Home Fredericksburg Nationals split Thursday doubleheader with Columbia Fireflies

Fredericksburg Nationals split Thursday doubleheader with Columbia Fireflies

Chris Graham

fredericksburg nationals The Fredericksburg Nationals and Columbia Fireflies split a doubleheader on Thursday night, with the FredNats winning Game 1, 5-1, and Columbia taking Game 2, 3-2, in eight innings.

The Fireflies, the Low-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, got on the board first when the game resumed in the bottom of the third inning. Brennon McNair was on first base when the game was initially suspended, and he promptly stole second base. He advanced to third base on a fly ball to right field, then scored on an Omar Hernandez RBI single to give Columbia the early 1-0 edge.

On to the top of the fifth, where the FredNats, the Low-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, loaded the bases on a pair of walks and an opposite field single from Roismar Quintana. Armando Cruz then got hit by a pitch to force a run in, tying the ballgame at a run apiece.

Later in the frame, with two outs, Daylen Lile came through with a line-drive double to right field. Two runs came in on the play, giving Fredericksburg a 3-1 lead.

Columbia walked a pair of FredNats with one out in the top of the sixth inning, setting up another big inning. This time, Cruz and Johnathon Thomas each ripped two-out, RBI singles to push the score to 5-1.

Matt Merrill and Holden Powell combined to spin three scoreless frames out of the bullpen for Fredericksburg, to lock down a 5-1 victory for the Nationals.

Luke Young was the winning pitcher, while Marcus Olivarez took the loss.

In the second game of the twin bill, Lile opened things up with a leadoff home run in the top of the first inning. He added a second run with an RBI single in the second, staking Jarlin Susana to a 2-0 lead after two frames.

The big right-hander fanned four Fireflies through three innings, before running into some trouble in the home half of the fourth. Dionmy Salon got hit by a pitch and moved to second base with two outs, before Hayden Dunhurtst reached first on an E4 that otherwise would’ve ended the frame.

Brennon McNair then singled back up the middle to bring Salon across, and Dunhurst moved to third base. With runners on the corners now, Susana was called for a balk that forced the tying run in for Columbia.

Susana wound up working a season-best 4.2 innings, with just the two unearned runs and six punchouts on his line.

The game held 2-2 into the bottom of the seventh inning, in a scheduled seven-inning doubleheader game. Columbia got the winning run to third base against Kevin Rodriguez with one out, but K-Rod fanned the next two Fireflies he faced to send the game to extra innings.

Unfortunately, the FredNats could not break the deadlock in the top half of the eighth. In the bottom half, Daniel Vazquez alertly stole third base as the runner placed on second. He came in to score on a Roger Leyton single, as the Fireflies won 3-2.

Rodriguez took the loss, while Cooper McKeehan earned his seventh win.

In tomorrow’s game, Riley Cornelio gets the ball against Frank Mozzicato in a 7:05 start.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].