The Fort Myers Miracle held off the Charlotte Stone Crabs for a 7-6 win Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium.
The Miracle opened the scoring in the second inning on a long two-run homer by Stuart Turner. Travis Harrison reached on a one-out double to get the Miracle going off Charlotte starter Austin Pruitt. After striking out Hicks, Pruitt (3-3) fell behind 3-1 on Turner. Pruitt's next pitch was deposited well beyond the wall in left-center field for his third homer of the season and a 2-0 Miracle lead.
Charlotte answered in the top of the fourth with a two-run homer. After giving up a leadoff walk, Miracle starter Jose Berrios struck out Patrick Leonard and Kes Carter. Then, on the first pitch, Maxx Tissenbaum hit a deep fly ball to right that sailed over the fence for his first home run of the season, 2-2.
Berrios (6-2) tossed six innings and allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Berrios has now won six of his last nine starts and will head to the FSL All-Star Game to represent the Miracle in Bradenton on Saturday.
The Miracle took the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a tape measure home run by Mike Gonzales off Pruitt. Adam Brett Walker reached on a single to right field to begin the inning. Then, Gonzales hammered an 0-1 pitch to deep left, putting a dent in the top of the roof of the bar down the right field line.
Pruitt finished the game with four runs given up on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
Leading 4-2 entering the bottom of the eighth, the Miracle scored three runs off Stone Crabs reliever Nick Sawyer without a hit. Sawyer issued five walks and recorded just one out on a sacrifice bunt. Gonzales and Harrison each picked up RBI walks and Dalton Hicks knocked in a run with a bases loaded ground out to first.
With a five-run lead, the Miracle brought in reliever Tyler Jones after Steven Gruver pitched a perfect seventh and eighth. Patrick Leonard reached on an error by Jorge Polanco to begin the ninth. Then, Kes Carter singled to right. Jones got Tissenbaum to roll a grounder to Hicks at first for the first out, but Jonathan Quinonez reached on an infield hit to load the bases. Josh Sale hit a grounder to short, but beat out the double play attempt to score a run, 7-3.
Jones then issued a walk to Julian Ridings and Tyler Goeddel knocked in a pair with a two-run single to cut the Miracle lead to two. With runners on the corners, Goeddel took off for second and Turner's throw went into center field to allow another Stone Crab run, 7-6.
The tying run standing 90-feet from home, Jones struck out Tommy Coyle on a high fastball to end the game and secure a Miracle win.
Fort Myers is now two games ahead of St. Lucie for the first half crown in the FSL South Division. The Mets were postponed due to rain and play a doubleheader Thursday. The Miracle now have a magic number of three.
The Miracle (38-27) go for a sweep of the Stone Crabs (30-34) at Hammond Stadium Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.