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Miracle complete sweep of Manatees

July 23, 2014
Special to The Breeze , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Dalton Hicks hit two home runs and drove in four to guide the Fort Myers Miracle to a season and series sweep of the Brevard County Manatees with a 9-2 win at Hammond Stadium Wednesday afternoon.

Hicks opened and closed the scoring for the Miracle with a pair of long home runs. In the first, he sent a 1-2 pitch from Manatees starter Hobbs Johnson into the the chair back seats in right-center for a two-run shot.

Adam Brett Walker joined the power party in the third with a tape measure homer to left-center that cleared the brand new outfield boardwalk concourse. On a 1-1 pitch from Johnson (9-7), Walker's majestic drive marked his 21st long ball of the season and gave the Miracle a 3-0 lead. Walker's 21 homers ties him for the most in Miracle history for a single season. Brock Peterson hit 21 in 2006.

The Miracle doubled the lead in the fifth with only one hit. Nate Roberts started the inning by reaching on an error by second baseman Nathan Orf. Johnson then issued walks to Hicks and Walker to load the bases. Manatees manager Joe Ayrault went to the bullpen for right-hander Scott Lieser. On his first pitch, Travis Harrison hit a 30-foot chopper down the third base line and beat out the throw from Greg Hopkins to score a run.

Lieser then walked Niko Goodrum and hit Tyler Grimes with a pitch to force in two more Miracle runs and extend the lead to 6-0. Johnson was charged with all six runs, five earned, and lasted 4 1/3 innings with four walks and four strikeouts.

In the sixth, the Manatees got on the board against Brett Lee. Orf led off with a hit to right-center. After Michael Reed grounded out, Tyrone Taylor singled to center to move runners to the corners. Victor Roache then lifted a line drive to left to score Orf. After Alfredo Rodriguez singled, Brandon Macias drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right to cut the advantage to 6-2. Fort Myers scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. In the sixth, Hicks picked up his third RBI with a broken bat single to center. In the seventh, Harrison doubled to lead off and scored on a two-bagger by Grimes. In the eighth, Hicks launched his second home run of the game and third of the last two days into the stands beyond the center field fence.

Hicks finished the afternoon 3-for-4 with two homers, three runs scored and four RBI. He now has eight home runs for the season.

B.J. Hermsen pitched the last two innings and retired all six hitters faced.

The Miracle wrapped up the season series with Brevard County at a perfect 7-0.

The Miracle (63-37, 22-9) has won five consecutive games and 12 of their last 13. They travel to Tampa to start a three-game set with the Yankees on Thursday.



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