Miracle fend off Hammerheads, win 6-3
Michael's three-run double ends up the difference maker
JUPITER - Jose Berrios allowed one hit and struck out seven over five innings to help the Fort Myers Miracle post a 6-3 victory over the Jupiter Hammerheads Wednesday night.
In the fourth inning, the Miracle took a lead with the help of Byron Buxton's top class speed. With two outs and the bases empty, Buxton hit a hard ground ball to third base. Colin Moran made a diving stop, but threw wide of the bag at first allowing Buxton to take second base. The play was ruled a hit and then an error on Moran.
With Travis Harrison at the dish, Hammerheads starter Chipper Smith lost control of a breaking ball that bounced away from catcher Austin Barnes. Buxton moved to third and rounded for home. Buxton scored sliding without a throw from Barnes to give the Miracle a 1-0 lead.
Berrios (2-2) held the Hammerheads off the board through the fifth. The seven strikeouts recorded by Berrios matches a season-high.
The Miracle offense exploded in the top of the seventh with five runs on six hits against Jupiter reliever Cody Crabaugh. Fort Myers sent nine to the plate in the inning and the offensive outburst began with a Niko Goodrum tripled into right center with one out. Aderling Mejia then singled in Goodrum with the Jupiter infield playing on the edge of the grass. Adam Brett Walker reached on an error and Jonathan Murphy knocked in a run with a line drive into center field.
After a Stuart Turner base hit into center, Levi Michael stepped up with the bases loaded. On the first pitch from Crabaugh, Michael roped a sharp grounder down the first base line to clear the bases. Michael's three RBI pushed the Miracle lead to 6-0.
Mason Melotakis pitched in relief of Berrios and was perfect in the sixth and seventh, but ran into difficulty in the eighth. Melotakis allowed two base runners and exited the game. Madison Boer took over and induced a 6-4-3 double play from Matt Juengel to end the inning.
The Hammerheads finally broke through against the Miracle in the ninth. Colin Moran picked up a RBI double and Blake Barber hit a two-run homer.
Eight of nine hitters in the Miracle order hit safely in the game.
Smith (1-3) was the losing pitcher after four innings in a spot start. Giving up just two hits and striking out two, the only run Smith allowed was unearned.
The Miracle (19-14) return to Roger Dean Stadium for the second game of the series against the Hammerheads (13-20) Thursday night.