FredNats rally falls short in 7-4 loss

Fredericksburg NationalsAfter being no-hit for six innings, the Fredericksburg Nationals made a late comeback on Friday night before coming up short in a 7-4 loss to the Salem Red Sox.

Jackson Rutledge (L, 0-1) took the loss in his FredNats debut, allowing seven runs, six earned, over 3.0 innings. It marked Fredericksburg’s fourth defeat in a row.

Ricardo Méndez saw his hitting streak snapped at a league-high 19 games, as Jeremy Wu-Yelland and Nate Tellier (W, 1-0) combined to no-hit the FredNats through the first six frames.

After an opening strikeout for Rutledge, five straight Red Sox batters reached and scored in the first inning. Stephen Scott brought home the first run of the game with an RBI single, and Nicholas Northcut blew the game open with a grand slam.

A Scott RBI grounder stretched the lead to 6-0 in the second, and an error from Paul Witt led to an unearned run in the third that gave Salem a 7-0 lead. Rutledge struck out four, walked two and hit two batters in his first Fredericksburg appearance.

Junior Martina ended the suspense with a leadoff single in the seventh for the first FredNats hit. Braian Fernández brought him home with a fielder’s choice, and RBI singles from Jake Boone and Witt kept the rally alive. José Sánchez reached on a Matthew Lugo error to bring the score to 7-4, but Méndez grounded out to first as the potential tying run to end the inning.

Robert Kwiatkowski (S, 1) allowed three hits in the final two innings, but coaxed an inning-ending double play in the eighth and worked around a Boone double in the ninth to lock down the save.

The FredNats continue their series against the Red Sox on Saturday. First pitch from Haley Toyota Field is scheduled for 6:05, with FredNats On Deck beginning at 5:50 on the FredNats Baseball Network.

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