LAKELAND - Lakeland pulled away from the Fort Myers Miracle with five runs in the late innings en route to a 6-3 win Friday night.
The Miracle got on the board in the first inning. With one out, Travis Harrison coaxed a walk from Tigers starter Edgar De La Rosa. After Stuart Turner lined out to third, Adam Brett Walker dropped an 0-2 pitch down the right field line for a two-out, RBI single.
Lakeland tied the game 1-1 in the fifth. Lance Durham led off with a double against Miracle starter Ethan Mildren. After Tyler Gibson struck out, Harold Castro laced a first pitch to right-center for a double that drove in Durham.
Mildren received a no decision in his best start of the season. Going six innings, Mildren allowed three runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
In the seventh, the Tigers took the lead on back-to-back, two-out extra-base hits off Miracle reliever Brian Gilbert. With one out, Tyler Gibson earned a walk. After Gilbert (2-4) struck out Castro, Curt Powell doubled down the left field line to score Gibson and give the Tigers the lead. Connor Harrell followed with a triple in the gap in left-center to plate Powell and add an insurance run 3-1.
Gilbert surrendered three runs in the eighth inning on a two-run single bt Durham and RBI hit by Castro. Alex Muren entered the game with the bases loaded in the eighth out of the Miracle bullpen to record the final out of the inning.
Fort Myers scored two runs in the ninth against closer Scott Sitz. Turner reached on single to left. Walker followed with a double down the right field line. Right fielder Jeff McVaney's throw was wild to second allowing Turner to score and Walker to move to third. Niko Goodrum then rolled out to second to drive in Walker and cut the Tigers lead to 6-3. Sitz got Jason Kanzler to line out to short to end the game and record his third save.
The Miracle (65-44, 25-15) return to Saturday for game two of the series with Lakeland (54-53, 12-28).