CLEARWATER - Matt Tomshaw stifled the Clearwater Threshers over eight scoreless innings to guide the Fort Myers Miracle to an 11-0 series opening win at Bright House Field Tuesday evening.
Tomshaw (4-1) picked up his fourth consecutive win. Facing just one over the minimum in eight innings, Tomshaw allowed just three hits and one runner to reach scoring position. Compiling three strikeouts, Tomshaw did walk two, but was helped by a season-high four double plays turned by the Miracle defense.
The Miracle struck early with a three-spot in the second inning against Clearwater starter Ethan Stewart. Dalton Hicks began the inning by coaxing a walk. After Adam Brett Walker flew out to right, Mike Gonzales hit into a force play to erase Hicks at second. Tyler Grimes then singled up the middle.
With runners at first and second, Max Kepler roped a 2-0 pitch through the right side to bring in Gonzales, 1-0. Stuart Turner extended Fort Myers lead to 3-0 with a two-run base hit up the middle.
Hicks added a run for the Miracle in the top of the third. Niko Goodrum led off with a line drive double that stuck in the wall in left center field. After a fly out to right by Travis Harrison moved Goodrum to third base, Hicks bounced a single up the middle to push the Miracle advantage to 4-0.
Stewart (2-5) gave up two more in the fourth. After getting the first out, Kepler lined a full count pitch into left and Turner followed by yanking a double down the third base line. With runners at second and third, Aderling Mejia lined a base hit into right to score Kepler. Brian Pointer's throw home was cut off and Mejia was caught in a run down. Dancing on the base path for an extended period of time, Mejia allowed Turner to beat a throw home to score a second run in the inning.
In the sixth, Fort Myers added another pair of runs on a sacrifice fly by Harrison and Mejia scored on a wild pitch by Clearwater reliever Kevin Walter.
The Miracle pushed across three more runs in the ninth inning. With the bases loaded, Turner registered his second double of the night. On a 1-1 pitch for Clearwater reliever Miguel Nunez, Turner laced a line drive into the right field corner to score two runs. Mejia followed with a single to cap the Miracle scoring on the night at 11 runs.
Turner finished 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI. Mejia, Goodrum, Gonzales, Grimes and Kepler each had multiple hit nights as well.
Brandon Peterson pitched a scoreless ninth inning to complete the shutout.
The Miracle (29-21) return to Bright House Field tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. for game two against the Threshers (10-40). Fans can listen to the action on www.miraclebaseball.com with the 'Voice of the Miracle' Brice Zimmerman. The Head Quarters pregame show begins at 12:35 p.m.