The heads-up baserunning of Eddie Rosario gave the Fort Myers Miracle a 4-3 comeback win over the Lakeland Tigers Thursday night at Hammond Stadium.
On a night where the Miracle gave away a 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood, Rosario showed off his own set of wheels in the seventh inning. Trailing 3-2 after the stretch, the Miracle started the bottom of the seventh with a base hit into left by Stephen Wickens off Tigers reliever Eduardo Sanchez. With Wickens running, Rosario looped a single into right-center to put runners on the corners.
Adam Brett Walker stepped up and worked a full count from Sanchez (0-2). Walker scalded a line drive up the middle that scored Wickens to tie the game 3-3. Rosario alertly advanced to third base. Sanchez was removed by Lakeland manager Dave Huppert in favor of Brennan Smith. After Dalton Hicks struck out, Smith got Travis Harrison to pop up to shallow center. Shortstop Jared Reaves made the catch close to the infield dirt, but Rosario surprised Reaves by dashing home. Rosario slid in safely to put the Miracle on top 4-3.
After entering in the seventh and allowing an inherited runner to score, Brandon Peterson tossed a perfect eighth inning. Miracle closer Tyler Jones struck out a pair in a scoreless ninth to nail down his sixth save of the season.
The Tigers picked up a pair of runs in the first inning to jump out to a 2-0 lead on Miracle spot starter Tim Shibuya. Chad Wright led off with a single to left field and Curt Powell followed with a base hit to right. Jeff McVaney then hit a weak chopper to the left side. Miracle shortstop Jorge Polanco grabbed and threw wildly beyond Hicks at first allowing Wright to score on the error. After Shibuya struck out Lance Durham, Conner Harrell hit into a fielder's choice to drive in Powell from third.
Fort Myers got a run in each of the fourth and fifth innings. Tyler Grimes worked a bases-loaded walk off Lakeland starter Yorfrank Lopez to get the Miracle on the board, 2-1, in the fourth. In the fifth, Walker reached on a one-out error by Reaves. A fielder's choice put Hicks at first and Walker advanced to second safely. With two on and one out, Harrison laced a single to center to score Walker and tie the game temporarily at 2-2 before Lakeland took the lead in the seventh.
Peterson (1-0) earned his first win of the season with two scoreless frames out of the pen. Sanchez was the losing pitcher for the Tigers and did not record an out in the seventh while allowing two runs and three hits.
After the game, the Miracle gave away a 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood courtesy of Pam's Motor City. The lucky winner was Rich Kubek. The Miracle will give away two more used cars on Thursday, June 26, and Friday, July 11.
The Miracle (35-24) have a 1 1/2-game lead in the FSL South Division with 10 games remaining in the first half. Fort Myers hosts Lakeland (38-22) Friday night at 7:05 p.m.