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FredNats beat Lynchburg in extra innings on Easter Sunday

From the FredNats:

Elijah Green laced a walk-off single down the left field line to give the Fredericksburg Nationals a 3-2 win over Lynchburg in 10 innings.

Daylen Lile worked a one out walk in the bottom of the first, then stole second base and advanced to third as the throw skipped into center field. He then scored on an errant throw later in the inning by Lynchburg shortstop Juan Benjamin.

From there, the opening weekend rubber match between the FredNats and Hillcats developed into a bonafide pitcher’s duel. For Fredericksburg, right-hander Jose Atencio twirled four innings of shutout baseball, racking up six strikeouts along the way. Alonzo Richardson held his own for Lynchburg, as the 20-year-old didn’t allow anything more than the Lile run across his own four innings.

Both clubs received stellar work from their bullpens. Out of the Hillcats ‘pen, they utilized a trio of arms to shutout Fredericksburg from the first inning through the ninth. Wardquelin Vasquez took the ball first, and he allowed just one hit in two frames. Magnus Ellerts followed him with a 1-2-3 seventh inning, then southpaw Adam Tulloch blanked the FredNats across the eighth and ninth to keep Lynchburg within a run.

From the FredNats bullpen, Kevin Rodriguez was the first man out of the door. He powered through two shutout innings in his 2023 debut, and was succeeded by Brad Lord who booked a clean inning with one punchout. Miguel Gomez made his second appearance of the season and surrendered a hit but no runs, before Christian Ciufetelli took the ball looking to earn his second save.

Ciufetelli allowed a one-out double in the ninth to Guy Lipscomb to put the tying run in scoring position. Angel Zarate then came up clutch for Lynchburg, when he singled through the right side to drive home Lipscomb to tie the game at 1-1. The Hillcats managed to load the bases against Ciufetelli, but he buckled down and retired Juan Benjamin to keep the score level.

Fredericksburg couldn’t push across a run in the bottom of the ninth, so Lynchburg began the 10th with Benjamin as the runner on second. A pair of sacrifice flies pushed him across with the go-ahead run, but Bryan Caceres allowed nothing further.

Manager Jake Lowery went into his bench, tabbing Brenner Cox to be the runner on second in place of Cortland Lawson. After a pair of quick groundouts to put the FredNats in do-or-die mode, Jonathon Thomas worked a walk to reach first as the winning run. Daylen Lile, who scored the first run of the game, battled hard against Lynchburg reliever Reny Artiles. He was given a pitch-clock strike to begin the at-bat, then fell behind 1-2. After a pair of foul balls to stay alive, he worked the count full, before dumping a single into right field to score Cox and tie the game at 2-2. Next up was Elijah Green, who took strike one, before ripping a walk-off single down the left field line to secure an opening weekend series win for the Fredericksburg Nationals.

Bryan Caceres got the win for the FredNats, with Artiles blowing the save opportunity and taking the loss. The Nationals travel south to Fayetteville next week for a six game set against the Woodpeckers. First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:05, with the pitching matchup yet to be determined.

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