Dalton Hicks supplied a walk-off victory for the Fort Myers Miracle in a 2-1 win over the Dunedin Blue Jays in the series opener at Hammond Stadium Friday night.
Tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, Niko Goodrum coaxed a lead-off walk from Blue Jays reliever Justin Jackson. Jackson threw a wild pitch that moved Goodrum to second. Travis Harrison then lifted a fly ball to center and Goodrum moved to third.
Hicks stepped to the dish and, on a 1-0 pitch, stroked a fly ball to right center sacrificing Goodrum home for the winning run.
Scoreless through the first four innings, the Miracle finally got to Dunedin starter Kendall Graveman in the fifth inning. With one out, Graveman struck Stuart Turner on the hip to put a runner aboard. Turner then stole second base. After a fly out to left by Max Kepler, Aderling Mejia ripped a sharp ground ball up the middle to score Turner and give the Miracle a 1-0 advantage.
Making only his second start since coming off the disabled list in late June, Miracle starter Brett Lee allowed just one unearned run in 6.2 innings and struck out a season-high eight batters.
In the seventh, the Blue Jays picked up a run on Jorge Polanco's 23rd error of the season. Knecht reached with a one-out double off Lee. After striking out L.B. Dantzler, Lee got Emilio Guerrero to hit a high chopper to the left side. Polanco grabbed the ball and fired a one-hopper to Hicks at first. The ball skipped off Hicks' glove and into the Dunedin dugout allowing Knecht to score and tie the game, 1-1.
Despite solid starts, Graveman and Lee did not factor into the decision. Gravemen went seven innings and surrendered just one run on three hits with five strikeouts.
Alex Wimmers pitched 1.1 innings and gave up two hits, a walk and struck out three while Tyler Jones worked a perfect ninth to pick up the win. Jones (2-2) struck out one.
The Miracle (53-36, 12-8) welcome the Blue Jays (57-34, 11-11) back Saturday at 6:05 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m. for Beer, Baseball & Boom Craft Beer Fest.