The Miracle (39-28) held on to their slim lead over the St. Lucie Mets in the South Division standings by bouncing the Marauders (35-32) 6-2 on Monday night at Hammond Stadium. The Marauders are 1-6 at Hammond Stadium this season. The game was delayed for 53 minutes at the start by rain.
The Marauders struck early against Jason Wheeler (W, 6-5). D.J. Crumlich walked with one out in the first inning and went to third on Josh Bell’s single. Bell went to second on a wild pitch. Eric Wood singled to plate Crumlich and move Bell to third, where Jose Osuna’s blooper to right field plated the second run of the inning.
Fort Myers answered swiftly against Florida State League wins leader Chad Kuhl (L, 7-5). Jorge Polanco tripled in the right-center gap, then scored on a bunt single to third base by Stephen Wickens.
The Marauders held their 2-1 lead as Wheeler piled up strikeouts. The lefty recorded a season high 10 strikeouts, and the Miracle pitching staff accumulated 15 for the night.
The decisive rally for Fort Myers came in the fifth. A bad hop single by Niko Goodrum was followed by a pair of soft floating fly balls that fell for hits for Stuart Turner and Tyler Grimes, with the latter plating Goodrum. Polanco then raked a single to right to plate the go-ahead run. Wickens lifted a sacrifice fly to center to cap the rally and put Fort Myers up 4-2.
Dalton Hick homered off Jeff Inman in the eighth inning to establish the final margin. Brandon Peterson pitched one inning and Tim Shibuya (S, 2) pitched two to earn his second save for the Miracle.
Bradenton and Fort Myers meet against Tuesday at 7:00. John Kuchno will be on the mound for the Marauders against Matt Tomshaw of the Miracle. Kuchno has recorded three straight seven inning starts. The game will be broadcast online at www.BradentonMarauders.com.
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