The Frederick Keys carried a season-high six-game winning streak into tonight's game, largely on the strength of their pitching. Tonight against Lynchburg, that same pitching fell apart during the late innings.
The streak was soon to follow.
The Keys allowed 14 runs in the final four innings, including 12 by the bullpen, in a 14-3 loss to the Hillcats in a Class A Carolina League game before 8,445 at Harry Grove Stadium. It got so bad for Frederick that designated hitter Chris Paxton pitched the ninth, allowing one run on two hits.
Frederick (35-33) had posted a 1.67 earned run average in its previous six games, while cutting six games off Wilmington's lead in the Northern Division. The Keys entered the night three games behind the Blue Rocks with three to play in the first half, but were already eliminated from title contention because of a tiebreaker.
Tim Jorgensen went 3 for 3 with a home run and three RBI as the Hillcats (35-32) won their sixth straight, leapfrogging Frederick into second place in the division.
The Keys took a 2-0 lead in the third. With one out, Eddy Garabito doubled to left and scored on Luis Matos's single to left to make it 1-0. Three batters later, Roberto Rivera's double scored Matos to make it 2-0.
Lynchburg, however, took the lead for good in the sixth on Derrick Lankford's RBI double, a wild pitch by reliever Sean Fischer and a double-play groundout by Yamid Haad, scoring Lankford.
The Hillcats then sealed the win with a seven-run seventh inning that included a two-run single by Eddy Furnass and a two-run double by Jorgensen, both off Fischer. Jorgensen added a three-run homer in the eighth to extend the lead to 13-3.
CANNONS 2, BLUE ROCKS 0: Travis Held and four relievers combined on a four-hit shutout as Potomac defeated visiting Wilmington in a Carolina League game. Held pitched the first five innings, yielding two hits en route to his first win of the season. Lance Franks, Mike Huffaker and Corey Avrard followed with scoreless innings and Jason Marr closed the ninth for his 12th save. William Ortega and Billy Deck provided an RBI each for Potomac, which improved its record to 24-44. Wilmington dropped to 38-30.