Frederick doubles up Salem
While the Keys have gone just 7-22 in games started by other pitchers, Frederick improved to 6-2 with the Wright guy on the mound, improving their league-worst record to 13-24 in the series opener in Salem. Britton matched Wright through five scoreless innings, but the Keys broke through in a four-run sixth and never trailed to spoil the beginning of the Sox’ homestand.
Both starters struck out eight and only walked one, but Britton’s lone dalliance with ball four became his undoing. He walked Frederick’s #9 hitter Michael Rooney to lead off the sixth, sparking the Keys’ four-run rally. Following a Trent Mummey sacrifice bunt, back-to-back singles from Johnny Ruettiger and Jeremy Nowak broke the stalemate and lifted Frederick to a 1-0 lead. Britton struck out Aaron Baker for the second out, but Joe Oliveira’s single drove in Reuttiger and made it 2-0, knocking Britton out of the game with runners at second and third.
Manny Rivera entered, walked Mike Planeta and surrendered a two-run, bases-loaded single to Michael Mosby that doubled Frederick’s lead to four. All four runs were the responsibility of Britton, and the clutch hit was a harbinger of things to come for Mosby.
Wright exited after six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and one free pass, shrinking his ERA to 2.91. Brandon Erbe, making his first Carolina League appearance since 2008, arrived in the seventh and walked three straight Red Sox after inducing a leadoff ground-out. Erbe faced just four batters, departing with the bases loaded.
With two outs and the bags packed, Shannon Wilkerson smashed a bases-clearing triple off reliever Clay Shrader to bring the Sox within one at 4-3. All three runs were charged to Erbe, and Shrader struck out Sean Coyle to strand Wilkerson, representing the tying run, at third base.
In the top of the eighth, Aaron Baker’s leadoff double preceded Mosby’s second big hit of the night. With two outs and Baker at third, Mosby, making his Carolina League debut, smashed a two-run homer over the left field fence, increasing the Keys’ lead to 6-3.
Mosby finished 2-for-4 with four RBI, while Ruettiger added two hits for the Keys. Wilkerson and Adalberto Ibarra each finished with two hits for the Sox, with Wilkerson driving in three runs to match a season high.
Britton’s five scoreless innings at the start was spoiled by a bumpy sixth, sending him to 1-5 on the year after allowing four runs on five his in five and two thirds innings. Wright improved to 5-2, remaining the ace of Frederick’s staff.
Salem and Frederick will reunite at 6:05 on Saturday as “Pink in the Park Weekend” continues at LewisGale Field. Keith Couch will take the ball for the Sox opposite Trent Howard.