Harrison's patience pays off for Fort Myers

Twins prospect drives in two, walks twice, helps Miracle take Game 2

Travis Harrison led Fort Myers with 64 walks and 80 runs scored during the regular season. (Tom Hagerty/MiLB.com)

By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com | September 6, 2014 1:44 AM

Travis Harrison is eager to learn, but the biggest thing he was taught this season was patience.

The Twins' No. 16 prospect drove in two runs, one with a bases-loaded walk, as Fort Myers blanked Daytona, 5-0, to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 Florida State League Championship Series.

"I felt good. I wanted to try to get on base, try to get guys in," Harrison said. "Just as a team, we were battling. It's obviously nice to get two wins at home and to be one game away. We just have to go up there from the first pitch to last pitch [and] just grind it out. We are pretty confident."

With a runner at third and one out in the third inning, the Cubs' infield was playing in. Harrison came through with a single to produce the game's first run, then scored on a triple by Dalton Hicks. Stuart Turner followed with a sacrifice fly to extend the Miracle's lead to 3-0.

Fort Myers loaded the bases in the eighth before Niko Goodrum and Harrison walked to plate a pair of insurance runs.

"We were up, 3-0, and the more runs we can get, especially in the playoffs, it's better. We can take pressure off the pitchers," the 21-year-old outfielder said. "[In that situation], we have to go up there being patient, wait for the pitch down the middle."

Of course, the 2011 first-round pick is no stranger to walks. He led the Miracle with 64 along with 80 runs scored during the regular season.

"I feel like I've learned a lot about hitting and it's ... getting on base and helping the team win is not just about hitting a home run or driving everyone in," Harrison said. "[Manager] Doug Mientkiewicz and [hitting coach] Jim Dwyer really helped me a lot. And knowing what the pitcher is trying to do, you let him dig his own grave, you hit the pitch that you want to attack and that you can do the most damage with."

Already participating in his third postseason, Harrison is hitting .429/.714/1.293 in four games, a marked improvement after going 3-for-32 in his first two playoff experiences with Rookie-level Elizabethton and Class A Cedar Rapids.

"I feel we've all gotten a lot better this year. And it's a tribute to our coaching staff, and we've learned from each other," he said. "For me, learning the game and knowing what I do well and all that stuff that I hadn't learned until this year has really helped me drive in runs and get on base. And I look forward to the opportunity to learn more."

Ethan Mildren (1-0) allowed five hits over five innings for the win, walking four batters and striking out three. Nick Burdi fanned three over the final 2 1/3 frames to record the save.

The series shifts to Daytona for Game 3 on Saturday night.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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