BRADENTON, Fla. (May 18, 2015) - The Fort Myers Miracle pumped out 11 runs on 12 hits in a series opening 11-5 victory over the Bradenton Marauders on Monday evening at McKechnie Field.
Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, the Miracle jumped on Bradenton spot starter Andy Otamendi. After facing the minimum and allowing just one hit in the first three frames, Otamendi (2-4) surrendered a lead off single to Zack Granite. Swiping second base, Granite watched as Jason Kanzler earned a walk. Niko Goodrum then smoked a line drive up the middle to score Granite and tie the game, 1-1.
Bradenton manager Michael Ryan made the call to the bullpen and brought in Julio Eusebio. Chad Christensen greeted Eusebio with a base hit into left to load up the bases. Mitch Garver gave the Miracle the lead with a sacrifice fly to right field and Bryan Haar added a third run in the inning on an RBI ground out to second.
The Marauders rallied for a second unearned run off Miracle starter Aaron Slegers in the bottom of the fourth. After a Vielma throwing error allowed a run to score in the second, Logan Wade's poor throw to second base on a force play opened the door for an Austin Meadows RBI ground out to the pitcher, 3-2.
Kanzler and the Miracle answered in the next half inning. Vielma doubled down the left field line off Eusebio with one out. After Granite flew out to center, Vielma moved to third on a wild pitch. Kanzler then stepped up and blasted a 2-2 pitch from Eusebio halfway up the grandstand bleachers beyond the outfield boardwalk in left field. The home run was Kanzler's fourth of the season and extended the Miracle lead to 5-2. Fort Myers added a third run in the inning on a bases loaded walk issued to Haar, his second RBI.
Leading 6-2, the Miracle continued to mount the lead. In the sixth, Kanzler added an RBI double to center field. In the seventh, a second bases loaded walk of the game was issued to Marcus Knecht while Wade and Vielma followed with RBI fielder's choices. With three more runs in the sevent, the Miracle built a 10-2 lead.
The final offense from the Miracle bats came in the top of the eighth. Kanzler reached on an error by shortstop Chris Diaz. After Goodrum flew out, Christensen roped a double down the third base line and Kanzler scored to push the Miracle lead to 11-3. The hit was Christensen's fourth of the night and he finished 4-for-5 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI.
Kanzler was 2-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored.
Slegers (2-2) got the win after needing 99 pitches to navigate five innings. Allowing two unearned runs, Slegers limited the Marauders to just four hits and two walks while striking out two.
Alex Muren entered from the Miracle bullpen and tossed two perfect frames. In the eighth, Todd Van Steensel took the hill and gave up a solo home run to Jose Osuna. One frame later, Osuna tagged Van Steensel again for a two-run single and brought the score to 11-5. Van Steensel retired Justin Maffei on a strikeout to end the game.
The Miracle (18-20) have won two in a row and bring the series back to Hammond Stadium to begin a six-game homestand. On Tuesday, the Miracle host the Marauders (19-19) for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch on a 2-for-1 Tuesday. Fans can purchase buy one, get one general admission tickets at the box office. Once inside the gates, the BOGO offers continue with hot dogs and small domestic draft beers. For tickets, call (239) 768-4210 or order online at www.miraclebaseball.com.