FredNats top Mudcats for third win in a row

Fredericksburg NationalsFor the second time this season, the Fredericksburg Nationals secured a three-game winning streak with a 4-1 win over the Carolina Mudcats on Friday night.

In front of a sellout crowd of 4794 fans, Matt Merrill (W, 2-1) fanned a career-high eight batters over 5.0 scoreless innings to earn his first win as a starting pitcher. Two sacrifice flies from Onix Vega were emblematic of a successful small-ball approach from the Fredericksburg offense.

Merrill allowed an infield single to Sal Frelick to begin the ballgame, and after a throwing error and a passed ball the speedy Mudcats leadoff man stood at third with no outs. Merrill buckled down, striking out the next three batters to keep the game scoreless and set the tone for the rest of the night.

The FredNats got their leadoff man on in the bottom of the first against Antoine Kelly (L, 0-1), as Jacob Young walked and swiped the first of four FredNats stolen bases on the night. After a José Sánchez single, Young scored on Vega’s first sacrifice fly to put Fredericksburg up 1-0.

In the fourth, Braian Fernández scored Leandro Emiliani from first base with a two-out RBI double. The FredNats added two more runs in the fifth on a Sánchez single and Vega sacrifice fly to take a 4-0 lead.

Merrill threw 99 pitches over his five frames, a season high for any FredNats starter. Bryan Peña contributed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief before the Mudcats scored their lone run in the eighth on a Mike Wilson double and Edward Ureña wild pitch.

As rain began to fall, recently-added reliever Cole Quintanilla (S, 2) worked around a walk and a single to strike out the side and earn his second save in three nights.

The FredNats will go for their season-high fourth win in a row and a series victory as they take on the Carolina Mudcats 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.


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