BRADENTON – The Marauders (43-40, 8-6) closed a 7-1 deficit to within 7-6, but fell by that margin on Thursday night against the Fort Myers Miracle (49-33, 8-5) at McKechnie Field. The final out of the game was picked up by Fort Myers closer Tyler Jones (S, 10) after a 56 minute rain delay with two down in the ninth.
Bradenton took an early 1-0 lead in the third on Raul Fortunato’s run-scoring ground out to second base. Walker Gourley started the rally by doubling off Matt Tomshaw (W, 7-1). Jacob Stallings moved Gourley to third with a sacrifice bunt.
The Miracle batted around in the top of the fifth, plating four runs and chasing John Kuchno (L, 3-8) with two outs. Ryan Hafner surrendered three runs in the sixth inning, allowing the Miracle to open up a six run lead. Hafner and Matt Benedict combined to hold Fort Myers scoreless over the final three innings.
The comeback began with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Adam Frazier, Max Moroff, and Josh Bell smacked three straight singles, the last of which plated a run. Jose Osuna then doubled in Moroff. Jordan Steranka plated two runs with a single to chase Tomshaw and close the gap to 7-5.
Jacob Stallings led off the bottom of the seventh with a single against Brandon Peterson. Fortunato bunted Stallings over, before Frazier doubled to plate Stallings and close the game to within a run. The Marauders stranded the tying run at third in the seventh and eighth.
In the ninth, Moroff walked with two away on a 3-2 pitch against Jones. Bell struck out, but reached on a wild pitch immediately before the rain delay. Jones ended the game on five pitches after play resumed.
The Marauders hit the road on Friday to face the Palm Beach Cardinals at 6:05 p.m. Jason Creasy will start for the Marauders against Corey Williams of the Cardinals. The game will be broadcast online on www.BradentonMarauders.com.
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