Bullpen Shuts Down Hillcats
LYNCHBURG, VA - A strong bullpen effort and a late two-run home run from Brett Cumberland gave the Frederick Keys (10-20, 39-60) a 3-1 victory in a tight game against the Lynchburg Hillcats (14-16, 46-51) on Saturday night at City Stadium. The bullpen was called upon early in the second inning after Ofelky Peralta left with an injury and they delivered eight shutout innings for the Keys. Juan Hillman was outstanding for the Hillcats as he struck out a career-high 10 batters over seven innings, but Cumberland struck in the eighth with a two-run blast to lift the Keys late in the game.
Up 3-1 in the ninth inning, Tim Naughton (S, 4) came in to relieve Zach Matson (1-0), who pitched three scoreless innings and retired nine of 10 batters he faced. Naughton looked sharp to start, striking out Will Benson on four pitches but things turned slowly. Mitch Reeves was able to poke a double down the right-field line and Jonathan Laureano was hit-by-a-pitch which put the tying run on base. Naughton then struck out Jodd Carter looking but he walked Gavin Collins on four pitches to load the bases. Naughton though got ahead 0-2 to Steven Kwan, who flied out to right field to end the game.
The Hillcats lone run came in the first inning when they loaded the bases against Peralta with one-out. Will Benson lifted a fly-ball to centerfield and Cole Billingsley fired a dart to third base to nab Wilbis Santiago for the third out of the inning. Tyler Freeman, however, tagged from third base and scored on the fly-ball to give Lynchburg a 1-0 lead.
The Key wasted no time getting the run back. Cumberland singled to lead off the second and Cadyn Grenier walked to put runners and first and second with one-out. Hillman then induced what looked to be a groundball double-play, but Luke Wakamatsu threw wide of first base on the relay throw, allowing Cumberland to score and tie the game at 1-1.
In the bottom of the inning, Mitch Reeves lined a pitch right back at Peralta which hit the starter's throwing hand and knocked him out of the game. Scott Burke was called upon out of the pen and stranded Reeves at second to end the inning.
Burke went on to throw four scoreless innings. He stranded two runners in scoring position in the fourth inning but only allowed three base-runners in his outing.
Hillman was outstanding for the Hillcats. The southpaw through seven innings and struck out a career-best 10 batters. He allowed one unearned run on five hits.
Riley Echols (3-1) took the loss after allowing the two-run home run to Cumberland. Cumberland clubbed the first pitch he saw beyond the right-field wall to give the Keys a 3-1 lead. It was his first home run in a Keys' uniform.
The Keys and Hillcats square off in a late afternoon game on Sunday, July 21. RHP Brenan Hanifee (6-9, 4.40) takes the mound for Frederick in his first start since he threw a complete-game shutout. First pitch for game one is scheduled 3:00pm, with pregame coverage starting at 2:45pm on frederickkeys.com and the Tune In radio app.
The Frederick Keys are the Advanced-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, and play their home games at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium. Following the 2018 season, the Keys were named the winner of the Carolina League's Complete Franchise Award. This goes to a team in the league which demonstrates franchise stability and significant contributions to its community and the league. In 2019, the team will host the Carolina League All-Star Classic presented by Visit Frederick. For more information about the Frederick Keys please contact Geoff Arnold by phone at (301)-815-9915 or by emailing at GArnold@FrederickKeys.com.
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