BRADENTON - The Bradenton Marauders launched four home runs Friday night in an 8-4 victory over the Fort Myers Miracle.
The Marauders blitzed Miracle starter Manuel Soliman for three first inning home runs. With one out, Gift Ngoepe earned a walk and advanced to second on a ground out by Stetson Allie. Willy Garcia then lifted a 1-2 pitch from Soliman (1-6) over the wall in left for a two-run homer. Soliman then walked Dan Gamache and Jose Osuna followed with the second two-run shot of the inning. Osuna's blast was on a 1-0 count and landed in the Miracle bullpen in left.
Bradenton posted back-to-back homers when Jacob Stallings followed Osuna with another home run to left field to push the Marauder lead to 5-0. Bradenton added a run in the second on a passed ball allowing Junior Sosa to score. Soliman left the game after two innings and gave up six runs, five earned, on four hits.
The Miracle offense closed in to within two runs after posting four in the fifth. With two outs, Byron Buxton singled up the middle to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. After Jhon Goncalves earned a walk, Marauder starter Zack Dodson yielded a bloop RBI single by Stephen Wickens into center to score Buxton. The base hit extended Wickens' hitting streak to 11 games and he has now picked up an RBI in four straight.
Then, with two on, D.J. Hicks lifted a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right field for his fourth home run of the season. Hicks' blast cut the Marauder lead to 6-4 and the Miracle first baseman finished the evening 2-for-4.
Bradenton pulled away with a run each of the seventh and eighth innings. Gamache knocked in a run with a two-out single and Stallings hit his second homer of the night in the eighth to give the Marauders an 8-4 advantage.
Dodson (6-8) picked up the win with five innings of work on the mound. Dodson gave up four runs on seven hits. Zac Fuesser pitched the final two innings to earn his second save.
The Miracle (71-47, 26-26) return to Hammond Stadium Saturday to take on the Marauders at 6:05 p.m. After the game, the Miracle will light up the sky with fireworks.