The Fort Myers Miracle played their last home game at Hammond Stadium on Thursday. They will play their final 10 home games at JetBlue Park so renovations can begin at Hammond Stadium, where the Miracle have compiled a 41-18 record this season.
The Miracle (24-14, 65-42 overall) were looking to split the four-game series with the Clearwater Threshers Thursday night, after dropping the previous two. Despite that, the Miracle remain one-half game behind the Palm Beach Cardinals in the Florida State League's South Division standings.
A 10-game, 11-day road trip awaits the Miracle beginning Friday at Lakeland. After four games with the Tigers, the bus tour continues on to St. Lucie for three followed by three more at Palm Beach. They return home for eight straight games at JetBlue starting Aug. 12.
Wednesday night, the Threshers built an 8-0 advantage in three innings before the Miracle picked their way back in an 8-7 loss.
Miracle starter Tim Shibuya surrendered eight runs in the first three innings on nine hits. The Threshers sent nine men to the plate in the second and scored five runs. In the third, Chris Serritella hit a three-run homer off Shibuya (7-4) to push the advantage to 8-0.
Shibuya took the loss with all eight runs earned with a walk and two strikeouts.
Clearwater starter Miguel Nunez stunted the Miracle offense allowing just one hit over six shutout frames. Nunez (5-7) walked three and struck out eight.
The Miracle finally got on the board with a five-run seventh against Clearwater reliever Ramon Oviedo. Jason Kanzler led off with a walk then moved to third on a double by Jairo Rodriguez. Tyler Grimes then snapped the shutout by serving an RBI single to right field. Byron Buxton followed with a run-scoring base hit. After Aderling Mejia popped out, Dalton Hicks earned a walk.
Threshers reliever Ethan Stewart took over and retired Travis Harrison on a pop up. A wild pitch scored Grimes from third, then Max Kepler ripped a double to right-center field and two runs scored.
The Miracle inched closer in the eighth with another pair of runs. Kanzler led off the frame with a single to left. Rodriguez walked and Grimes flew out to right. Then, with Kanzler on the move, Buxton hit a ground ball to the left side. Kanzler leapt over the dribbler, landed on third base and came home to score. Buxton was credited with his second RBI of the night and finished the evening 2-for-4.
Stewart gave way to Threshers reliever Cody Forsythe. After getting Mejia to fly out to center, Hicks singled up the middle to bring in Rodriguez and cut the Threshers lead to one final run.
Forsythe recorded the final four outs of the game, stranding four base runners to earn his third save of the season.