His most recent outing came at Wilmington last Tuesday. Tossing a season-high six innings, Mapes picked up the win allowing one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out five. Promoted to the Nationals on April 20, Mapes is 4-2 with one save and a 2.51 ERA over 27 games (five starts) for the Nationals. Outstanding as a starter with Potomac, the right-hander has gone 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA (23 IP/2ER) while he has struck out 17 and walked only one. Opponents are batting nearly 100 points lower when Mapes starts (.205) compared to when he throws in relief (.300). Last season, Mapes turned in a combined 1.14 ERA over 17 games (all in relief) between the GCL Nationals and Short-Season Auburn. Selected by Washington in the 30th round of the 2014 draft out of Tulane, Mapes pitched three seasons for the Green Wave and went 5-5 with a 2.20 ERA as a redshirt senior. A pitcher with outstanding command, Mapes left the school with the eighth-best single-season BB/9IP ratio (1.65). One of three colleges Mapes attended, the Texan spent one season at the Naval Academy (2010) and one year at Navarro College (2011) where he helped lead the Bulldogs to an NJCAA National Championship and was a third-team All-American. Mapes throws a fastball, a slider and a split-changeup.

Keys look to win rubber match with Myrtle Beach

Last night the Keys fell 10-5 to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans despite getting a late rally as this set up a rubber match on Sunday afternoon. Frederick did not fall in the standings as they still trail Lynchburg in the standings by three games. Looking to win the series finale, the orange and black will look to send out southpaw Mitch Horacek (7-14, 4.41) as he would be making only his second start against the Pelicans this season as he is 0-1. Horacek will be countered with Brad Markey (5-0, 0.85) who is making his third appearance against the Keys this year where he is 1-0. Today’s game will start at 2:00 PM. It is also your last chance to meet the 2015 Frederick Keys.

Today’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Jay Gonzalez LF

Jeff Kemp 2B

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Tad Gold RF

Adrian Marin SS

Conor Bierfeldt DH

Anthony Caronia 3B

Daniel Fajardo C

8/23 Game Notes

LONGBALL LEADS PELICANS PAST KEYS: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans hit a season-high four home runs en route to a 10-5 win over the Frederick Keys on Saturday night at Nymeo Field. All 10 Birds runs came via the longball and forces a Sunday rubber match. John Means surrendered two homers in his Carolina League debut, with the first coming in the third. After back-to-back singles by Carlos Penalver and Kevin Brown, Pin-Chieh Chien slammed a three-run homer off the rightfield foul pole to make it 3-0. The Keys deficit would grow to as many as eight runs, as Ben Carhart slugged a three-run shot in the sixth and Mark Zagunis followed with a two-run blast in the seventh. In the home seventh, the Keys rallied, scoring five times while sending all nine men to bat. The big blows came from Wynston Sawyer and Conor Bierfeldt, with Sawyer hitting a two-run homer to right and Bierfeldt driving in a pair with a double down the leftfield line. Bierfeldt later scored on an error by the pitcher to push the Keys within three, bur Jacob Rogers hit a two-run homer in the eighth to put the game on ice for the Pelicans.

LONGBALL BLUES: On Friday, Keys arms allowed a season-high four home runs. The previous high-water mark was three home runs, something that occurred six times (most recently last Sunday against Carolina). John Means tied his career-high with two longballs allowed, while it marked the first time Dylan Rheault had given up two home runs in a game. This season, Keys pitching has given up 77 home runs, most in the Carolina League. However prior to last night, Frederick arms had given up just three home runs in 14 games against the Pelicans.

TIME FOR ANOTHER RUBBER MATCH: Sunday will mark the Keys 15th rubber match of the season. In deciding games this year, the Keys are 7-7, with the most recent one taking place 10 days ago at Nymeo Field (a 2-1 Keys win over Lynchburg). This season, all four three-game sets between the Keys and Pelicans have come down to a rubber game, with the orange and black winning two of the three so far.

HERE COME THE BATS: The five-run seventh inning on Saturday was a breath of fresh air for the Keys offense. It was the team’s biggest inning since July 19, when Frederick scored five times in the third inning against Reynaldo Lopez en route to a 6-0 win. Moreover, the five runs marked the most the Keys had scored in their last nine games. After scoring three runs or less in seven straight games, Frederick has racked up nine total runs in their last two contests. Still, Frederick has scored three runs or less in 12 of its 19 games in August, and is averaging 3.47 runs per game this month.

A LITTLE HELP!: Hitting with runners in scoring position has been a challenge over the last nine games, with the Keys batting just .141 (9-for-64) during that time. Frederick has also left 44 runners on base and averaged just six hits per game. Currently, the orange and black are hitting .252 with runners in scoring position, placing them seventh out of eight teams in the CL.

ANOTHER PHOTO FINISH: Since Frederick’s 8-2 loss to Lynchburg on Tuesday night, three of the Keys last four games have been decided by two runs or less. One week prior, things were even tighter, with the orange and black playing three straight one-run games from August 13-15. Since July 25, 18 of the Keys last 26 games have come down to three runs or less (the Keys are 12-14 during that time). Frederick has fared well in nail-bitters this season, with the team boasting a 22-17 mark in one-run games (second-best in the league) and the circuit’s top mark in two-run games (15-8). The last series between Frederick and Myrtle Beach at Nymeo Field was very tight, with all three games coming down to two runs and two coming down to a single marker.

O’BRIEN NO-HIT NUGGETS: Pitching in his home state with family and friends in attendance, Mikey O’Brien pitched his first career no-hitter on Thursday night in the second game of a quasi-doubleheader against Lynchburg. Over seven innings he struck out nine, walked one and allowed only two baserunners to reach. The right-hander retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced. The no-hitter was the fourth individual no-hitter in club history, as O’Brien joins Nathan Moreau, John Maine and Eric Shullstrom as Keys pitchers to throw their own no-no. Outstanding since his return from Double-A, O’Brien has not allowed a run in his last 17.1 innings and has not given up an earned marker in his last 19.1 stanzas.

STILL STREAKY: Over the last month, the Keys have been incredibly streaky. Beginning on July 22, the Keys went on a four-game winning streak. That was followed by a six-game losing streak (tying a season-high) from July 26-31, before the club rattled off four more wins from August 1-5. From there, the Keys dropped four of five, won four straight from August 12-16, ended a three-game slide Thursday and have now won back-to-back games. Since the all-star break, the club has turned in four different four-game winning streaks, as well as three different skids of three contests or more.

STILL STREAKING: Garrett Cortright kept his scoreless innings streak intact on Thursday, tossing two clean innings. Dating back to his time at Low-A Delmarva, the New York native has not allowed a run in his last 11.2 frames while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 35.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Over six games with the Keys, Cortright has tossed nine scoreless innings, giving up five hits to go with a walk and six strikeouts. Opponents are batting only .167 against him.

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: The Keys and Pelicans square off for the 16th and final time on Sunday. Frederick holds an 8-7 lead in the season series. As a team, the Keys are batting .256 against Pelicans pitching and hold a 4.43 staff ERA. Myrtle Beach hitters are batting .279 against Keys arms and hold a 3.30 ERA. Individually, Josh Hart (.314/16-51) leads the Frederick offense while Chesney Young (.421/24-57) and Jacob Rogers (.400/10-25) pace the Pelicans.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Brad Markey makes his 20th overall appearance on Sunday and his eighth start. Between Myrtle Beach and Low-A South Bend he is 5-0 with a 1.51 ERA (71 IP/12ER). With the Pelicans Markey is 5-0 with a 0.85 ERA (42 IP/4ER) to go with six walks and 28 strikeouts. Opponents are batting just .170 against him. Markey’s most recent outing came last Sunday against Lynchburg. Picking up the win, Markey tossed 6.2 shutout innings, giving up one walk and striking out four. All of the right-hander’s starts have been quality outings, while he has won five of his last six games. After making 15 appearances out of the bullpen last year, Markey has thrived as a starter, posting a 1.27 ERA (42.2 IP/6ER) between Low-A and Advanced-A. This will be Markey’s third start against the Keys. He is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA (12 IP/2ER) against the orange and black. Promoted to Myrtle Beach on July 5, the Bel Air, MD native went 0-0 with two saves and a 2.48 ERA in 12 games with Low-A South Bend. Although he did not make a start until his final appearance, eight of Markey’s 11 relief appearances last two or more innings. Selected by Chicago in the 19th round of the 2014 draft out of Virginia Tech, the righty went a combined 1-1 with a 3.10 ERA (15 relief appearances) between the AZL Cubs and Short-Season Boise Hawks of the Northwest League. Markey played college baseball at three different schools. He began at Georgia Tech and rarely pitched, transferring to Santa Fe (FL) the same JUCO his counterpart Chris Lee attended (the two did not play together). From there, Markey moved to Blacksburg and was twice an ACC All-Academic selection.

Keys look to win series vs Myrtle Beach tonight

Last night the Keys kept to momentum going from the no-hitter on Thursday to win the first game of the series with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans last night by a score of 4-3 thanks to a pair of home runs from Wynston Sawyer and Adrian Marin, plus a clutch sacrifice fly from Josh Hart.

Frederick will look to win the three game set tonight as they will send out southpaw John Means (0-0, – -) as he will be making his Keys debut. The Pelicans look to counter with Paul Blackburn (6-5, 2.99) who is making his fourth appearance against the orange and black this season as he is 1-2. Tonight’s contest will begin at 6:00 PM as it is Salute to the Orioles night. Kevin Gausman bobbleheads will be given out at the gates.

Tonight’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Tad Gold RF

Jeff Kemp 2B

Wynston Sawyer C

Yaisel Mederos 1B

Adrian Marin SS

Anthony Caronia 3B

Conor Bierfeldt DH

Jay Gonzalez LF

8/22 Game Notes

O’BRIEN THROWS NO-HITTER, KEYS SPLIT TWINBILL: A pickoff play gone wrong led to a bizarre finish on Friday night at Nymeo Field, as the Frederick Keys hung on for a 4-3 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The win allows the Keys to keep pace with Lynchburg in the CL North standings, after the Hillcats defeated Potomac in the Hill City. With his team ahead by a run, Cody Wheeler came out of the bullpen to face the bottom-third of the Pelicans order. Pin-Chieh Chen appeared to be the first out, but a pop-up at the mound was dropped by first baseman Yaisel Mederos. Daniel Lockhart then bunted Chen to second, but Wheeler bounced back with a strikeout of Carlos Penalver. Needing one more out, the decision was made to intentionally walk Chesny Young, the league’s top hitter, and face Ben Carhart instead. However he never saw a pitch. An attempted pickoff throw to second sailed into center field, allowing Chen to advance to third. Josh Hart’s throw from the outfield snuck by third baseman Anthony Caronia, but Wheeler backed the play up in foul territory. Seeing the throw elude Caronia, Young attempted to advance to second and got in a rundown after Wheeler threw to second. Eventually Young would be retired to end the game. Following a three-run Pelicans fifth which tied the game, Frederick regained the lead in the home-fifth after a triple by Jay Gonzalez and a sac-fly by Hart. The other three Keys runs would come via home runs, as Adrian Marin hit a two-run shot in the second and Wynston Sawyer hit a solo blast in the fourth.

ANOTHER PHOTO FINISH: Since Frederick’s 8-2 loss to Lynchburg on Tuesday night, the Keys have played three straight games decided by two runs or less. One week prior, things were even tighter, with the orange and black playing three straight one-run games from August 13-15. Since July 25, 18 of the Keys last 25 games have come down to three runs or less (the Keys are 12-13 during that time). Frederick has fared well in nail-bitters this season, with the team boasting a 22-17 mark in one-run games (second-best in the league) and the circuit’s top mark in two-run games (15-8). The last series between Frederick and Myrtle Beach at Nymeo Field was very tight, with all three games coming down to two runs and two coming down to a single marker.

FOUR RUN MAGIC: Friday marked the first time the Keys had posted more than three runs in a game since August 12, when the club topped Lynchburg 10-2. In the ensuing seven games, Frederick managed three runs or less, while until last night, the Keys had scored two runs or fewer in five straight contests. Over the last eight contests, the Keys have scored 16 runs (two runs per contest). Although the team has won five of those games, this trend has been present since the start of August. Of Frederick’s 18 games this month, 12 have seen the orange and black score three runs or less (the club is averaging 3.35 runs per game). When the Keys score four or more runs in a game they are 45-14, as opposed to 15-50 when posting three or less.

O’BRIEN NO-HIT NUGGETS: Pitching in his home state with family and friends in attendance, Mikey O’Brien pitched his first career no-hitter on Thursday night in the second game of a quasi-doubleheader against Lynchburg. Over seven innings he struck out nine, walked one and allowed only two baserunners to reach. The right-hander retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced. The no-hitter was the fourth individual no-hitter in club history, as O’Brien joins Nathan Moreau, John Maine and Eric Shullstrom as Keys pitchers to throw their own no-no. Outstanding since his return from Double-A, O’Brien has not allowed a run in his last 17.1 innings and has not given up an earned marker in his last 19.1 stanzas.

A LITTLE HELP!: Hitting with runners in scoring position has been a challenge over the last eight games, with the Keys batting just .138 (8-for-58) during that time. Frederick has also left 40 runners on base and averaged just six hits per game. Currently, the orange and black are hitting .252 with runners in scoring position, placing them seventh out of eight teams in the CL.

STILL STREAKY: Over the last month, the Keys have been incredibly streaky. Beginning on July 22, the Keys went on a four-game winning streak. That was followed by a six-game losing streak (tying a season-high) from July 26-31, before the club rattled off four more wins from August 1-5. From there, the Keys dropped four of five, won four straight from August 12-16, ended a three-game slide Thursday and have now won back-to-back games. Since the all-star break, the club has turned in four different four-game winning streaks, as well as three different skids of three contests or more.

MEANS JOINS KEYS: With Sean Bierman going on the disabled list last Saturday, the Keys have received left-hander John Means from Low-A Delmarva. He makes his Carolina League debut on Saturday when he starts against Myrtle Beach. At the time of his promotion, Means was 9-8 with a 3.50 ERA over 23 games with the Shorebirds. Pitching 118.1 innings, he allowed 136 hits, walked 26 and struck out 89. The highlight of his season came on July 31 against Charleston, when the southpaw threw a seven-inning no-hitter. It was the Shorebirds’ first no-hitter in 17 years. In a corresponding move, Ronan Pacheco was placed on the seven-day disabled list (retroactive to August 19) when a left finger blister.

STILL STREAKING: Garrett Cortright kept his scoreless innings streak intact on Thursday, tossing two clean innings. Dating back to his time at Low-A Delmarva, the New York native has not allowed a run in his last 11.2 frames while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 35.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Over six games with the Keys, Cortright has tossed nine scoreless innings, giving up five hits to go with a walk and six strikeouts. Opponents are batting only .167 against him.

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: The Keys and Pelicans square off for the 15th time on Friday. Frederick holds an 8-6 lead in the season series, while the two clubs will meet just two more times this year (including tonight). As a team, the Keys are batting .261 against Pelicans pitching and hold a 4.02 staff ERA. Myrtle Beach hitters are batting .275 against Keys arms and hold a 3.25 ERA. Individually, Josh Hart (.340/16-47) and Yaisel Mederos (.318/7-for-22) trigger Frederick’s offense while Chesney Young (.423/22-52) and Mark Zagunis (.375/15-40) pace the Pelicans.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Paul Blackburn makes his 17th start of the season on Saturday and his fourth against the Keys. The right-hander’s most recent outing came last Saturday against Lynchburg. Earning the win, Blackburn tossed seven innings and allowed one run on four hits. He struck out a career-high nine and hit a batter. Blackburn has turned in three straight quality starts and has lowered his ERA from 3.82 to 2.99 during that time. Placed on the disabled list on June 15, Blackburn has been outstanding since his return (he missed 26 games and was activated on July 13).  Since returning, he has allowed two earned runs in 33 innings, while opponents are hitting .214 against him. Blackburn has turned in consecutive quality starts against the Keys, with the most recent coming on July 8 on the Grand Strand. Tossing six innings, the right-hander allowed two unearned runs on four hits, but was outdueled by David Hess. In three games against Frederick, Blackburn is 1-2 with a 2.50 ERA (18 IP/5ER). Currently in his first season at the Advanced-A level, Blackburn was named a Midwest League All-Star in 2014 for Low-A Kane County. The 21-year-old ended the year with a 9-4 record and a 3.23 ERA, second-best among Cubs farmhands. Selected by the Cubs with the 56th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackburn had a baseball scholarship to attend Arizona State, but elected to sign for a reported $911,700. He was a compensation sandwich pick that Chicago received for losing Carlos Pena to free agency. A three-pitch pitcher, Blackburn throws a fastball, curveball and changeup.

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