Chu’s start squandered in 6-4 FredNats loss

Fredericksburg NationalsDespite a stellar spot start from Gilberto Chu, the Fredericksburg Nationals fell 6-4 to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers on Saturday night.

A four-run sixth inning turned a 3-2 FredNats lead into a 6-3 Woodpeckers advantage, leading Fayetteville to a series-clinching victory.

Neither team played cleanly in the opening innings, as the FredNats made three outs on the bases and Jake Randa threw out a pair of Fayetteville baserunners with throws from right field. The Woodpeckers scored the game’s first run in the second inning on a two-out double from Victor Mascai.

The FredNats finally pushed across a run against starter Diosmerky Taveras in his fifth and final inning of work. Viandel Peña’s two-out RBI single tied the game 1-1, though the second baseman had to be lifted from the game with an apparent injury.

Fayetteville quickly reclaimed the lead as Will Wagner hit his first professional homer off Chu in the bottom of the fifth. Chu completed a season-high 5.0 innings in his first start of the year, allowing two runs, one earned.

Woodpeckers reliever Elian Rodriguez (W, 1-1) was greeted in the sixth with a walk, single and Junior Martina fielder’s choice to tie the game 2-2. Randa hit his second double of the game to give the FredNats a brief 3-2 lead, but the Woodpeckers returned the favor in the bottom of the sixth to turn the game for good.

FredNats reliever Trey Turner (L, 1-1) got the first out of the sixth inning, but allowed the next four men to reach and score. Nerio Rodriguez hit a game-tying homer, and after a pair of singles Mascai hit his second double of the game to plate two more. A Wagner single was followed by a Jordy Barley error to give the Woodpeckers a 6-3 lead.

Rodriguez allowed a run to score in the ninth on a Jake Boone double and an error, but struck out both Barley and Juan Paulino representing the potential tying run to end the game.

The FredNats wrap up their series against the Woodpeckers on Sunday. First pitch from Segra Stadium is scheduled for 2:00, with FredNats On Deck beginning at 1:45 on the FredNats Baseball Network.

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