Late lead slips away as FredNats swept at Lynchburg
The Fredericksburg Nationals came close to securing their elusive first win in team history on Sunday afternoon, but four unearned runs in the seventh inning lifted the Lynchburg Hillcats to an 8-4 victory and a series sweep.
The FredNats (0-6) will head home and begin a 12-game homestand at brand-new FredNats Ballpark starting on Tuesday against the Delmarva Shorebirds.
Jake Randa got Fredericksburg off to their best start of the season in Sunday’s game, driving a three-run double to right-center in the first inning to give the FredNats a quick 3-0 lead. Lynchburg scored single runs in the second and third off starter Alfonso Hernández, but the lefty departed after four innings with a 3-2 lead.
In the fifth, Amos Willingham made his FredNats debut and issued a leadoff walk that came home to score on a Micah Pries single to tie the game 3-3. The righty coaxed an inning-ending double play to prevent further damage, setting up a Fredericksburg rally in the sixth when J.T. Arruda reached on a throwing error, stole second, and scored on a pair of passed balls to re-claim the lead at 4-3.
Lynchburg brought in Andrew Misiaszek (1-0) with two outs and runners at the corners, and the lefty escaped trouble to keep the game within reach for the Hillcats. That bore fruit in the seventh, when Angel Martinez led off the inning with a triple off Malvin Peña (L, 0-1). The FredNats reliever almost got out of the jam with a lead, coaxing a pop-up and a shallow fly ball, but a throwing error by third baseman Gio Díaz turned a potential third out into two runs and a 5-4 Lynchburg lead. One batter later, Johnathan Rodriguez deposited a 3-0 pitch over the wall in right-center to extend the lead to 7-4.
After scoring four unearned runs in the seventh off Peña, the Hillcats added one more in the eighth against Tomás Alastre. Misiaszek gave way to Jerson Ramirez, who got the final three outs to seal the sweep.
The FredNats have an off day on Monday, then begin their first ever homestand as they welcome the Delmarva Shorebirds to FredNats Ballpark. First pitch of Tuesday night’s home opener is scheduled for 7:05, with a special edition of FredNats On Deck beginning at 6:00 on the FredNats Baseball Network. The broadcast will cover audio of the pregame ceremonies, and a video broadcast of every home game is available with a subscription to MiLB.tv.