Cowser, Shorebirds walk off FredNats

Fredericksburg NationalsThe Fredericksburg Nationals took a dramatic late lead against the Delmarva Shorebirds on Saturday night, but allowed runs in the ninth and tenth innings as they fell 5-4 for their fifth straight loss.

Only a month removed from the 2021 MLB Draft, Orioles first rounder Colton Cowser ended the game with a bases-loaded RBI single off the right field wall to send Delmarva to a walk-off win.

FredNats starter Matt Merrill struck out seven batters over 4.0 solid innings, but allowed a two-out, two-run triple to Connor Norby to put the Shorebirds up 2-0 in the third. The FredNats got a run back in the fourth on a pair of errors from Delmarva third baseman Coby Mayo, and tied the game 2-2 in the fifth on a Viandel Peña bunt single, Jordy Barley double and Branden Boissiere RBI groundout.

The Shorebirds took a 3-2 advantage in the seventh against Troy Stainbrook with an RBI single from Billy Cook, but the FredNats answered back with a go-ahead two-run homer from Onix Vega in the eighth to take a 4-3 lead. Vega’s third homer of the year was Fredericksburg’s first in 10 days, ending the longest homerless drought of the season for the team.

Amos Willingham pitched a perfect eighth, but ran into trouble in the ninth when left fielder Jaden Fein dropped a fly ball off the bat of Mayo to put the tying run at second with no outs. John Rhodes tied the game 4-4 with a double down the left field line, but Willingham retired the next three batters to send the game to extras.

In the top of the tenth, the FredNats loaded the bases against Carlos Del Rosario (W, 2-2) but couldn’t reclaim the lead. Tomás Alastre (L, 2-3) allowed a single and an intentional walk to load the bases, and retired one batter before Cowser ended the game with his near-grand slam halfway up the right field wall.

After starting the season 4-0 in extra-inning games, the FredNats are now 4-4.

The FredNats wrap up their series against the Shorebirds on Sunday looking to avoid a sweep. First pitch from Perdue Stadium is scheduled for 5:05, with FredNats On Deck beginning at 4:50 on the FredNats Baseball Network.

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