FREDERICK, MD – Trailing 8-4 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, the Keys would rally for three runs in the final frame only to fall one run short, losing 8-7 against the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
Twice the Keys trailed by a deficit of four, as they came back initially from a 4-0 hole to tie the score at 4 in fourth inning, but after falling behind 8-4 in the seventh, the Keys could not muster up another four-run comeback.
After Johnny Ruettiger and Travis Adair led off the bottom of the ninth inning by getting on base, Aaron Baker launched a three-run homerun to get the Keys to within one run as they instantly trailed just 8-7.
Overall, 15 runs were scored in the high-scoring affair to go along with a combined 26 hits and 10 walks.
For the Keys, the fall to 5-6 in the second half of the year and 32-49 overall while Wilmington improves to 5-6 and 34-47.
Wilmington wasted no time in getting their offense started as they raced out to a 4-0 lead after the third inning off of starting pitcher Scott Copeland. Up 1-0 entering the second, Wilmington started the inning with back-to-back homeruns from Brett Eibner and Jose Bonilla to put the Blue Rocks up 3-0.
Their next time to the plate, Lane Adams made it 4-0 when he singled home a run with runners on second and third.
The Keys would respond thanks to a Ty Kelly three-run homerun to bring the Keys to within one, as they trailed 4-3. Joe Oliveira doubled and Garabez Rosa singled before Kelly hit his sixth homerun of the year – a new career high – which sailed over all three tiers of fencing to get the Keys back in the game.
The Keys tied the score at four in the next frame after Aaron Baker forced in a run by drawing a bases loaded walk. With Johnny Ruettiger and Travis Adair singling to get on base with two outs, Ty Kelly walked to load the bases. With Baker at the plate, he drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to then tie the game.
Yet the Wilmington bats would get back to work, scoring four more times to retake a four-run advantage.
After a solo homerun from Matt Fields off of reliever David Baker gave Wilmington a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning, the Blue Rocks added three more in the seventh off of the reliever.
With two runners on, Brett Eibner doubled in a run as Jose Bonilla’s sacrifice fly and Roman Hernandez’s single brought in two more to make it 8-4.
The Keys comeback in the ninth was not enough to overcome a second four-run gap.
The Keys are back in action tomorrow night for a fireworks night, presented by Mattress Warehouse, as LHP Tim Berry (0-2, 3.32 ERA) will be on the mound against RHP Elisaul Pimentel (0-1, 12.46 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7 PM and the fireworks begin shortly after the conclusion of the game.