Written by Mike Mueller
In a back-and-forth game, Winston-Salem came up with one more big hit than Frederick did.
The Dash beat the Keys 5-4 Thursday night at Harry Grove Stadium, completing a three-game series sweep in Frederick. Winston-Salem’s efficient offense -- five runs on five hits -- wound up being the difference, compared to the Keys’ four runs on 12 hits. Frederick (3-3) rallied from a run down three times Thursday, but Chris Curley’s solo homer in the top of the seventh proved to be the swing that sealed the Keys’ fate.
“When you give up five hits and you have 12 on your side, you expect to win the ballgame,” said Keys manager Ryan Minor. “But we just weren’t efficient enough on offense wIth our hits.”
Despite their inability to capitalize on their double-digit hit total, the Keys had a chance late in the game.
With two outs in the ninth, second base Jerome Pena doubled on a 2-2 pitch and Dash closer Cody Winiarski walked catcher Michael Ohlman on four pitches, bringing up first baseman Connor Narron, who had an opportunity to at least extend the game if not tie it or win it.
Winiarski, however, induced Narron into a fielder’s choice to second baseman Joey DeMichele, who tagged second for a force, the final out of the game. Winiarski picked up his second save of the season and the series.
Keys starter Tyler Wilson pitched 5.1 innings and allowed four runs, all earned, on four hits and four walks while striking out five. He took the loss, giving up an RBI double and a three-run homer on two-strike pitches.
“He kind of lost the feel for a pitch or two, and again, you know, we didn’t bury a couple hitters, but we know what we’re gonna get out of him every night,” said Minor of his starting pitcher. “He’s gonna go out there and compete and throw strikes.”
All three of Winston-Salem’s run-scoring hits -- two home runs and a double -- came with two strikes.
The Dash (3-3) took their third one-run lead of the game on Curley’s lead-off solo homer to right in the top of the seventh, touching Keys reliever Gene Escat, who took the loss, for his first run of the season and putting Winston-Salem up 5-4.
The Keys had tied the game at 4-4 the previous inning on Jason Esposito’s first home run of the season, a solo shot to left field on the second pitch thrown by reliever Steven Upchurch, who ended up the winner of Thursday’s game.
Winston-Salem took a 4-3 on Ryan Haddow’s double off the right field wall, scoring Joey DeMichele, who reached base the same way two batters earlier. Haddow was Wilson’s final batter of the game.
Winston-Salem starter Bryan Blough allowed just three runs in five innings despite giving up 10 hits and walking one. As a team, the Keys left nine men on base Thursday night.
Right fielder Brenden Webb led off the bottom of the second with a single and Zane Chavez followed with a double to left field. Then, in his first at-bat of the season, Steve Bumbry hit a line drive off Blough’s glove for an RBI single.
“It felt good getting back in between the lines and being competitive,” said Bumbry, who arrived in Frederick Wednesday from Orioles extended spring training in Florida. “Being under the lights is a little different than Florida playing in those spring training games.”
After Glynn Davis singled and stole second base, Michael Ohlman doubled him home in the bottom of the third to put the Keys ahead 2-0 in front of the 3,149 in attendance. Winston-Salem took its first lead of the game in the top of the fifth inning on Jeremy Farrell’s 3-run homer on an 0-2 pitch from Wilson. Farrell’s go-ahead shot came after two walks, the second walk the culmination of an 11-pitch at-bat by Curley.
Frederick tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom half of the fifth on Webb’s double to left, scoring Ohlman from second base.
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