Seven Shutout Innings and Four Home Runs Lead Black Bears in 7-3 Win over Keys

FREDERICK, MD – In the second game of the series at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium, the West Virginia Black Bears put on a clinic against the Frederick Keys, winning by a score of 7-3 on Wednesday evening. The Bears offense led with four home runs over the course of night, including two by Adan Fernandez. Starting pitcher Zach Bravo kept the Keys off the base paths as he threw seven scoreless innings in the Black Bears win.

West Virginia struck first in the top of the first frame. After reaching base on a double to center field, CF Turner Hill recorded the first run on an RBI groundout by DH Ryan Hernandez. In the bottom of the inning, a lead-off single from CF Amir Wright put a runner on base, but the Bears defense held them off the board with a fielder’s choice at second and starter Zach Bravo’s first strikeout of the game.

The Black Bears added to their lead in the top of the third as LF Adan Fernandez smashed a two-RBI home run to left field for his second homer in two nights. Fernandez, who sent a ball over the center field wall with his two-run shot on Tuesday evening, scored Hernandez who reached base on balls. Heading into the bottom of the third, West Virginia led Frederick by three runs.  

Two more home runs powered the Black Bears through the seventh inning. Leading off the top of the fifth, Hernandez smashed a solo shot over the right-center field wall to give West Virginia a 5-0 advantage. Then in the top of the seventh, CF Maddux Houghton continued the West Virginia home run trend with a ball deep to right field that put the Bears up 6-0.

Bravo and company kept the Bears’ lead intact with six more quick innings as the defense held the Keys scoreless through the bottom of the seventh. Bravo notched five strikeouts with one walk, allowing just three hits in seven shutout innings.  

Reliever Brian Williams entered in the bottom of the eighth. After walking two Keys batters, 3B Jake Plastiak took Williams deep with a shot into center field for a three-run home run. The Black Bears ended the inning without sustaining any additional damage, though the Keys cut the deficit in half with one inning left to play.

The Bears bounced back in the top of the ninth with a solo home run by Fernandez. His second home run of the game and third through two at Frederick, the run shut down any hopes of a Keys rally heading into the final half-inning of play.

Closer Grayson Thurman took to the mound for the Bears in the bottom of the ninth. Thurman notched two strikeouts as West Virginia retired the side to end the game.  

Turning in an incredible performance, Adan Fernandez got his third home run of the season—all at Frederick—on Wednesday evening. Fernandez went three-for-four at the plate with three RBI and two home runs. MLB Draft League home run leader Ryan Hernandez added to his incredible single season record with his 13th home run, while finishing with one hit, two runs and two RBI.

West Virginia has now won six straight games over Frederick and 14 of its last 20 contests. The Black Bears improve to 43-25 on the season with 10 games left in the 2022 regular season. The series finale against the Frederick Keys is scheduled for Thursday evening with first pitch set for 7:00 p.m.