FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 20, 2017) - Alex Jackson continued his hot stretch at the plate with a solo home run in the fourth inning, but the Florida Fire Frogs dropped the finale against the Fort Myers Miracle, 8-3, on Thursday night at Hammond Stadium. The defeat hands Florida its second consecutive series loss to start an 11-game road trip, with the Atlanta Braves High-A affiliate starting off with a 2-6 mark.
Fort Myers (6-9) started the scoring with two runs in the second on three consecutive extra-base hits with two outs against Touki Toussaint (1-2). Zander Wiel tripled for the first hit of the game for the Miracle, and Sean Miller drove the runner home with a double to left for the first run of the inning.
Brian Navaretto followed with another double to left, bringing home Miller put Florida (6-9) in a two-run hole.
The Fire Frogs got a run back in the fourth when Jackson (1x4, R, HR, RBI) obliterated his fifth long ball of the season, hitting the scoreboard in Hammond Stadium on the fly to bring the visitors within a run.
The score remained 2-1 going into the sixth until Fort Myers struck for five runs to break away.
Toussaint had retired nine of the previous 11 batters entering the inning, but a leadoff double to left by Casey Scoggins started the frame against the righty. Chris Paul singled the runner to third to put men on the corners for Trey Vavra, who was hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out.
The Fire Frogs' starter got a ground ball to first off the bat of Max Murphy, but Carlos Castro's diving attempt came up empty as the ball caromed off his glove, allowing Scoggins to score and Murphy to reach first safely for the 3-1 deficit.
Wiel knocked his second extra-base hit of the game with a double to left, bringing home Paul and Vavra, ending the night for Toussaint.
The 20-year-old finished the night with seven runs allowed on seven hits, a walk and three strikeouts.
Sean McLaughlin relieved Toussaint with runners at second and third and no outs. The right-hander was able to retire Miller on a fly to right. Murphy tagged from third to score the fourth run of the inning. Navaretto singled to right to put runners on the corners in front of Kihle's sacrifice fly to right for the fifth tally of the frame.
Florida pieced together a two-out rally in the ninth with two runs to cut Fort Myer's lead down to five. Back-to-back double by Jonathan Morales (3x4, R, 2B) and Tyler Neslony (1x4, R, 2B, RBI) cut the deficit to six. A walk to Castro put runners on first and second for Alay Lago (1x3, 2B, RBI, BB), who ripped a run-scoring double down the right-field line for the second run of the inning.
Fort Myers got a run back in the bottom half of the eight on another RBI double from Navaretto.
Bradley Roney made his season debut on Thursday night for Florida. The 24-year-old right-hander walked a man and struck out two in a scoreless seventh.
Florida will head north to take on the Clearwater Threshers for game one of a three-game series on Friday night at Spectrum Field. LHP Luiz Gohara (1-0) will look to stop the Fire Frogs' two-game skid against Threshers' LHP Cole Irvin (2-0, 0.69). First pitch is scheduled for 6:15 p.m., with coverage starting at 6:00 p.m. on the Florida Fire Frogs Broadcasting Network.
The Fire Frogs return home to Osceola County Stadium for a six-game homestand beginning Tuesday, April 25. The first night is Fire Rum Tuesday at Florida's home stadium. As part of the Most Improved Student Program, the Florida Fire Frogs will reward students for their hard work and achievement with a pre-game, on-field ceremony. Fans can enjoy $3 Fire Rum mixed drinks and $2 tostones. April 25 will also be Service Industry Night, where members of the service industry can purchase tickets at a discounted rate.
About the Florida Fire Frogs
The Florida Fire Frogs are the Advanced-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves and compete in the Florida State League. The Fire Frogs play their home games at Osceola County Stadium, located at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla. For more information, please visit www.FloridaFireFrogs.com, and follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.