Fans at Hammond Stadium witnessed a slugfest between the Fort Myers Miracle and the St. Lucie Mets Friday night in front of a crowd of 4,119. There were 24 combined runs and 31 hits poured onto the scoreboard, but the Mets prevailed and gained a 12-9 victory.
The Miracle jumped on the scoreboard with two outs in the bottom of the first. Dalton Hicks slapped a single off Mets starter Michael Fulmer. Adam Brett Walker followed with a walk, and Mike Gonzales brought Hicks home with a RBI single. Travis Harrison showed off his bat with a three-run homer over the left field fence, his first of the year, to conclude the four-run assault. Harrison would finish the evening 2-for-5 with three RBI and a stolen base.
St. Lucie shattered the Miracle lead by scoring seven runs in the top of the second. Cam Maron led off with a single and advanced to second on an error by shortstop Jorge Polanco, who missed the base on an attempted force play at second. Maikis De La Cruz punished Polanco and Miracle starter Jose Berrios for the mistake by slamming a three-run homer to reduce the lead to 4-3. A batter later, Brandon Nimmo singled, moved to second on a balk committed by Berrios and scored on a T.J. Rivera single.
Rivera and Brandon Allen, who reached on a walk, would come around to score on an Aderlin Rodriguez double to left field. Maron concluded the St. Lucie attack in his second plate appearance of the inning with an RBI single, putting the Mets up 7-4.
The offensive fireworks continued in the Miracle half of the second. Two consecutive singles put Levi Michael and Polanco aboard, with Michael charging home as Hicks' pocketed his second RBI of the night on a base hit. Adam Brett Walker brought Polanco to the plate with a single of his own and a Gonzales ground out allowed Hicks to tap home plate and tie the game, 7-7.
Once again the Mets bats answered the rally in the top of the third. Berrios was pulled after allowing seven runs, two earned, in favor of Steven Gruver. Gruver (1-1) struggled, putting Phillip Evans and De La Cruz on base before erasing De La Cruz via a fielder's choice initiated by Dilson Herrera. Back-to-back singles by Nimmo and Rivera drove in Evans and Herrera for the final two runs of the inning, raising the Mets to a 9-7 lead.
The Miracle managed one in the bottom of the frame. Max Kepler singled and would cross the plate as Michael lifted a sacrifice fly to left off reliever Seth Lugo for the eighth run. Fulmer was responsible for the run.
Both orders were quiet in the fourth, but the Mets did not allow the streak to continue and hammered Miracle pitching for two more innings. Nimmo snatched his first triple of the year and second RBI of the game. Rivera knocked in his third RBI in a three-run Mets' fifth to go up 12-8.
Gruver was charged with five runs, all earned, over two and two-thirds innings of work and received the loss.
Jones failed to restrain the Mets offense and was tagged with three runs in the sixth. Evans scored for the second time on a Herrera single. Herrera and Nimmo, who walked, were waved around on a double by Allen.
Mason Melotakis, the fourth pitcher utilized by Fort Myers, was the only pitcher to deny a run to the Mets. The southpaw recorded the final nine outs and in the process allowed only two walks and a hit to Nimmo.
Nimmo finished 4-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored.
Fort Myers scraped out one last run, charged to Lugo (1-0) but granted by Beck Wheeler with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Niko Goodrum led off with a triple and scored on a Polanco ground out.
Fort Myers was retired in order in the ninth inning. Lugo would nab the win for the Mets, his first of the year, after five innings, one run and three strikeouts.
The Miracle look to avoid a second sweep against St. Lucie Saturday.