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Mudcats split doubleheader with Keys

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FREDERICK, Md. — Three runs in the top of the ninth inning, which actually served as extras, helped the Carolina Mudcats salvage a split of an Advanced-A Carolina League doubleheader with the Frederick Keys on Friday night at Nymeo Field.

Aided by relief pitcherTim Naughton, a product of Charles B. Aycock High, the Keys beat the Mudcats in the first game 6-4 before Carolina grabbed a 4-1 victory in nine innings in the nightcap.

Both contests were scheduled for seven innings as Carolina moved to 52-40 overall and 13-10 in the second half in salvaging the finale of the three-game series. Frederick went to 36-56 in all games and 7-16 in the Carolina League’s second half.

With a runner placed on second base in extra innings, Ryan Aguilar drew a walk. Tristen Lutz struck out, but on the play, a wild pitch moved two runners into scoring position.

Mario Feliciano grounded out to plate the inserted runner in Brice Turang, leading to Eddie Silva’s two-run homer to left field that gave Carolina its final margin. It was Silva’s sixth home run of the year.

Each team plated a run in the third, with Lutz bouncing into a fielder’s choice that scored Turang. Frederick countered with Zach Jarrett’s seventh home run, a solo shot to left field.

Carolina outhit Frederick by a 9-7 margin as Lutz, Feliciano and Silver each had two hits. 

Justin Topa entered in the ninth and secured his second save by working the bottom of the ninth. Anthony Bender won in relief after tossing 1 2/3 innings and not allowing a hit. Tyler Joyner was saddled with the loss in relief for Frederick.

Seven players had one hit apiece for the Keys.

In the first contest, the Mudcats could not hold a 4-0 lead as the Keys responded with six unanswered runs. Frederick plated the tying and winning runs in the fourth, using a Sean Miller sacrifice fly to take the lead for good.

Jomar Reyes, who homered in the three-run fourth, added an RBI single in the fifth to cap the scoring. He finished 3 for 3 with a pair of RBIs to pace the Frederick offense.

The Mudcats mustered five hits, with Lutz and Payton Henry each collecting doubles. 

Left-hander Aaron Ashby took the loss for the Mudcats, starting and lasting 4 1/3 innings. He allowed eight hits and gave up six runs, all earned.

Naughton notched his third save in the opener, needing just two-thirds of an inning to do so. Naughton struck out both batters he faced. D.L. Hall pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief for the win, limiting Carolina to one hit in that span.

The Mudcats begin a three-game series on the road Saturday against the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

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