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Keys rally late to down P-Nats 3-2 in Sunday rubber match

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potomac nationalsThe Frederick Keys (20-18 Overall, 13-4 Home) rallied for two runs in the 7th inning to surmount the Potomac Nationals (15-22 Overall, 8-12 Road) 3-2 on Sunday afternoon in a rubber match at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium in the series finale.

The comeback victory for Frederick improved their home record to (13-4) and overshadowed the terrific starting outing of RHP Reynaldo Lopez, Baseball America’s number three overall prospect in the Washington Nationals farm system.

Frederick won the best-of-three set two games to one in part thanks to a trio of outstanding defensive players made by all three of their starting outfielders. Keys RF T.J. Olesczuk sprawled out in the 1st inning to rob P-Nats SS Stephen Perez of what could have been a triple, CF Johnny Ruettiger took away extra bases from C Craig Manuel in the 4th on a headfirst diving grab, and LF Tucker Nathans went spikes first into a slide to steal a bloop hit from Nationals LF Isaac Ballou in the 7th.

The Nationals stranded 11 baserunners in the contest and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Lopez snapped a 13.2 innings scoreless streak when the Keys struck for one run the 3rd inning but overall was stellar in his second straight quality start which unfortunately went as a no-decision.

Lopez threw 85 total pitches and 48 offerings for strikes over the course of 6.0 innings in which the power righty allowed just one earned run on five base hits while fanning four batters and walking just two men.

The Nationals got on the scoreboard with two runs in the 2nd inning against Frederick starter, RHP David Hess courtesy of a bases loaded 3-1 RBI groundout from Manuel before CF Narciso Mesa raked a 6-3 run-scoring groundout.

The run in the 3rd frame for Frederick was catalyzed by an RBI single ripped into right field by Keys 1B Trey Mancini, who went 3-for-4 with a trio of one-base knocks in the game.

Hess was wild in his 4.0 innings of work allowing two earned runs on four hits while walking a season-high five batters and unleashing a pair of wild pitches.

Frederick RHP Dennis Torres (3-1), on his 25th birthday, picked up his third win of the 2015 journey, after dealing 3.0 bullpen frames. Torres did not give up a run, allowed one hit, a double to Ballou off the right field wall in the 5th, walked two, and struck out one.

The P-Nats took their 2-1 lead into the bottom of the 7th as Potomac LHP Justin Thomas (1 BS, 0-3) took to the mound out of the bullpen and got into trouble en route to blowing his first save this season. Thomas gave up a one-out bunt single to Ruettiger along the third base line before Olesczuk cranked a double inside the third base bag to the left field corner putting two runners into scoring position. Then, Nathans sliced a two-run double up the right field chalk to chase home both Ruettiger and Olesczuk giving the home club a 3-2 edge they would not relinquish.

Nationals RHP Wander Suero got the final out of the 7th on a Mancini 4-3 groundout and hung a zero in the 8th despite allowing a triple to deep center field off the stick of Keys SS Adrian Marin.

Thomas eventually took the loss, his third of the season, after surrendering the aforementioned two earned runs on three hits in the 7th stanza.

Keys closer, RHP Jon Keller (2 SV) earned his second save in 2015 in four save chances by stranding one runner in both the 8th and 9th innings. Keller fanned Mesa looking to start the 9th, induced 2B Christopher Bostick into a bounce out to Marin at shortstop, and then allowed a single to Perez grounded into right field. Ballou followed by nailing a sharp low line drive that was handled cleanly by Keys 2B Jeff Kemp on an in-between hop and dealt to first base for the final out.

Bostick blasted a pair of doubles towards center field and walked in a 2-for-4 showing at the plate in the Nationals’ loss.

Potomac is now a (5-9) club in their one-run contests in 2015.

Potomac will enjoy a scheduled off-day tomorrow after a stretch of 24 straight games without an off-day, their longest consecutive contest stretch of the current campaign before welcoming in the Carolina Mudcats (Atlanta Braves) for a three-game home series at Pfitzner Stadium from Tuesday, May 19th through Thursday May 21st. All the matchups begin with a 7:05pm first pitch.

This upcoming Tuesday night at The Pfitz will be $2 Tacos and Tallboys with Potomac sending RHP Nick Pivetta (1-3, 1.42) to the mound to face off with Mudcats RHP Andrew Waszak (1-1, 3.86).

Gates to The Pfitz will swing open at 6:00pm for the 7:05pm start.       

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