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FredNats rally, but lose 4-3 thriller to Hillcats

Fredericksburg NationalsThe Fredericksburg Nationals put up a good fight on Friday night, but saw two late rallies fall just short in a 4-3 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats.

A season-high 4638 fans saw the FredNats draw two bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the eighth, followed by a highlight-reel catch from Jeremy Ydens in the top of the ninth, though Brauny Muñoz (S, 1) got the final four outs to save Lynchburg’s third win in a row.

Mitchell Parker (L, 3-4) struck out nine without walking a batter over 5.1 innings, but took the loss as the Hillcats offense got just enough offense against the Fredericksburg ace. All four of Parker’s losses have come at home, though he extended his league lead in strikeouts and now has 64 on the season.

The Hillcats scored an unearned run in the top of the first on a Yainer Diaz single, but the FredNats answered back to tie the game in the bottom half on a J.T. Arruda double and Junior Martina single.

Landy Peña lifted an 0-2 pitch over the left field wall for his first home run in the second, giving the Hillcats a 2-1 lead. Parker settled in after that, retiring the next 10 batters, but Jordan Jones (W, 1-4) matched his zeroes with 5.0 innings of two-hit ball.

Lynchburg ambushed Parker in the sixth, as Cody Farhat led off with a double and Gabriel Rodriguez followed with an RBI single before being picked off. With one out, Micah Pries launched a solo homer to right field to extend the lead to 4-1. It was just the second hit allowed by Parker to a left-handed batter this season.

Fredericksburg couldn’t solve the Hillcats pitching staff until the eighth, when their patience paid off with a Viandel Peña single and four walks to push across two runs. Arruda and Ricardo Méndez drew free passes with the bases loaded before Muñoz entered in his Hillcats debut to strike out Jackson Coutts with the bases loaded. After Ydens made an acrobatic catch in the top of the ninth to help keep the score 4-3, Muñoz worked around a leadoff single from Cole Daily to shut down the final Fredericksburg rally.

The FredNats continue their series against the Lynchburg Hillcats on Saturday. First pitch from FredNats Ballpark is scheduled for 6:05, with FredNats On Deck beginning at 5:50 on the FredNats Baseball Network.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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