FORT MYERS, FL - Alfredo Rodriguez's error at short on the first play of the night set the tone for game two Saturday night at Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex. LHP Kevin Canelon and RHP Aaron Fossas combined to allow eight runs on four hits and three walks in the first. Minnesota Twins top prospect Royce Lewis capped off the inning with a three-run home run down the left field line.
After Lewis reached on the Rodriguez error, Alex Kirilloff doubled him to third. Both would score on Jose Miranda's two-run single. Canelon gave up a single to Taylor Grzelakowski and walked Travis Blankenhorn to load the bases with no outs.
Canelon was pulled for Fossas five batters into the game. Fossas inherited a 1-0 count on Caleb Hamilton, then threw three straight out of the zone to force in the Miracle's third run. Ryan Costello walked on five pitches to force in a run and extend the lead to 4-0. After Fossas retired Aaron Whitefield, Mark Contreras hit a sacrifice fly to score Blankenhorn to make it 5-0. Lewis followed that up with his three run shot to extend the lead to 8-0.
After Fossas retired the first man in the second, Grzelakowski and Blankenhorn doubled on back-to-back pitches to push the lead to 9-0. Two pitches after Blankenhorn's RBI, he scored on a Hamilton RBI single to put the Miracle in double digits.
The Tortugas got on the board in the seventh, Courtney Hawkins doubled off RHP Griffin Jax to lead off the frame and Tyler Stephenson homered to cut the score to 10-2.
RHP Ryan Nutof hit Contreras with the bases loaded and two-outs in the bottom of the seventh to force in the Miracle's eleventh run.
Blankenhorn rounded out the scoring in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single to score Kirilloff and run the lead to 12-2.
Jax (1-0) earned the win. He allowed two runs on six hits in 6 ⅔ innings with a walk and six strikeouts. Canelon (0-1) took the loss. He did not record an out, allowing five runs (three earned) on three hits with a walk.
The Tortugas look to avoid elimination on Sunday when the send RHP Tejay Antone to the mound. RHP Brusdar Graterol will go for Fort Myers.
First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 5:35 PM with coverage beginning at 5:20 PM with the Metcare Pregame Show on AM 1230, AM 1490, and FM 106.9 WSBB.
NOTES: Kevin Canelon, Aaron Fossas, Ryan Nutof, and Cory Thompson all made their postseason debuts… Tyler Stephenson finished 2-for-3 and homered for the first time since 8/24… Brantley Bell finished with his second straight multi-hit game… Courtney Hawkins is 12-for-his-last-26, having hit safely in 7-straight games.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.