Wood Ducks outlast Keys in slugfest, 9-7

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FREDERICK, MD (DEWDS) – The Down East Wood Ducks let a 3-0 lead get away early, but then came charging back in the middle innings, to run away from the Keys in a 9-7 win Sunday at Harry Grove Stadium.

Down East (30-19, 80-39) improve to 8-2 against the Keys (18-30, 47-70) this season, and take the only series played at NYMEO Field this year. The Wood Ducks are now 4-2 in rubber games this season.

The Wood Ducks struck early. Bubba Thompson led off the first with a walk, and Josh Altmann followed with a bunt single. Yohel Pozo then doubled to the wall in right to put Down East ahead, 1-0. Then with two outs in the inning, Sherten Apostel singled to center to score a pair and make it a 3-0 lead.

Noah Bremer (win, 3-0) was strong out of the gates, working a three-up, three-down first inning, but ran into trouble in the second. With one out, the Keys saw five consecutive men reach base, and scored three times, on RBI singles from Patrick Dorian and Daniel Fajardo, and a groundout from Cole Billingsley to even the score at 3-3.

It was the only trouble inning for Bremer who settled down to retire ten straight in the middle innings. He worked six innings, gave up three runs on six hits, walked two and struck out six.

David Lebron exited after just two innings of work for the Keys, after allowing three runs on three hits and four walks, but did not factor in the decision.

Zach Matson (loss, 1-2) took over for Frederick in the third inning and served up a go-ahead home run to Huff on his first batter faced. It was Huff’s 12th home run with Down East, and 27th of the year, making it, 4-3.

The Woodies exploded for another big inning in the fourth. Thompson reached on an infield single, and Altmann drew a walk, which after a wild pitch, set up two in scoring position. Curtis Terry came through with a two run single, and then later in the frame, after a Huff double, Apostel singled in two more to make it 8-3.

Down East would get another run across in the sixth when Terry reached on a walk, advanced to second on an error, to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch, to make it 9-3.

The Keys put together a late surge. Francisco Villegas walked two straight to begin the eighth, and then gave up an RBI single to Jomar Reyes. One batter later Dorian launched a three-run home run to right field to make it a 9-7 ballgame. Joe Kuzia then entered and gave up a single and a walk, but was able to strand the tying run in scoring position to end the threat.

Michael Matuella (save, 4) gave up a leadoff double to Robert Neustrom in the ninth, but recovered to set down the next three, including a strikeout of Dorian to end the ballgame.

After an off day, Monday, the Woodies travel to Fayetteville on Tuesday to begin a three-game set with the Woodpeckers. First pitch is set for 7 p.m., and the broadcast will begin at 6:50 p.m. on 960AM The Bull, and online at 960thebull.com as well as on the MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio Apps.