Jason Wheeler faced one over the minimum and twirled a complete-game 7-0 shutout for the Fort Myers Miracle over the Bradenton Marauders Monday night at Hammond Stadium.
The win earns the Miracle a share of the lead with the Marauders in the Florida State League's South Division standings.
Wheeler (2-1) bounced back after a poor start in Jupiter on April 22, allowing five runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. Monday night, Wheeler surrendered just two hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Of the 27 outs recorded, Wheeler registered nine ground ball outs and four infield pop ups while lowering his season earned run average to 2.70.
After allowing a second inning single to Jordan Sterenka, Wheeler retired 15 Marauders in a row until Josh Bell lined a base hit into center field in the seventh. With Bell at first, Jose Osuna hit a towering fly ball to left field. Travis Harrison hauled the fly into his mitt against the wall. Bell was then caught stealing at second base to end the inning. Wheeler was perfect in the eighth and ninth innings to close out a gem.
Dalton Hicks broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to deep right field off Bradenton starter Orlando Castro. On a 1-1 pitch, Hicks hammered a soaring drive into the top of the drink rail seating for a 1-0 lead.
Adam Brett Walker followed with a single. After a strikeout of Mike Gonzales, Castro (2-1) gave up a run-scoring double from Niko Goodrum.
In the fifth, the Miracle added another pair of runs. Goodrum drove in the second of his three RBIs on the night with a bases loaded walk and Levi Michael scored on a wild pitch by Marauders reliever Josh Smith.
Fort Myers added insurance runs in the late innings. Stuart Turner knocked in a run with a RBI ground out int he seventh. Gonzales and Goodrum combined for back-to-back run-scoring hits in the seventh. Gonzales doubled into left to bring in a run and Goodrum singled through the right side to plate another, pushing the Miracle lead to 7-0.
Goodrum finished 4-for-4 with three runs knocked in, one run scored and two stolen bases. Jorge Polanco was 2-for-5 with a run scored and has now hit in seven consecutive games.
Castro lasted 4.1 inning and gave up four runs on eight hits with four strikeouts.
The Miracle (14-10) host the Marauders (14-10) in the second of a three-game series Tuesday at Hammond Stadium.