Unearned runs spell FredNats downfall in 4-1 defeat

Fredericksburg NationalsAn opportunistic Fayetteville attack sent the Fredericksburg Nationals to their second straight defeat on Friday night, falling 4-1 to the Woodpeckers.

A solid start from Michael Cuevas (L, 0-4) was spoiled by a pair of errors leading to four unearned runs that proved to be the difference in the ballgame. The FredNats managed just three hits and struck out 14 times at the plate.

After an hour and 19 minute rain delay to start the game, the FredNats jumped ahead in the third thanks to a leadoff walk to Viandel Peña and a wild pitch from Fayetteville starter Alex Santos (W, 2-2). Junior Martina beat out an infield single, scoring Peña from third and giving the FredNats a 1-0 lead.

The Woodpeckers answered back immediately, tying the game in the third thanks to a Martina error at third and a run-scoring fielder’s choice from Kobe Kato. Cuevas managed to limit the damage by stranding runners at second and third, but he wasn’t as lucky in the fourth as another error led to three more unearned Fayetteville runs.

With one out and two runners on base, a grounder to first baseman Kevin Strohschein was bobbled into an error. Cristian Gonzalez put the Woodpeckers in front 2-1 with a sacrifice fly, and Kato and Victor Mascai followed with RBI singles to extend the lead to 4-1.

That was all Santos would need, as the starter completed 5.0 innings for the first time in his professional career with seven strikeouts. Heitor Tokar (S, 2) was even better, striking out seven more over 4.0 perfect innings to earn the save.

The FredNats continue their series against the Woodpeckers on Saturday. First pitch from Segra Stadium is scheduled for 5:00, with FredNats On Deck beginning at 4:45 on the FredNats Baseball Network.

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