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Keys Try For a Winning Roadtrip!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys conclude their three-game series on Sunday night at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m as the orange and black try to take their third rubber game of the year against the Birds.

Today’s lineup and notes are below while the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com!

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

LINEUP

  1. CF Josh Hart
  2. SS Jeff Kemp
  3. C Chance Sisco
  4. 1B Wynston Sawyer
  5. DH Yaisel Mederos
  6. RF Tad Gold
  7. 3B Tanner Witt
  8. 2B Anthony Caronia
  9. LF Jay Gonzalez

RHP Mikey O’Brien

Sunday, August 9, 2015 · Game #114 · Road Game #60

Frederick Keys (54-59/22-21) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (66-46/25-18)

RHP Mikey O’Brien (1-3, 2.84) vs. RHP Brad Markey (3-0, 0.91)

PITCHING LEADS KEYS TO ONE-RUN WIN: The Frederick Keys used outstanding pitching from David Hess, Garrett Cortright and Donnie Hart to earn a 2-1 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Saturday night at TicketReturn.com Field. With the victory, the Keys keep pace with the Lynchburg Hillcats in the CL North race, while the orange and black move back over the .500 mark (22-21). Down 1-0, Frederick scored both its runs in the fourth off Pelicans starter Paul Blackburn. After not allowing a hit through the first three stanzas, the right-hander gave up a leadoff triple to Jeff Kemp. A walk to Chance Sisco put runners at the corners for Wynston Sawyer who hit a groundball to third. With Kemp coming home, Jason Vosler’s throw went over the head of Victor Caritini to tie things up. One batter later, Yaisel Mederos singled in Sisco. On the mound, Hess tossed six innings of one-run baseball, while Cortright and Hart combined on three frames of one-hit ball.

CLOSE CALLS: The Keys have played a host of close games over the last two weeks and Saturday was no exception, as the Keys posted their 18th one-run win of the year. Of Frederick’s last 14 games, 12 have been decided by three runs or less, nine have come down to two runs or less, while five have hinged on one run. Frederick has a 18-16 mark in one-run affairs this season, third-best in the Carolina League, while the 34 one-run games are tied for third-most in the circuit. Wilmington has also played 34 one-run games, while the Keys trail Myrtle Beach (40), and Potomac (37) in that department. Meanwhile, the orange and black hold the league’s best record in two-run games (14-8). A team that is not unaccustomed to close games, from April 10-May 2, 18 of the Keys 21 contests came down to three or fewer runs.

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS: On Sunday, the orange and black will play their 13th rubber game of the season. This year, the Keys are 6-6 in deciding contests, while the club’s most recent rubber game came last Sunday against the Pelicans. Frederick earned a 2-0 win in that game as David Hess tossed seven shutout innings. All three three-game sets between the Keys and the Birds have come down to a rubber game, with the first two going to the orange and black.

HESS KEEPS DEALING: David Hess continued his hot stretch of pitching on Saturday, picking up his second win against the Pelicans. Coming off an impressive July where he went 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA, the Tennessee native is now 2-0 in his first two August outings with a 0.69 ERA (13IP/1R). Since the all-star break, Hess has not allowed any more than two runs in any of his nine starts and is 5-0 with a 1.37 ERA during that time. Moreover, the Keys have won eight of the last nine times when the righty has been on the mound.

A LITTLE STREAKY: Over their last 17 games, the Keys have been very streaky. From July 22-25 the orange and black won four games in-a-row, before going on a six-game slide from July 26-31. The Keys then won four straight from August 1-5, before snapping a two-game slide with a win last night. In the second-half, Frederick has gone on three different four-game winning streaks, while the Keys longest run of the season is six games. Meanwhile, the six-game slide equals a season-high. During this two week-plus stretch of baseball, the club found itself in first place for the first seven days, but has been in second for the last 10. Entering Sunday, the orange and black are three games behind Lynchburg for first place.

FINDING HIS STROKE: After a slow start at the plate, Jay Gonzalez has picked up steam over the last week . In his last nine games, the Keys outfielder is batting .333 (10-for-30) with a triple, a double, three RBIs and four runs scored. He has safely in eight of those nine contests, and is currently the owner of a five-game hitting streak, his longest as a member of the Keys. Thanks to this recent run, Gonzalez has seen his batting average climb from .213 to .244, the highest it has been since July 21.

KNOCKING OFF THE RUST:  Yaisel Mederos may not have played in a professional game in more than a year when he suited up for the Keys on July 29, but the Cuban has turned it on of late. Entering Sunday with an eight-game hitting streak, the 26-year-old is batting .303 (10-for-33) over that time to go with two home runs, a double, five RBIs and six runs scored. He enters today with a .270 average. Mederos played four seasons for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series (2008, 2011-13) and batted .268 with 13 home runs and 64 RBIs in 164 total games.

MORE QUALITY: In five of the last eight games, a Keys starting pitcher has delivered a quality start. David Hess posted his sixth on Saturday, and his third against the Pelicans. For the year, starters have turned in 27 quality outings, with 20 of those coming since the all-star break. A Keys starter has allowed more than three earned runs only twice in the last 17 games.

ROAD SWEET HOME?: Although the Keys are seven games below .500 for the year on the road, the team has played very well of late away from home. The orange and black have won three of their last four series, going 9-6 during that stretch. That includes a sweep of Potomac, plus series wins against the Blue Rocks and Red Sox. In the second-half, the Keys are two games over .500 on the road (12-11), while only Winston-Salem (13-6) and Lynchburg (11-9) have winning road records since the all-star break

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: Frederick and Myrtle Beach square off for the 13th time on Sunday. Despite holding the top overall record in the Carolina League (66-46), the Pelicans trail in the season-series (7-5). The orange and black have won both three-game sets thus far (including the latest last weekend) while the two sides split a four-game affair at Nymeo Field from June 9-11. Myrtle Beach only has a losing record against two teams, Frederick and Winston-Salem (10-11). As a team, the Keys are hitting .252 against Pelicans pitching and hold a 3.81 ERA. Myrtle Beach is batting .268 against the orange and black and hold a 3.26 ERA. Jay Gonzalez (.353/6-17), Chance Sisco (.346/9-26) and Yaisel Mederos (.333/5-for-15)  fare the best offensively.

LEE PROMOTED TO DOUBLE-A: On Monday afternoon, Chris Lee was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 12th Frederick player to advance to either Double-A or Triple-A this season. Moving to the Eastern League for the first time, Lee went 3-6 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts for the Keys. In his last seven Advanced-A outings, the Floridian registered a 1.47 ERA. In a corresponding move, Garrett Cortright joins the Keys from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games he went 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA. A South Atlantic League All-Star, Cortright was third among relievers in BB/9IP ratio (1.34), fourth in games finished (23) and tied for fourth in saves (12).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Brad Markey makes his 18th appearance of the season on Sunday and his sixth start. Combined between Myrtle Beach and Low-A South Bend he is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA (58.2 IP/11ER). With Myrtle Beach the righty is 3-0 with a 0.91 ERA in five games (four starts). Recently named the Cubs Minor League “Pitcher of the Month” Markey’s most recent outing came against the Keys last Saturday. Tossing six innings, he allowed one run on four hits in a no-decision to go with a walk and a strikeout. After making 15 appearances out of the bullpen this year, Markey has thrived as a starter, posting a 1.50 ERA (30IP/5ER) between Low-A and Advanced-A, while turning in three quality outings. 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 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 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) College the same junior college that former Keys pitcher Chris Lee attended (the two did not play together). From there, Markey moved to Blacksburg and was twice an ACC All-Academic selection. He throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Keys Try and Move Back Over .500 on Saturday Night

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Frederick Keys continue their three-game series in Myrtle Beach on Saturday night at TicketReturn.com Field. The Keys come off an 8-4 setback last night, in a game that featured three multi-run innings by the Birds.

The good news is that David Hess makes the start for the Keys on Saturday. Coming off seven shutout innings last Sunday against Myrtle Beach, the Tennessee native picked up 15 flyball outs. as the Keys were 2-0 winners. He will be opposed by Paul Blackburn who also tossed seven scoreless in his last game…against the Keys. After missing more than a month due to injury, the Pelicans righty has allowed only one run in 20 innings in the second-half.

For those of you who missed Keys Corner earlier today, don’t fear, we’ve got a couple of interviews for you to check out!

David Hess joins us first, and discusses his latest start, whether he had ever gotten 15 fly outs in a game before, and how he adjusts when he is struggling to throw his secondary offerings for strikes:

Josh Hart explains how being a good left fielder has made him a better centerfielder, how he maintains an aggressively selective approach at the plate, and what he leans on to get through an overnight bus ride:

Mikey O’Brien talks about another start in his own backyard (he pitched against Salem and is from Roanoke), playing baseball as a diabetic. while he also recounts his scariest travel story:

We’ll post more interviews over these final few weeks. Tonight’s broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m and we hit the air at 6:50. We’ll have some fun.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Saturday, August 8, 2015 · Game #113 · Road Game #59

Frederick Keys (53-59/21-21) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (66-45/25-17)

RHP David Hess (6-4, 3.98) vs. RHP Paul Blackburn (5-4, 3.42)

RED SOX SALVAGE SERIES FINALE: Frederick Keys pitching walked nine batters, while the Myrtle Beach Pelicans used three multi-run innings to earn an 8-4 victory on Friday night at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park. Myrtle Beach jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first, after the first three reached via walk. Cael Brockmeyer plated the first run with an infield single, while a single by Ben Carhart and an error by Jay Gonzalez brought in two more. The Birds led by as many as six, thanks in part to home runs by Carhart and Carlos Penalver. On the mound, Jeremy Null retired the first 13 Keys he faced, before allowing a pair of runs in the fifth. Wynston Sawyer provided the first blow with an RBI double to left-center, and later came in on a single by Gonzalez. However, the Pelicans scored two of their own in the home-fifth to match their opponent and maintained a lead of four or more the entire way.

WALK THIS WAY: On Friday, Keys pitching walked nine batters for the first time in nearly a month. The last time it occurred was on July 9, when the orange and black walked nine at Wilmington. The nine free rides are two short of a season-high and are tied for the second-most Keys arms have given out since the all-star break (Frederick pitching walked 10 on June 26 at Salem). This season, the pitching staff has walked nine or more in a game on 11 occasions and includes three games of double-digit walks.

CLOSE CALLS: Although Friday’s game was decided by four runs, the Keys have been involved in a number of nick-and-tuck affairs recently. Of the last 13 games, 11 have been decided by three runs or less, eight have come down to two runs or less, while four have hinged on one run. Frederick has a 17-16 mark in one-run affairs this season, third-best in the Carolina League, while the Keys have played the fourth-most one-run games in the circuit. They trail Myrtle Beach (39), Potomac (37) and Wilmington (34) in that department. Meanwhile, the orange and black hold the league’s best record in two-run games (14-8). A team that is not unaccustomed to close games, from April 10-May 2, 18 of the Keys 21 contests came down to three or fewer runs.

A LITTLE STREAKY: Over their last 16 games, the Keys have been very streaky. From July 22-25 the orange and black won four games in-a-row, before going on a six-game slide from July 26-31. From there, the club posted four more wins from August 1-5 and has now dropped its last two ballgames. In the second-half, Frederick has gone on three different four-game winning streaks, while the Keys longest run of the season is six games. Meanwhile, the six-game slide equals a season-high. During this two week-plus stretch of baseball, the club found itself in first place for the first seven days, but has been in second for the last nine. Entering Saturday, the orange and black are three games behind Lynchburg for first place.

FINDING HIS STROKE: After a slow start at the plate, Jay Gonzalez has picked up steam over the last week. In his last eight games, the Keys outfielder is batting .348 (9-for-26) with a triple, a double, three RBIs and four runs scored. He has safely in seven of those eight games, while the Floridian has an RBI in three straight games (the third time he has posted an RBI in three consecutive contests with the Keys). Thanks to this recent run, Gonzalez has seen his batting average climb from .213 to .243, the highest it has been since July 21.

KNOCKING OFF THE RUST:  Yaisel Mederos may not have played in a professional game in more than a year when he suited up for the Keys on July 29, but the Cuban has turned it on of late. Entering Saturday with a seven-game hitting streak, the 26-year-old is batting .310 (9-for-29) over that time to go with two home runs, a double, four RBIs and six runs scored. He enters today with a .273 average. Mederos played four seasons for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series (2008, 2011-13) and batted .268 with 13 home runs and 64 RBIs in 164 total games.

FUN WHILE IT LASTED: The series finale against Salem, concluded the Keys four-game winning streak. That stretch equaled the team’s second-longest winning streak of the campaign, and was tied for the club’s best run in the second-half. In the last three and a half weeks, Frederick has posted three different four-game winning streaks. In spite of those runs, the Keys have been streaky of late. Prior to Thursday’s loss, the Keys had won four in-a-row, then lost six in-a-row, before winning four games from last Saturday-Wednesday.

MORE QUALITY: In four of the last seven games, a Keys starting pitcher has delivered a quality start. Mitch Horacek leads the way this year with nine and fired off his latest on Thursday, tossing six inning and allowing three runs (two earned). For the year, starters have turned in 26 quality outings, with 19 of those coming since the all-star break. A Keys starter has allowed more than three earned runs only twice in the last 16 games, while tonight’s starter, David Hess has not given up more than two runs in any of his eight second-half starts.

ROAD SWEET HOME?: Although the Keys are eight games below .500 for the year on the road, the team has played very well of late away from home. The orange and black have won three of their last four series, going 8-6 during that stretch. That includes a sweep of Potomac, plus series wins against the Blue Rocks and Red Sox. In the second-half, the Keys are one game over .500 on the road (12-11). Only Winston-Salem (13-6) and Lynchburg (11-9) have fared better.

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: Frederick and Myrtle Beach square off for the 12th time on Saturday. Despite holding the top overall record in the Carolina League (66-45), the Pelicans trail in the season-series (6-5). The orange and black have won both three-game sets thus far (including the latest last weekend) while the two sides split a four-game affair at Nymeo Field from June 9-11. Myrtle Beach only has a losing record against two teams, Frederick and Winston-Salem (10-11). As a team, the Keys are hitting .258 against Pelicans pitching and hold a 4.07 ERA. Myrtle Beach is batting .273 against the orange and black and hold a 3.58 ERA. Jay Gonzalez (.385/5-13), Yaisel Mederos (.364/4-for-11) and Chance Sisco (.346/9-26) fare the best offensively.

LEE PROMOTED TO DOUBLE-A: On Monday afternoon, Chris Lee was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 12th Frederick player to advance to either Double-A or Triple-A this season. Moving to the Eastern League for the first time, Lee went 3-6 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts for the Keys. In his last seven Advanced-A outings, the Floridian registered a 1.47 ERA. In a corresponding move, Garrett Cortright joins the Keys from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games he went 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA. A South Atlantic League All-Star, Cortright was third among relievers in BB/9IP ratio (1.34), fourth in games finished (23) and tied for fourth in saves (12).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Paul Blackburn makes his 15th start of the season and his third against the Keys. The right-hander’s most recent outing came last Friday in Frederick. Earning the win, he tossed seven shutout innings, while scattering seven hits. He walked two and struck out three.  The seven innings tied a career high for Blackburn. After missing 26 games due to injury (he was on the disabled list from June 15-July 13) the right-hander has been lights out, giving up one run in 20 (0.45 ERA) innings in four games, while opponents are hitting .246 against him. This will be Blackburn’s third start against the Keys. Over a pair of games he is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA (12 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.

It’s Off to the Grand Strand!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys begin a three-game set with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Friday night on the Grand Strand. The Keys saw their four-game winning streak come to an end on Thursday in Salem, but the club still claimed another road series win, giving the team three in its last four sets. Frederick is now 12-10 in second-half road games. That is tied for the second-best road mark since the all-star break.

Tonight the Keys will send left-hander Matt Taylor to the mound against 6-7 Pelicans righty Jeremy Null. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m from TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans park and we’ll have the broadcast starting at 6:50 on 1450 AM The Source. Today’s notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your Keys!

Geoff

Friday, August 7, 2015 · Game #112 · Road Game #58

Frederick Keys (53-58/21-20) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (65-45/24-17)

LHP Matt Taylor (1-1, 3.48) vs. RHP Jeremy Null (1-1, 4.33)

RED SOX SALVAGE SERIES FINALE: A ninth inning home run by Yaisel Mederos was not enough, as the Frederick Keys left 13 on base in a 3-2 setback to the Salem Red Sox on Thursday night at LewisGale Field. With the loss, the Keys see their four-game winning streak come to a close. Frederick tied the game at one in the fourth after a two-out walk to Conor Bierfeldt and back-to-back singles by Anthony Caronia and Jay Gonzalez. In the fifth, the Red Sox broke the deadlock for good. After consecutive singles by Mauricio Duban and Wendell Rijo put men at the corners, the duo pulled off a double-steal of home, while Rijo later scored on a fielder’s choice by Kevin Heller. In the seventh, the Keys had a chance to pull ahead with the bases loaded, but Taylor Grover got Bierfeldt to pop out to shallow center. Mitch Horacek turned in his third straight quality start but suffered his fourth straight loss.

CLOSE CALLS: The Keys were involved in yet another nip-and-tuck affair on Thursday night, falling by a run to Salem. Of the last 12 games, 11 have been decided by three runs or less, eight have come down to two runs or less, while four have hinged on one run. Frederick has a 17-16 mark in one-run affairs this season, third-best in the Carolina League, while the Keys have played the third-most one-run games in the circuit. They trail on Potomac (37) and Wilmington (34) in that department. Meanwhile, the orange and black hold the league’s best record in two-run games (14-8). A team that is not unaccustomed to close games, from April 10-May 2, 18 of the Keys 21 contests came down to three or fewer runs.

WHERE IT RANKS: The series finale against Salem, concluded the Keys four-game winning streak. That stretch equaled the team’s second-longest winning streak of the campaign, and was tied for the club’s best run in the second-half. In the last three and a half weeks, Frederick has posted three different four-game winning streaks. In spite of those runs, the Keys have been streaky of late. Prior to Thursday’s loss, the Keys had won four in-a-row, then lost six in-a-row, before winning four games from last Saturday-Wednesday.

ROAD SWEET HOME?: Although the Keys are seven games below .500 for the year on the road, the team has played very well of late away from home. The orange and black have won three of their last four series, going 8-5 during that stretch. That includes a sweep of Potomac, plus series wins against the Blue Rocks and Red Sox. In the second-half, the Keys are two games over .500 on the road (12-10). Lynchburg is also two games above sea-level, while Winston-Salem has the best road mark in the second-half at 13-6. This year, the Keys have visited Myrtle Beach only once, taking two of three from May 19-22.

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: Frederick and Myrtle Beach square off for the 11th time on Friday. Despite holding the top overall record in the Carolina League (65-45), the Pelicans trail in the season-series (6-4). The orange and black have won both three-game sets thus far (including the latest last weekend) while the two sides split a four-game affair at Nymeo Field from June 9-11. Myrtle Beach only has a losing record against two teams, Frederick and Winston-Salem (10-11). As a team, the Keys are hitting .262 against Pelicans pitching and hold a 3.62 ERA. Myrtle Beach is batting .275 against the orange and black and hold a 3.64 ERA. Tad Gold (.375/3-for-8), Chance Sisco (.364/8-22) and Yaisel Mederos (.364/4-for-11) fare the best offensively.

KNOCKING OFF THE RUST:  Yaisel Mederos may not have played in a professional game in more than a year when he suited up for the Keys on July 29, but the Cuban has turned it on of late. Entering Friday with a seven-game hitting streak, the 26-year-old is batting .310 (9-for-29) over that time to go with two home runs, a double, four RBIs and six runs scored. He enters today with a .273 average. Mederos played four seasons for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series (2008, 2011-13) and batted .268 with 13 home runs and 64 RBIs in 164 total games.

A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS:  On Wednesday, Salem helped the Keys out by committing seven errors, the most an opponent has made against the orange and black this season. The previous high for an opponent was four errors, a feat which last occurred on May 30 at Nymeo Field, when four Lynchburg miscues led to three unearned runs for the orange and black. On Wednesday, five of the nine Keys runs were unearned. Salem also left 15 on-base (tying the most by an opponent). Frederick pitching though tied its season-high with 18 hits allowed.

MORE QUALITY: In four of the last six games, a Keys starting pitcher has delivered a quality start. Mitch Horacek has led the way this year with nine and fired off his latest on Thursday, tossing six inning and allowing three runs (two earned). For the year, starters have turned in 26 quality outings, with 19 of those coming since the all-star break. In July, Frederick starters posted a combined 2.93 ERA, while over the first five games starters have allowed just nine earned runs in 29.2 innings (2.73). A Keys starter has allowed more than three earned runs only once in the last 15 games.

LEE PROMOTED TO DOUBLE-A: On Monday afternoon, Chris Lee was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 12th Frederick player to advance to either Double-A or Triple-A this season. Moving to the Eastern League for the first time, Lee went 3-6 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts for the Keys. In his last seven Advanced-A outings, the Floridian registered a 1.47 ERA. In a corresponding move, Garrett Cortright joins the Keys from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games he went 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA. A South Atlantic League All-Star, Cortright was third among relievers in BB/9IP ratio (1.34), fourth in games finished (23) and tied for fourth in saves (12).

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: After going a full week without a home run, the Keys have hit five in their last five games. Two of those have come from Austin Wynns, two are courtesy of Yaisel Mederos, while Conor Bierfeldt added a two-run shot on Tuesday. Despite going on a seven-game homer drought, the orange and black rank third in the CL in deep flies (49) trailing only Lynchburg (81) and Carolina (57).

WINNING WITH WYNNS: Austin Wynns enjoyed a great homestand, going 4-for-6 with two home runs, a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. The Californian did a host of his damage on Saturday, when he finished 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and a pair of RBIs. The Keys catcher has now hit safely in five of his last six games, and is batting .444 (8-for-18) during that time with two homers, two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Jeremy Null makes his 18th start of the season on Friday night. Combined between Myrtle Beach and Low-A South Bend he is 7-3 with a 2.91 ERA. In five games with the Pelicans, the 21-year-old is 1-1 with a 4.33 ERA (27IP/13R/30H). His most recent outing came last Thursday against Potomac. Tossing five innings, he allowed two runs on seven hits in a no-decision. It was Null’s first start since being placed on the disabled list on July 20 (he missed 10 days). In four July starts with the Pelicans, he went 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA (22IP/9R). Promoted to Myrtle Beach on June 28, the 6-7 right-hander was lights out for Low-A South Bend, going 6-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 12 starts. A Midwest League All-Star (East Division), Null was the starting pitcher and game MVP, striking out the side in the first inning. The spoils from a fantastic start to the season, Null allowed one earned run across his first five starts, spanning 30.2 innings, while he did not issue a walk until the sixth inning of his fourth start (28.1 IP). With the Cubs, he walked only four in 65.2 innings. For the year, he has a BB/9IP ratio of 0.7 (92.2 IP/7BB). Selected by the Cubs in the 15th round of the 2014 draft, Null played his college baseball at Western Carolina, where he was a second-team All-Southern Conference selection as a sophomore and junior. Null was selected by Seattle in the 37th round of the 2011 draft but did not sign. The right-hander hails from Conover, NC, a town of just over 8,000. Known for its NASCAR presence, Conover is the home of Dale Jarrett Racing ventures. Null throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Keys Try for the Sweep!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys try for a three-game sweep of the Salem Red Sox on Thursday night at LewisGale Field. Last night, the team engineered a 9-7 come-from-behind win thanks in large part to seven Red Sox errors. It was the most a Carolina League team has committed in a game this year, while it led to five unearned Frederick runs.

Down 5-1 at one point, the comeback win also equaled the Keys largest of the year. The other time the Keys have battled back from four down? It came at Salem on April 30.

This season Frederick has swept series against Lynchburg and Potomac. The most recent came against the Nationals at Pfitzner Stadium from July 22-24 (two roadtrips ago). To wrap things up. the Keys will turn to CL all-star Mitch Horacek. He will be opposed by Kevin McAvoy. Second in the league in walks, the righty has often used the double play to get out of his own jams. He has recorded 23 this year, most in the circuit.

First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Broadcast time is at 6:50.

Today’s notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Thursday, August 6, 2015 · Game #111 · Road Game #57

Frederick Keys (53-57/21-19) vs Salem Red Sox (53-57/15-25)

LHP Mitch Horacek (6-12, 4.45) vs. RHP Kevin McAvoy (6-9, 4.12)

SEVEN SALEM ERRORS LEAD KEYS TO SERIES WIN: The Salem Red Sox committed seven errors, two of which fueled a four-run Frederick Keys eighth inning, as the orange and black earned a 9-7 win on Wednesday night at LewisGale Field. It was the club’s fourth straight win, equaling the club’s longest winning streak of the second-half. In the game, Salem made two errors in three different innings, including four over the final two stanzas. In the eighth, the club wiped out a 7-4 deficit, scoring four times off Kyle Kraus. Wynston Sawyer reached on an error by Mauricio Duban to open the inning, and scored one batter later after a double by Conor Bierfeldt. He later scored on a single by Jay Gonzalez, while a base hit by Josh Hart and an RBI bounce out by Tanner Witt tied the game. With the frame still alive, Chance Sisco singled home Hart after going nine pitches against Kraus. Frederick added an insurance run in the ninth, while Garrett Cortright shutdown Salem in its final at-bats to complete the comeback.

COMEBACK KIDS: Wednesday’s victory equaled Frederick’s largest come-from-behind win of the season. In both instances where the Keys have rallied from a four-run deficit, it has come against Salem. On April 30 at LewisGale Field, the Keys trailed 5-1 after three innings, but utilized a four-run sixth and a three-run ninth to earn a 9-8 triumph. With a win in the middle game, the Keys will look for their third sweep of the season on Thursday. The club last broomed the Potomac Nationals from July 22-24 at Pfitzner Stadium. In 2014, the Keys swept Salem twice, including a four-game set from July 7-10 in the Roanoke Valley.

DON’T STOP NOW BOYS: For the third time since the all-star break, the Keys have won four straight games. Previously the orange and black took four straight from July 22-25 and from July 12-16. Both of those streaks came during a torrid 13-game stretch, where the Keys won 11 times. The four-gamer is tied for the team’s second-longest winning streak of the campaign, while the team’s longest run of the year is six games from April 10-15. During this current streak, three of the four contests have hinged on two runs or less, while 10 of Frederick’s last 11 games have been decided by three runs or less.

A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS:  Salem helped the Keys out by committing seven errors, the most an opponent has made against the orange and black this season. The previous high for an opponent was four errors, a feat which last occurred on May 30 at Nymeo Field, when four Lynchburg miscues led to three unearned runs for the orange and black. On Wednesday, five of the nine Keys runs were unearned. Salem also left 15 on-base (tying the most by an opponent). Frederick pitching though tied its season-high with 18 hits allowed.

STARTING PITCHING STREAK SNAPPED: Mikey O’Brien came one out shy of a quality start, and extended the scoreless inning streak by Keys starters to 19.1 innings before Mario Martinez broke it up with an RBI single in the sixth. It marked the first run allowed by a Keys starter since the sixth inning of Friday’s game against Myrtle Beach. Meanwhile, the five-run Salem fourth inning ended a string of 13 games where a Keys starter had not allowed more than three earned runs.

LEE PROMOTED TO DOUBLE-A: On Monday afternoon, Chris Lee was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 12th Frederick player to advance to either Double-A or Triple-A this season. Moving to the Eastern League for the first time, Lee went 3-6 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts for the Keys. In his last seven Advanced-A outings, the Floridian registered a 1.47 ERA and held opponents to a .223 average. Six of those outings were quality starts. In a corresponding move, Garrett Cortright joins the Keys from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games he went 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA. A South Atlantic League All-Star, Cortright was third among relievers in BB/9IP ratio (1.34), fourth in games finished (23) and tied for fourth in saves (12).

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: After going a full week without a home run, the Keys have hit four in their last four games. Two of those have come from an unlikely source. With only four professional home runs, Austin Wynns has gone deep in two of his last three contests. Conor Bierfeldt added a two-run shot on Tuesday, while Yaisel Mederos hit his first Carolina League longball on Saturday. In that game, he and Wynns became just the second duo to hit back-to-back homers for the Keys this year. Despite going on a seven-game homer drought, the orange and black rank third in the CL in deep flies (48) trailing only Lynchburg (81) and Carolina (57).

WINNING WITH WYNNS: Austin Wynns enjoyed a great homestand, going 4-for-6 with two home runs, a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. The Californian did a host of his damage on Saturday, when he finished 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and a pair of RBIs. The three hits tied a season-high (he also had three on July 4) and were one short of his career-high (Wynns posted on four-hit game in 2013 with Short-Season Aberdeen). The Keys catcher has now hit safely in five of his last six games, and is batting .444 (8-for-18) during that time with two homers, two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored.

AGAINST SALEM: Frederick and Salem square-off for the 16th and final time on Thursday. The Keys lead the season-series 8-7 and are trying to win their second season-set of the year. The team has already won its season-set with Potomac (12-7) while the Keys have lost season series to Wilmington (10-16) and Carolina (0-10). As a team, the Keys are batting .266 against the Red Sox, and hold a 3.92 ERA. Salem hitters are batting at a .290 clip against Frederick arms and boast a 3.59 ERA. Individually, Tad Gold (2-for-4), Tanner Witt (.421/8-for-19), and Anthony Caronia (.364/12-for-33) lead the team offensively.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: After grounding into three double plays last Friday, the Keys bounced into three more over the final two games of the Myrtle Beach series. Over the last 11 games, Frederick has grounded into 15 double plays, giving them 96 for the season, tied with Wilmington for most in the CL. On Tuesday, the Keys snapped a string of five straight games with a double play ball.

WRAPPING UP JULY: After winning 11 of 13 games from July 12-25, the Keys dropped six straight to finish July with a 15-15 record. Among CL North teams, only the Lynchburg Hillcats (16-14) fared better. As a team, the Keys hit .248 in July, but pitching carried things, with the staff tallying a 3.23 ERA. Individually, Tanner Witt (.310), Chance Sisco (.306) and Tad Gold (.304) led the way, while on the mound Cody Wheeler (0.69), Donnie Hart (1.29), Chris Lee (1.75) and David Hess (1.82) accounted for four of five Keys with ERA’s of 2.50 or lower.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Kevin McAvoy makes his 21st start of the season on Thursday and his second against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Saturday at Potomac. Tying his career-high of seven innings pitched, the right-hander earned the win, giving up one unearned on five hits to go with three walks and two strikeouts. The victory snapped a two-game losing streak. At times, walks have been a bugaboo for the Syracuse, NY native, who is second in the CL in free passes (56) trailing only Lynchburg’s Mitch Brown (58). In seven of his starts McAvoy has walked four or more, while his high-water mark for the year is seven (occurring on April 20 v Myrtle Beach). This will be his second start against the Keys. Facing them on July 10 at Nymeo Field he picked up the win, tossing six innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits. He also got two double plays, in a game where the Keys hit into a season-high five. McAvoy leads the Carolina League with 23 double plays and has picked up at least one in six of his last seven games. He spent all of 2014 at Short-Season Lowell, going 0-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts. He paced the Spinners in ERA, WHIP (0.92) and starts, while nine of his 11 games were scoreless outings. Selected by Boston in the fourth round of last year’s draft, McAvoy played three seasons at Bryant University and is the highest-drafted player in the school’s history. During his tenure there, he was 21-5 with a 3.11 ERA. He was named NEC Rookie of the Year in 2012. A three-pitch pitcher, McAvoy throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Don’t Stop Now Boys!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys come off their third straight victory on Tuesday night, an 8-4 win over the Salem Red Sox that featured two big innings and a host of solid relief pitching. On the night, Conor Bierfeldt paced the offense going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three RBIs, while Dylan Rheault, Garrett Cortright, Matt Taylor and Donnie Hart combined to close the door in the last few innings. Roanoke native and Keys starting pitcher, Mikey O’Brien, picked up the win in front of family and friends, tossing 5.2 innings and allowing three runs.

On Wednesday, the Keys try and equal their longest winning streak of the second-half, as Luis Gonzalez takes the hill against Teddy Stankiewicz. Frederick’s southpaw has been good of late, posting a 3.04 ERA in his last four starts, while he comes off the best month of the season. Stankiewicz will try and avoid losing his 11th game of the season which would move him into second in the CL. A pitcher who does not walk many, the Texan’s career BB/9IP ratio is 1.8.

First pitch comes your way at 7:05 p.m on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. We’ll hit the airwaves at 6:50, so join us on the porch, in the car, in the living room, at the pool (safety first folks) or wherever you happen to be. We’ll have some fun.

Notes are below and lineups will come your way later. Additionally, we will be posting several new interviews on our Soundcloud page shortly, so be sure to check them out!

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 · Game #110 · Road Game #56

Frederick Keys (52-57/20-19) vs Salem Red Sox (53-56/15-24)

LHP Luis Gonzalez (5-8, 6.51) vs. RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (3-10, 3.86)

BATS TAKE OFF IN MIDDLE INNINGS: The Frederick Keys utilized two big innings, while the bullpen fended off a Red Sox rally to lead the orange and black to an 8-4 victory on Tuesday night at LewisGale Field. It was the club’s third straight victory. On the mound, Roanoke native Mikey O’Brien earned the win in front of family and friends, tossing 5.2 innings of three-run baseball. After Trey Ball retired nine straight, three straight Keys reached with out in the fourth. Yaisel Mederos plated the first run after an infield single and an error by Mario Martinez at first which plated Tanner Witt and Chance Sisco. One batter later, Jeff Kemp scored on a sacrifice fly by Wynston Sawyer, while a Conor Bierfeldt double made it 4-0. Frederick stretched its lead to seven one frame later, thanks in part to a two-run Bierfeldt homer, but the Red Sox battled back. Scoring three times in the sixth, Salem also scored once in the seventh, before Garrett Cortright got a fielder’s choice and a double play keep it a three-run contests. Matt Taylor and Donnie Hart each worked scoreless innings to wrap things up, while Jay Gonzalez scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to provide additional insurance.

A LITTLE BREATHING ROOM?: For the first time since July 24, the Keys played a game on Tuesday which did not hinge on three runs or less. Prior to the series opener with the Red Sox, the Keys had played nine games in a row decided by three runs or less, while the previous three games all came down to two or fewer runs. Much of the credit goes to the Frederick offense, which finished with finished with eight runs on 10 hits and saw the club go 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position. That was one more hit than the club had during the entire Myrtle Beach series (2-for-18) with men at second and third. Meanwhile, the eight runs is tied for the second-most the club has registered in a game since the all-star break, and the most the Keys had tallied since July 18.

STARTING PITCHING STREAK SNAPPED: Mikey O’Brien came one out shy of a quality start, and extended the scoreless inning streak by Keys starters to 19.1 innings before Mario Martinez broke it up with an RBI single in the sixth. It marked the first run allowed by a Keys starter since the sixth inning of Friday’s game against Myrtle Beach. In the last four games, O’Brien, David Hess, Chris Lee and Mitch Horacek have combined to allow four runs in 25.1 innings (1.42 ERA). Going back even farther, in the last eight days, starting pitchers have combined on a 2.33 ERA (46.1 IP/12ER) while in the last 13 games no starter has allowed any more than three earned runs.

HART TURNS IT ON: Following a challenging July where he hit only .215 in 30 games, Josh Hart has gotten back on track over his first few games in August. He is 5-for-9 to open the last full month and also has a double and an RBI. On Tuesday, he finished 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. It marked the second straight game he had recorded two or more hits, the first time he had recorded consecutive multi-hit games since July 18-19. This season, Hart has posted recorded multiple hits in three straight games on two prior occasions. He last accomplished the feat from June 28-30 against Wilmington.

LEE PROMOTED TO DOUBLE-A: On Monday afternoon, Chris Lee was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 12th Frederick player to advance to either Double-A or Triple-A this season. Moving to the Eastern League for the first time, Lee went 3-6 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts for the Keys. In his last seven Advanced-A outings, the Floridian registered a 1.47 ERA and held opponents to a .223 average. Six of those outings were quality starts. In a corresponding move, Garrett Cortright joins the Keys from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games he went 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA. A South Atlantic League All-Star, Cortright was third among relievers in BB/9IP ratio (1.34), fourth in games finished (23) and tied for fourth in saves (12).

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: After going a full week without a home run, the Keys have hit four in their last three games. Two of those have come from an unlikely source. With only four professional home runs, Austin Wynns has gone deep in two of his last three contests. Conor Bierfeldt added a two-run shot on Tuesday, while Yaisel Mederos hit his first Carolina League longball on Saturday. In that game, he and Wynns became just the second duo to hit back-to-back homers for the Keys this year. Despite going on a seven-game homer drought, the orange and black rank third in the CL in deep flies (48) trailing only Lynchburg (80) and Carolina (56).

WINNING WITH WYNNS: Austin Wynns enjoyed a great homestand, going 4-for-6 with two home runs, a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. The Californian did a host of his damage on Saturday, when he finished 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and a pair of RBIs. The three hits tied a season-high (he also had three on July 4) and were one short of his career-high (Wynns posted on four-hit game in 2013 with Short-Season Aberdeen). The Keys catcher has now hit safely in five of his last six games, and is batting .444 (8-for-18) during that time with two homers, two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored.

AGAINST SALEM: Frederick and Salem square-off for the 15th time on Tuesday night. The season-set is tied at seven games apiece with only two head-to-head battles remaining in the regular season. In games at LewisGale Field the Keys are 4-3, while the club is 3-4 in contests at Nymeo Field. Prior to Tuesday, both teams met in Frederick from July 10-13, while the four-game series concluded in a stalemate. Salem has won the only second-half series between the two sides in the Roanoke Valley, claiming two of three games. As a team, the Keys are batting .259 against the Red Sox, and hold a 3.77 ERA. Salem hitters are batting at a .278 clip against Frederick arms and boast a 3.56 ERA. Individually, Tanner Witt (.500/7-for-14), Tad Gold (2-for-4) and Anthony Caronia (.345/10-for-29) lead the team offensively.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: After grounding into three double plays on Friday, the Keys bounced into three more over the final two games of the Myrtle Beach series. Over the last 10 games, Frederick has grounded into 14 double plays, giving them 95 for the season, tied with Wilmington for most in the CL. On Tuesday, the Keys snapped a string of five straight games with a double play ball.

WRAPPING UP JULY: After winning 11 of 13 games from July 12-25, the Keys dropped six straight to finish July with a 15-15 record. Among CL North teams, only the Lynchburg Hillcats (16-14) fared better. As a team, the Keys hit .248 in July, but pitching carried things, with the staff tallying a 3.23 ERA. Individually, Tanner Witt (.310), Chance Sisco (.306) and Tad Gold (.304) led the way, while on the mound Cody Wheeler (0.69), Donnie Hart (1.29), Chris Lee (1.75) and David Hess (1.82) accounted for four of five Keys with ERA’s of 2.50 or lower.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz makes his 20th start and his second against the Keys on Wednesday. Ranked the No.20 prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America, the 21-year-old’s most recent outing came last Wednesday at Lynchburg. Tagged with the loss, Stankiewicz allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits in five innings. It was his 10th loss of the season, tying him for third in the CL. The outing before (July 20) Stankiewicz left the game after one inning after taking a line drive off his shoulder and then head. Overall the Texan’s numbers were solid in July, as he went 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in five games and held opponents to a .244 average. This marks his second start against Frederick, with his first coming on April 30. Working five innings, he gave up five runs on six hits in a no-decision. In that game, Keys starter Matt Taylor suffered a concussion after getting hit by a line drive. Stankiewicz spent 2014 at Low-A Greenville going 11-8 with a 3.72 ERA. In his final six starts, he went 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA and held opponents to a .199 average against in August. A pitcher with good command, the righty has a 1.8 BB/9IP ratio. Selected by Boston in the second round (45th overall) of the 2013 draft out of Seminole (OK) State College, Stankiewicz received a reported $915,000 bonus, which would have been higher, but it was discovered he was born without a right pectoral muscle. He was also selected by the Mets in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Fort Worth Christian (TX) High School, but did not sign, after the Mets tried to sign him for below-slot value. Stankiewicz throws a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

Back In Salem One Last Time

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

We are back in the lovely Roanoke Valley for last time during the regular season, as the orange and black begin a six-game roadtrip tonight. Following three games against the Salem Red Sox, the Keys head to the beach (remember this is still a business trip folks) for three more games with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

The two sides split the most recent series in mid-June, while Salem took two of three against Frederick to open the second-half. Overall it has been a very balanced head-to-head series, with the Sox holding a 7-6 advantage.

Roanoke native, Mikey O’Brien never thought he would make one appearance at LewisGale Field, let alone two, but he takes the ball tonight. In his last start, the right-hander worked five innings of one-run baseball at Carolina and struck out a season-high eight.

O’Brien had a big crowd on hand to watch him pitch in June, and I’m sure he’ll have a nice cheering section again tonight. Aaron McFarling of the Roanoke Times did a profile of O’Brien the last time he pitched in Salem which is an interesting read. Additionally I chatted with O’Brien on the pre-game show, the last time he pitched here:

O’Brien faces off against Trey Ball, who sees the Keys for the fifth time this season. Ball has put together quality outings his last two times out against the orange and black but has lost all four of his games to the Keys this year.

First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m from LewisGale Field and you can hear the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. I’ll have the broadcast starting at 6:50 on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. With the Orioles playing at 10 o’clock tonight, your excuses for not listening are on the slim side…

We’ll have lineups later on but today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 · Game #109 · Road Game #55

Frederick Keys (51-57/19-19) vs Salem Red Sox (53-55/15-23)

RHP Mikey O’Brien (0-3, 2.42) vs. LHP Trey Ball (8-8, 3.69)

FLYBALL LEADS KEYS TO SERIES WIN: David Hess fired off seven shutout innings thanks to 15 flyball outs as the Frederick Keys earned a 2-0 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. It was the club’s fifth shutout victory of the season, and allowed the orange and black to claim the three-game series. In total, Keys arms registered 16 outs through the air, while posting markers in the seventh and eighth innings. After Tyler Ihrig tossed six scoreless frames for Myrtle Beach in a spot start, David Garner would be greeted rudely by the first batter he faced in the home seventh. Going to a 2-0 count with Austin Wynns, the Keys DH would crank a solo homer to left to make it 1-0. Frederick added an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI fielder’s choice by Chance Sisco. Myrtle Beach twice loaded the bases, including with no outs in the eighth, but failed to score on both occasions. The Pelicans stranded 11 for the game and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

STARTING PITCHING RULES THE DAY: For the second day in a row, a Keys starting pitcher tossed seven shutout innings, as Chris Lee tossed seven shutout innings the night prior. Frederick starters have not allowed a run in their last 14 innings (the last came in the sixth inning on Friday) while the trio of Mitch Horacek, Lee and David Hess combined to allow only one earned run over the three-game series (spanning 20 innings). During that time, all three pitchers logged quality starts, marking the third time in 2015 Keys starters have turned in three consecutive quality outings. Over the last week, starting pitchers have combined on a 1.99 ERA (40.2 IP/9ER) while in the last 12 games no starter has allowed any more than three runs.

LEE PROMOTED TO DOUBLE-A: On Monday afternoon, Chris Lee was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 12th Frederick player to advance to either Double-A or Triple-A this season. Moving to the Eastern League for the first time, Lee went 3-6 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts for the Keys. In his last seven Advanced-A outings, the Floridian registered a 1.47 ERA and held opponents to a .223 average. Six of those outings were quality starts. In a corresponding move, Garrett Cortright joins the Keys from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games he went 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA. A South Atlantic League All-Star, Cortright was third among relievers in BB/9IP ratio (1.34), fourth in games finished (23) and tied for fourth in saves (12).

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: After going a full week without a home run, the Keys have hit three in their last two games. Two of those have come from an unusual source. With only four professional home runs, Austin Wynns has gone deep in back-to-back games for the first time in his pro career. The other home run came from Yaisel Mederos on Saturday, his first in the Carolina League, while he and Wynns became just the second duo to hit back-to-back homers for the Keys this year. Despite going on a seven-game homer drought, the orange and black rank third in the CL in deep flies (47) trailing only Lynchburg (80) and Carolina (56).

WINNING WITH WYNNS: Austin Wynns enjoyed a great homestand, going 4-for-6 with two home runs, a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. The Californian did a host of his damage on Saturday, when he finished 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and a pair of RBIs. The three hits tied a season-high (he also had three on July 4) and were one short of his career-high (Wynns posted on four-hit game in 2013 with Short-Season Aberdeen). The Keys catcher has now hit safely in five straight, and is batting .470 (8-for-17) during that time with two homers, two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored. Wynns’ longest streak of the season was a six-gamer from May 21-June 9, while he has an RBI in four straight contests.

AGAINST SALEM: Frederick and Salem square-off for the 14th time on Tuesday night. The Red Sox hold a slim 7-6 advantage in the season series, with only three head-to-head battles remaining in the regular season. Both sides last met in Frederick from July 10-13, while the four-game series concluded in a stalemate. Salem won the only second-half series between the two sides at LewisGale Field, claiming two of three games. As a team, the Keys are batting .255 against the Red Sox, and hold a 3.76 ERA. Salem hitters are batting at a .276 clip against Frederick arms and boast a 3.29 ERA. Individually, Tanner Witt (.636/7-for-11) and Anthony Caronia (.360/9-for-25) lead the team offensively.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: After grounding into three double plays on Friday, the Keys bounced into three more over the final two games of the Salem series. Over the last nine games, Frederick has grounded into 14 double plays, giving them 95 for the season, most in the CL. The Keys have hit into a double play in five straight games.

WRAPPING UP JULY: After winning 11 of 13 games from July 12-25, the Keys dropped six straight to finish July with a 15-15 record. The 15 wins were the most the team had recorded in any month this year, while it marked the first time since April (13-8) that Frederick had finished with a monthly record of .500 or better. Among CL North teams, only the Lynchburg Hillcats (16-14) fared better. As a team, the Keys hit .248 in July, but pitching carried things, with the staff tallying a 3.23 ERA. Individually, Tanner Witt (.310), Chance Sisco (.306) and Tad Gold (.304) led the way, while on the mound Cody Wheeler (0.69), Donnie Hart (1.29), Chris Lee (1.75) and David Hess (1.82) accounted for four of five Keys with ERA’s of 2.50 or lower.

A LITTLE HELP!: Lately, the Keys offense has struggled with runners in scoring position. Since last Friday, the orange and black have hit just .171 (14-for-82) with runners in scoring position. That included a 2-for-18 showing (.111) in the Myrtle Beach series. For the season, the Keys are batting .256 with men at second and third, placing them sixth in the CL.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Trey Ball makes his 20th start of the season and his fifth against the Keys. The 21-year-old’s most recent outing came against Wilmington on July 24. Earning the win, Ball tossed five innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits. He walked one and struck our four. Ball has won back-to-back starts after losing back-to-back outings. One of those came against the Keys on July 13, the last time he saw the orange and black. Working six innings, the Indiana native allowed three runs on five hits in six innings, but was outdueled by Ariel Miranda who worked five innings of one-run baseball. Against the Keys this season, Ball is 0-4 in four starts with a 5.09 ERA (23 IP/15R/13ER/27H). His last two starts against the Frederick have been quality starts though, as the southpaw has posted a 3.55 ERA. Currently Ball is 10th in the CL in ERA (3.69), tied for third in wins (eight) and third in batting average against (.237) but he is also second in home runs allowed (13) and fourth in walks (45).  Ball spent all of 2014 with Low-A Greenville, going 5-10 with a 4.68 ERA over 100 innings (22 starts). He finished tied for fifth in losses. Following a rough first-half of the season where he went 1-6 with a 7.07 ERA, the lefty turned things around after the all-star break, going 4-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 13 starts. A 2013 first round selection (seventh overall) out of New Castle Chrysler (IN) High School (Boston’s highest draft pick since 1993), Ball was named the Gatorade Indiana Baseball Player of the Year as a senior, going 5-0 with a 0.76 ERA and was named the No. 1 draft eligible prospect according to Baseball America. He hails from the same hometown as former Indiana basketball great and current UCLA men’s basketball coach Steve Alford. He throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Keys look to win rubber match with Myrtle Beach

The Keys used a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth to win the ballgame 4-3 and to even the three game set at one a piece against the Pelicans. Today is the rubber match between the two squads as the orange and black will trot out David Hess (5-4, 4.25) in hopes of clinching the series finale. Hess will be making his second start against Myrtle Beach this season. The Pelicans will counter with Jen-Ho Tseng (5-6, 3.48) who is making his second appearance against Frederick on the year. The contest will start at 2:00 PM.

Today’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Tanner Witt 3B

Chance Sisco C

Jeff Kemp SS

Austin Wynns DH

Yaisel Mederos 1B

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Anthony Caronia 2B

Jay Gonzalez LF

8/2 Game Notes

KEYS SNAP SIX-GAME SLIDE: Austin Wynns finished a triple shy of the cycle and drew a critical walk in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Frederick Keys to a 4-3 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Saturday night at Nymeo Field. The victory snaps Frederick’s season-high six-game losing streak. Mark Zagunis hit a three-run homer to tie the game in the top of the eighth, but the Keys scratched across the eventual winning run a half-inning later thanks to a number of a strong plate appearances. Jay Gonzalez struck out to open the inning, but reached first after the ball got past Pelicans catcher Victor Caritini. Tad Gold then advanced his teammate on a bunt base hit. After James Farris struck out Tanner Witt, Chance Sisco walked on a 12-pitch plate appearance to load the bases. Once again, Farris buckled down, getting Jeff Kemp to bounce into a fielder’s choice, but Wynns coaxed an eight-pitch walk to force in the eventual winning run.

SLIDE SNAPPED: The victory on Saturday snapped the Keys longest losing streak of the season, and helped the club avoid its first seven-game slide since last June 21-27 (Frederick’s longest losing streak of 2014). It was the first win by the orange and black in a week, after the team defeated Winston-Salem 2-1 in 11 innings the Saturday before. A team that has been susceptible to extended slides, the Keys have endured a six-game losing streak, a five-game losing streak and four different four-game losing streaks. In spite of those numbers, the Keys sit second in the second-half CL North standings and are only two games behind Lynchburg for the division lead.

WINNING WITH WYNNS: It was an impressive day at the plate for Austin Wynns, who went 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and a pair of RBIs. The three hits tied a season-high (he also had three on July 4) and were one short of his career-high (Wynns posted on four-hit game in 2013 with Short-Season Aberdeen). Meanwhile, the former Fresno State product tallied his sixth multi-RBI game of the year. Coming off a strong July, Wynns batted .281 (18-for-64) over 18 games

BACK-TO-BACK AND BELLY TO BELLY!: The longball by Austin Wynns was the first of back-to-back shots by the orange and black on Saturday, as Yaisel Mederos followed with his first Carolina League longball one pitch later. It marked the second time this season that the Keys had hit back-to-back homers. On June 2, Tucker Nathans and Trey Mancini accomplished the feat against Lynchburg in the bottom of the first. The pair of longballs were a refreshing site for the Keys who had not hit a home run in eight days.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: After grounding into three double plays on Friday, the Keys hit into two more on Saturday, while a failed bunt attempt on a squeeze play allowed the Pelicans to turn three twin-killings. Over the last seven days, Frederick has hit into 13 double plays, giving them 94 for the season. The ties the Keys with Wilmington for most in the CL

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Chris Lee was brilliant over seven shutout innings on Saturday, equaling a career-high with seven innings of shutout baseball. Over the last 10 games, Frederick starters have fired off 64.1 innings and given up 15 earned runs (2.10 ERA). In six of the last 11 contests, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in 10 of the team’s last 17 games. Coming off an excellent July as a unit, Keys starters posted 15 quality starts and registered a 2.93 ERA.

WRAPPING UP JULY: After winning 11 of 13 games from July 12-25, the Keys dropped six straight to finish July with a 15-15 record. The 15 wins were the most the team had recorded in any month this year, while it marked the first time since April (13-8) that Frederick had finished with a monthly record of .500 or better. Among CL North teams, only the Lynchburg Hillcats (16-14) fared better. As a team, the Keys hit .248 in July, but pitching carried things, with the staff tallying a 3.23 ERA. Individually, Tanner Witt (.310), Chance Sisco (.306) and Tad Gold (.304) led the way, while on the mound Cody Wheeler (0.69), Donnie Hart (1.29), Chris Lee (1.75) and David Hess (1.82) accounted for four of five Keys with ERA’s of 2.50 or lower.

A LITTLE HELP!: Lately, the Keys offense has struggled with runners in scoring position. Since last Friday, the orange and black have hit just .171 (13-for-76) with runners in scoring position, while in the Carolina series, the club batted at a .192 clip (5-for-26). For the season, the Keys are batting .256 with men at second and third, placing them sixth in the CL.

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: Friday’s loss moved the Keys to .500 (4-4) against the Pelicans this season. The eight games mark the fewest Frederick has played against any club. Following the weekend series, the two will faceoff twice more, with a three-game set scheduled at each venue. The Keys are batting .260 against the Pelicans this year and have a 4.17 staff ERA against the Birds. On the other hand, Myrtle Beach is batting .292 against the Keys and have a 3.84 team ERA. Offensively, Chance Sisco (.400/6-for-15) has fared best among Keys hitters with 15 at-bats or more.

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: On Friday afternoon, former Keys pitcher Zach Davies was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Gerardo Parra. A member of the orange and black in 2013, Davies was 5-6 this season with a 2.84 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for Triple-A Norfolk, while he represented the Orioles in this year’s Futures Game. With the Keys, Davies went 7-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 26 games. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Parra is batting .328 this season with nine home runs and 31 RBIs in 100 games.

Keys look to even series against Pelicans with Superheroes help

Last night, strong pitching was not enough to help the Keys as the orange and black fell in their first game of the series with Myrtle Beach 2-1. Tonight they look to end their six-game losing streak an even the three-game set at 1-1 to force a rubber match on Sunday as they send out southpaw Chris Lee (3-6, 3.38). This will be Lee’s second start against the Pelicans this season as he is 0-1. Myrtle Beach will counter with Maryland native Brad Markey (3-0, 0.76) who is making his first appearance against Frederick. Markey has only allowed two earned runs this year so the Keys offense has its work cut out this evening. Tonight is also Keyote’s Super Hero Birthday party at Nymeo Field. The contest will begin at 6:00 PM.

Today’s lineup

Tad Gold RF

Tanner Witt 3B

Chance Sisco DH

Jeff Kemp SS

Austin Wynns C

Yaisel Mederos 1B

Conor Bierfeldt LF

Anthony Caronia 2B

Jay Gonzalez CF

8/1 Game Notes

BLACKBURN STRETCH KEYS SLIDE TO SIX: Paul Blackburn delivered seven shutout innings, while the Frederick Keys bounced into three double plays in a 2-1 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Friday night at Nymeo Field. The setback extends the Keys losing streak to six games. Blackburn equaled the longest outing of his career, while the Pelicans helped out their pitcher with single markers in the fourth and sixth frames. In both instances, Chesny Young and Victor Caritini collaborated in the run scoring. In the fourth, Caritini singled home Young, who reached on an error by Tanner Witt and moved to second on a wild pitch. Two stanzas later, Caritini drove home Young with a base hit through the left side after the later doubled. Frederick’s lone run came in the eighth against Josh Conway, after a wild pitch scored Jay Gonzalez. A second wild pitch would also advance Sisco to third, but Conway struck out the side to strand the tying run.

LET’S CIRCLE THE WAGONS: After tying their second-longest winning streak of the year last week (four games) the Keys have dropped six straight games, their longest slide of the season. It is the club’s first six-game losing streak since last July 24-30, when the club dropped six in-a-row to Myrtle Beach, Lynchburg and Winston-Salem. The Keys have not lost seven straight since last June 21-27. That week-long winless stretch, was Frederick’s longest of the 2014 season.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: On Friday, the orange and black hit into three double plays, the most the team had bounced into since July 10, when the Keys hit into a season-high five against the Salem Red Sox.  Over the last seven days, Frederick has hit into 11 double plays, giving them 92 for the season. Only Wilmington (93) bounced into more.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Although he suffered the loss, Mitch Horacek kept up the string of strong performances by Keys starting pitchers. Over the last nine games, Frederick starters have fired off 57.1 innings and given up 15 earned runs (2.36 ERA). In five of the last 10 contests, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in nine of the team’s last 16 games. The nine quality outings are one more than Frederick’s entire first half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick turned in 15 quality starts (23 for the season).

BROOMED: Carolina’s 5-2 win on Thursday gave the Mudcats their third sweep of the Keys this season and their second at Five County Stadium. It marked the first time the Keys had been swept since June 17, when the Mudcats rattled off three straight victories at Nymeo Field. In total, the orange and black have been swept four times in 2015, with the only other sweep coming at the hands of the Wilmington Blue Rocks from June 4-7 on the Riverfront.

WRAPPING UP JULY: After winning 11 of 13 games from July 12-25, the Keys dropped six straight to finish July with a 15-15 record. The 15 wins were the most the team had recorded in any month this year, while it marked the first time since April (13-8) that Frederick had finished with a monthly record of .500 or better. Among CL North teams, only the Lynchburg Hillcats (16-14) fared better. As a team, the Keys hit .248 in July, but pitching carried things, with the staff tallying a 3.23 ERA. Individually, Tanner Witt (.310), Chance Sisco (.306) and Tad Gold (.304) led the way, while on the mound Cody Wheeler (0.69), Donnie Hart (1.29), Chris Lee (1.75) and David Hess (1.82) accounted for four of five Keys with ERA’s of 2.50 or lower.

A LITTLE HELP!: Lately, the Keys offense has struggled with runners in scoring position. Since last Friday, the orange and black have hit just .186 (13-for-70) with runners in scoring position, while in the Carolina series, the club batted at a .192 clip (5-for-26). For the season, the Keys are batting .258 with men at second and third, tying them fourth with Carolina.

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: Friday’s loss moved the Keys to .500 (4-4) against the Pelicans this season. The eight games mark the fewest Frederick has played against any club. Following the weekend series, the two will faceoff twice more, with a three-game set scheduled at each venue. The Keys are batting .260 against the Pelicans this year and have a 4.17 staff ERA against the Birds. On the other hand, Myrtle Beach is batting .292 against the Keys and have a 3.84 team ERA. Offensively, Chance Sisco (.400/6-for-15) has fared best among Keys hitters with 15 at-bats or more.

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: On Friday afternoon, former Keys pitcher Zach Davies was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Gerardo Parra. A member of the orange and black in 2013, Davies was 5-6 this season with a 2.84 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for Triple-A Norfolk, while he represented the Orioles in this year’s Futures Game. With the Keys, Davies went 7-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 26 games. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Parra is batting .328 this season with nine home runs and 31 RBIs in 100 games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Brad Markey makes his 17th overall appearance this season and his fifth start. Combined between Myrtle Beach and Low-A South Bend, he is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA. With the Pelicans, Markey has been outstanding, going 3-0 in four games (three starts) with a 0.76 ERA (22IP/2ER). The 23-year-old’s most recent outing came on Sunday against Carolina. Tossing a career-high seven shutout innings, Markey also struck out a career-high 10, five more than his previous high-water mark. In the game, he faced only three over the minimum. After making 15 appearances out of the bullpen last year, Markey has thrived as a starter, posting a 1.50 ERA (24IP/4ER) between Low-A and Advanced-A, while turning in three quality outings. 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. 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.

It’s 90’s Nickelodeon Night!

Good Evening Key Fans!

Well all the wait and speculation is over and it is time for 90’s Nickelodeon Night! That’s right folks, the Chucky-Finster uniforms, the awesome on-field games, tonight is the night!

Rugrats Jerseys will be raffled off during the game, while a number will be auctioned off later. So make sure and get your raffle tickets to take home one of these cool jerseys!

For those needing a refresher on how they will look, I give you models Webb, Kemp and Wheeler:

Keys in Jerseys

Some more information about tonight’s cool on-field game can be found here. Personally, I’m most excited for the diaper dog toss. Stone hands will not be rewarded this evening, with a big crowd expected to be on hand.

This will be the first of two special jersey nights, as the Keys will be sporting Superhero jerseys on Saturday night. These will also be auctioned off during the game with proceeds benefiting the Living Legacy Foundation. Keyote's Bday

Moving over to baseball, first of all happy trails to Zach Davies who earlier today was traded for Gerardo Parra. A member of the Norfolk Tides, Davies pitch for the Keys in 2013 and was one of the club’s most dependable starters that year. He is scheduled to report to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Zach Davies436

As for the Keys, they will try and snap a five-game losing streak tonight after suffering a three-game sweep against Carolina. The Muddies have been a Keys nemesis all season long, but the orange and black have fared better against the Pelicans (4-3).

Due to the unbalanced nature of this year’s schedule, Friday will mark just the eighth meeting between these two clubs. Nonetheless, they will meet nine times over the next few weeks.

To snap the slide, the Keys will turn to their ace, Mitch Horacek who faces the Birds for the first time. He will be opposed by right-hander Paul Blackburn, who has surrendered just one run in 13.1 innings since returning from the disabled list.

Tonight’s broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Myself and Doug Raftery will have all the action starting at 7:00 p.m. We will also have the manager’s report with Orlando Gomez starting at 6:50. Some of the topics we’ll cover include the Carolina series, the trade deadline and the skinny on new first baseball Yaisel Mederos.

Today’s notes and lineup are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Josh Hart CF

Tanner Witt 3B

Chance Sisco C

Jeff Kemp SS

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Tad Gold RF

Yaisel Mederos DH

Anthony Caronia 2B

Jay Gonzalez LF

Friday, July 31, 2015 · Game #106 · Home Game #52

Frederick Keys (49-56/17-18) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (61-43/20-15)

LHP Mitch Horacek (6-11, 4.61) vs. RHP Paul Blackburn (4-4, 3.82)

MUDDIES SWEEP SERIES: For the third straight night, the Carolina Mudcats posted a come-from-behind win, utilizing a three-run sixth to top the Frederick Keys 5-2 on Thursday night at Five County Stadium. The victory gives the Mudcats the sweep and keeps them perfect (10-0) against the orange and black this season. A Chance Sisco sacrifice fly temporarily gave the Keys a 2-1 lead in the fifth, before the Mudcats took control for good in the home-sixth. All three runs scored with two outs, as three straight singles leveled the game. With runners still at first and second, Sisco was charged with a passed ball, while a wild pitch by Jimmy Yacabonis scored the go-ahead run. An RBI single by Joey Meneses completed the scoring.

BROOMED: Carolina’s 5-2 triumph gave the Mudcats their third sweep of the Keys this season and their second at Five County Stadium. It marked the first time the Keys had been swept since June 17, when the Mudcats rattled off three straight victories at Nymeo Field. In total, the orange and black have been swept four times in 2015, with the only other sweep coming at the hands of the Wilmington Blue Rocks from June 4-7 on the Riverfront.

LET’S CIRCLE THE WAGONS: After tying their second-longest winning streak of the year last week (four games) the Keys have dropped five straight games, equaling their longest slide of the season (Frederick’s previous five-game slide took place from June 4-9). The Keys have not won a game since last Saturday’s 11-inning walk-off win against Winston-Salem. On Friday, the club tries to avoid its first six-game losing streak since last July 24-30, when the team dropped six in-a-row to Myrtle Beach, Lynchburg and Winston-Salem.

BIG INNING BLUES: Once again, the Mudcats used a multi-run inning to take down the Keys. Thursday’s three-run sixth marked the 10th time Carolina has tallied an inning of three or more runs against the orange and black this year. That includes two four-run innings, two five-run innings, and one frame of six runs and seven runs apiece.

A LITTLE HELP!: While the big inning was helpful to the Mudcats, the Keys offense has struggled of late with runners in scoring position. Since last Friday, the orange and black have hit just .188 (12-for-64) with runners in scoring position, while in the Carolina series, the club batted at a .192 clip (5-for-26). For the season, the Keys are batting .259 with men at second and third, ranking them fourth in the Carolina League.

MEDEROS JOINS KEYS: Cuban infielder, Yaisel Mederos made his Keys debut on Wednesday after signing with the Orioles in early-May. In his first two games, he is 1-for-8 with a doubles and two strikeouts. A first baseman, the 26-year-old played four seasons for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series, the country’s top professional league. In 164 combined games, he hit .268 with 12 home runs and 64 RBIs. Mederos takes the roster spot of Adrian Marin who went to the disabled list Tuesday, while the first baseman becomes the second Cuban to play for the Keys this season, joining Ariel Miranda.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: The month of July has been filled with strong starting pitching performances. Over the last eight games, Frederick starters have fired off 51.1 innings and given up 14 earned runs (2.45 ERA). In four of the last nine contests, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in eight of the team’s last 15 games. The eight quality outings are one more than Frederick’s entire first half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick has 14 quality starts (22 for the season), while the Keys monthly ERA is 3.30, 77 points lower than the team’s next-best month (it was 4.07 in April).

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: The Keys square off against the Pelicans for the first time since June 11, when the two sides split a four-game series at Nymeo Field. Frederick currently has a 4-3 edge in the season-series, with the two clubs set to faceoff twice more after this weekend (one three-game series remains at each venue). The Keys are batting .256 against the Pelicans this year and have a 4.65 staff ERA against the Birds. On the other hand, Myrtle Beach is batting .297 against the Keys and have a 4.27 team ERA. Offensively, the Keys are led by Chance Sisco (.455/5-for-11), Wynston Sawyer (.400/2-for-5) and Anthony Caronia (.375/3-for-8).

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: On Friday afternoon, former Keys pitcher Zach Davies was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Gerardo Parra. A member of the orange and black in 2013, Davies was 5-6 this season with a 2.84 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for Triple-A Norfolk, while he represented the Orioles in this year’s Futures Game. With the Keys, Davies went 7-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 26 games. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Parra is batting .328 this season with nine home runs and 31 RBIs in 100 games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Paul Blackburn makes his 14th start of the season and his second against the Keys. The right-hander’s most recent outing came last Saturday against Carolina. Tagged for the loss, he gave up one run on four hits in 5.1 innings to go with a walk and four strikeouts. It was his longest outing since returning from the disabled list on July 13. Since being activated, he has allowed one run in 13 innings, while opponents are hitting .217 against him. Right before going on the DL, Blackburn faced the Keys on June 11 and suffered the loss, tossing five innings and giving up six runs (five earned). 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.

 

Keys Try and Avoid the Sweep in Carolina

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The team tries to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Carolina Mudcats on Thursday night at Five County Stadium. Carolina has won all 9 meetings between the two clubs this season, utilizing a quick trigger offense and the big inning to do most of their damage. Left-hander Luis Gonzalez will try and hold them in check, while he will face-off against right-hander Seth Webster.

Doug Raftery has the call on 1450 AM The Source beginning at 6:45 p.m and today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff               

MUDCATS KEEP IT GOING AGAINST KEYS: The Carolina Mudcats utilized a three-run seventh inning to hand the Frederick Keys a 4-2 defeat on Wednesday night at Five County Stadium. It was the Keys fourth straight loss, and the team’s ninth straight to the Mudcats this season. Trailing 1-0 through six innings, the orange and black plated a pair in the seventh. Following back-to-back walks by Blair Walters, Yaisel Mederos bounced out against Clayton Cook to advance both runners in scoring position. Conor Bierfeldt capitalized with a two-run single to left, but the lead would be short-lived. In the home-seventh, Conor Lien tripled home Reed Harper, before scoring himself on a throwing error by Jeff Kemp. Following back-to-back walks by Matt Taylor, Carlos Franco completed the scoring with an RBI single. Frederick brought the tying run to bat in the eighth, but could not score before being retired in order in the ninth.

BIG INNING BLUES: Once again, the Mudcats used a multi-run inning to take down the Keys. Wednesday’s three-run seventh marked the ninth time Carolina has tallied an inning of three or more runs against the orange and black. That includes two four-run innings, two five-run innings, and one frame of six runs and seven runs apiece. Frederick has not beaten Carolina since last August 21, when the Keys posted a 5-0 win in Zebulon.

THE OLE SWITCHEROO: After tying their second-longest winning streak of the season on Saturday (four games) the Keys have dropped their last four games, equaling the team’s second-longest losing streak of the season. This season the orange and black have endured three different slides of four games or more. That includes one other four-game slide this month (July 8-11). Frederick’s longest losing streak this season is a five-gamer stretching from June 4-9.

SUMMER NOT SO DOGGISH: In spite of this recent bumpy stretch, the Keys still hold a 15-13 record in July. With a victory on Thursday, Frederick will equal its largest monthly win total since last August, when the club won 16 games. Meanwhile, if the orange and black win their next pair of games, it would give the team its most number of wins in a month since July 2011, when the Keys went 20-8. That same year, the orange and black won the Mills Cup, their last Carolina League championship.

MEDEROS JOINS KEYS: Cuban infielder, Yaisel Mederos made his Keys debut on Wednesday. He finished 0-for-4 with a strikeout and hit into a double-play ball. A first baseman, the 26-year-old played four seasons for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series, the country’s top professional league. In 164 combined games, he hit .268 with 12 home runs and 64 RBIs. Mederos takes the roster spot of Adrian Marin who went to the disabled list Tuesday, while the first baseman becomes the second Cuban to play for the Keys this season, joining Ariel Miranda.

AVOIDING THE SWEEP: On Thursday, the Keys try and avoid being swept for the fourth time this season. Frederick has not been broomed since June 17, when the Mudcats claimed three straight at Nymeo Field. Carolina has swept the Keys twice, while Wilmington broomed the Keys once over a four-game stretch in June.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: The month of July has been filled with strong starting pitching performances. Over the last eight games, Frederick starters have fired off 45.2 innings and given up 11 runs (2.17 ERA). In four of the last eight contests, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in eight of the team’s last 14 games. The eight quality outings are one more than Frederick’s entire first half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick has 14 quality starts (22 for the season), while the Keys monthly ERA is 3.26, 81 points lower than the team’s next-best month (it was 4.07 in April).

AGAINST CAROLINA: The Mudcats are the only team that the Keys have not recorded a win against this season (0-9). Carolina swept the Keys at Five County Stadium through the first four days of May. In mid-June, the Mudcats scored 27 runs in three games to pull a three-game brooming of the orange and black. The Keys are hitting .243 as a team against the Muddies and have a 5.04 ERA. On the other hand, Carolina is hitting .293 against Frederick and has a 3.00 ERA. Wynston Sawyer (.400, 4-10) paves the way for the Keys while Jacob Schrader (.375, 12-32, 3HR), Carlos Franco (.344, 11-32) and Joey Meneses (.333, 11-33, HR, 7RBI) pace the Mudcats.

SEE YOU ON SPORTSCENTER: Tad Gold made a highlight-reel diving catch in rightfield on Tuesday with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Since the catch, the video footage has gone viral, resulting in an appearance on “Sportscenter Top 10” plays. Gold’s catch checked in as the No. 3 play.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Seth Webster makes his 13th appearance of the season and his 12th as a member of the Mudcats. His most recent start came last Saturday at Myrtle Beach. Earning the win, the righty tossed seven shutout innings of four-hit baseball. It was his eighth quality start, while it marked the seventh time Webster had pitched seven or more innings. This month, Webster has a 2.97 ERA in five games, and has showcased pinpoint command since joining the Mudcats. In July, Webster has walked just one in 30.1 innings, while he has walked four total in 76.1 innings. In his professional career (including time in independent baseball) Webster’s BB/9IP ratio is a sterling 1.4. In his lone start against the Keys on June 16, the righty tossed seven innings of two-run baseball in a 10-2 Mudcats win.  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. Prior to joining the Atlanta farm system, Webster pitched for the Schaumberg Boomers of the Frontier League from 2013 through this season. This year, he made one start with Schaumburg going seven shutout innings, while in his career with the Boomers he went 14-6 with a 2.88 ERA in 31 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.

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