FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 10, 2015) - Niko Goodrum blasted a two-run home run and starter Aaron Slegers provided a stellar outing as the Fort Myers Miracle blanked the Charlotte Stone Crabs, 3-0, in the home opener at Hammond Stadium in front of a team record 9,209 fans in attendance.
Slegers (1-0) was perfect through the first 10 hitters of the game before allowing a one-out single to Kean Wong in the fourth inning. With the game scoreless in the bottom of the third, Tanner Vavra reached base for the Miracle on a third strike wild pitch from Charlotte starter Ryne Stanek.
After Engelb Vielma grounded out to second base, Goodrum stepped into the box. After working the count to 2-0, Goodrum blasted a Stanek (0-1) fastball deep into the right field boardwalk to break the 0-0 deadlock and give the Miracle a 2-0 lead.
Continuing his strong work with a lead, Slegers exited the game after six innings and allowed just two hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
Stanek lasted five innings and was charged with two runs on five hits with one walk and six punch outs.
Miracle relievers Alex Muren and Brian Gilbert each were credited with holds after tossing scoreless seventh and eighth innings respectively.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Miracle tacked on an insurance run. Like Vavra in the third, Vavra reached on a third strike wild pitch and stole second base with Goodrum at the plate. Charlotte reliever Buddy Borden then fanned Goodrum. Alex Swim stepped up and yanked a high bouncer through the right side. Playing in a shift, Stone Crabs second baseman Kean Wong attempted a sliding block, but the ball bounced off his glove and into center field. Vielma raced around third and scored, 3-0.
For the ninth, manager Jeff Smith called on reliever J.T. Chargois for the final three outs. The hard-throwing right-hander pitched a perfect final frame with two strikeouts to record his first save of the season.
The Miracle have now won the home opener in three consecutive seasons. Fort Myers is now 15-9 in 24 home openers. The attendance record bested the previous mark from July 3, 1996 of 8,969.
The Miracle (1-1) return to Hammond Stadium tomorrow at 6:05 p.m. for the third of a four game series with the Stone Crabs (1-1). The first 500 fans through the gates will receive a giant replica of the 2014 Miracle championship ring. To order tickets, call (239) 768-4210 or order online at www.miraclebaseball.com.