Hillcats rally late in win over FredNats

Fredericksburg NationalsThe Fredericksburg Nationals took a 3-2 lead to the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game against the Lynchburg Hillcats, but surrendered six late runs in an 8-3 loss that evened up their series at one game apiece.

Alexfri Planez’s go-ahead two-run homer kickstarted a four-run seventh against Bryan Peña (L, 1-1), who pitched admirably in long relief but ran into trouble in his fifth inning of work.

The FredNats managed only three hits on the night, but took the game’s first lead when Viandel Peña drew a leadoff walk in the first and scored on a pair of wild pitches from Lynchburg starter Daniel Espino.

Rodney Theophile, making his first start in more than two weeks for the FredNats, allowed a pair of runs in his second and final inning of work on a Cody Farhat RBI single and a balk to put the Hillcats up 2-1. Jackson Coutts was quick to respond in the bottom of the second, hitting his first professional homer off the top of the wall in right-center to tie the game 2-2.

Peña pitched scoreless ball from the third through the sixth, allowing the FredNats to take a lead in the fifth when Jeremy Ydens scored from first on a hit-and-run single from Jake Boone, followed by an error on the throw back to the infield.

Planez’s go-ahead homer in the seventh sailed over the batter’s eye in center, and was followed by two more Lynchburg runs on a single from Yainer Diaz to put the Hillcats up 6-3. They added a pair in the eighth against Tyler Yankosky on an RBI single from Angel Martinez and a sacrifice fly from Christian Cairo.

Espino was relieved in the sixth by Liam Jenkins (W, 1-0), who pitched 2.0 hitless innings in his season debut. Jaime Arias-Bautista got the final six outs to seal the Hillcats win.

The FredNats continue their series against the Lynchburg Hillcats on Thursday. First pitch from FredNats Ballpark is scheduled for 7:05, with FredNats On Deck beginning at 6:50 on the FredNats Baseball Network.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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