FredNats get five RBIs from Cristhian Vaquero, defeat Hillcats, 9-6

FredNats get five RBIs from Cristhian Vaquero, defeat Hillcats, 9-6

Chris Graham

Fredericksburg NationalsFive RBIs from Cristhian Vaquero helped lift the FredNats to a 9-6 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats on Wednesday, and vault Fredericksburg into second place in the Carolina League North standings.

Riley Cornelio worked a scoreless top of the first, and the Nats, the Low-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, got him a lead in the bottom of the frame. With one out, John McHenry got hit by a pitch, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Vaquero then roped a single into center field to bring McHenry in to score.

Vaquero swiped second base, and later scored on a Roismar Quintana single to make it 2-0 Fredericksburg.

Cornelio held on to that lead until the third inning. Luis Durango reached as the leadoff man in the third, and stole both second and third base. He easily scored on a triple by Guy Lipscomb, then Angel Genao plated Lipscomb to bring Lynchburg, the Low-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians, level at 2-2.

The Hillcats then added two more runs in the fourth inning, all with two outs. Durango punched a single into right field to break the 2-2 tie, and later in the frame, Genao picked up his second RBI to make it 4-2 Lynchburg.

But in the bottom of the fourth, Marcus Brown demolished his first professional home run, a two-run blast that tied the game at 4-4 after four innings.

In the top of the sixth, Lynchburg put some traffic on the bases behind Bubba Hall. With two outs, Lipscomb drew a walk, and Angel Genao singled to put runners on the corners. Hall then tried to pick Genao off of first base, but an errant throw allowed Lipscomb to score to put the Hillcats back in front 5-4. They added another run on a sac fly in the seventh inning to pull ahead 6-4.

Yet the FredNats battled back right away, in the home half of the seventh inning. Tuda Thomas worked a leadoff walk, then McHenry reached on catcher interference. Vaquero then smashed a ball on the ground just fair inside the right field line for a game-tying triple, bringing the Nationals back level at 6-6. Quintana then powered Fredericksburg back in front with his single to drive home Vaquero.

Nick Pogue worked a scoreless eighth inning, and the bats got him some breathing room in the bottom of the inning. After a walk to Thomas, Vaquero launched a ball into the right field corner that just barely stayed fair inside the pole, for a two-run home run. It was the first professional homer for Vaquero, which put the Freddies up 9-6.

Pogue then retired Lynchburg in order in the ninth, to close out a FredNat win, as Fredericksburg leapfrogged the Hillcats for second place in the division.

Hall earned the win, with Pogue locking down his first save, and Yorman Gomez suffered the loss.

Tomorrow evening, Liam Sullivan goes for the Nationals, against Austin Peterson.

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,