Travis Harrison was struck by a pitch from reliever Beck Wheeler in the ninth inning with the bases loaded to seal a 9-8 walk-off victory for the Fort Myers Miracle over the St. Lucie Mets Thursday night at JetBlue Park.
With the game tied 8-8 going into the bottom of the ninth, Wheeler (4-2) entered from the Mets bullpen and walked lead-off hitter Max Kepler. Tyler Grimes attempted to bunt Kepler to second, but popped out to the third baseman Jeff McNeil. Jason Kanzler then walked to push Kepler to second. A wild pitch by Wheeler advanced the runners to second and third. The Mets decided to put Aderling Mejia on board intentionally to load the bases.
Wheeler struck out Niko Goodrum for the second out, but his 0-1 pitch sailed inside and caught Harrison on the forearm, forcing Kepler in and ending the game 9-8. The walk-off win is Fort Myers' fourth of the season.
In a back-and-forth battle, the Miracle and Mets combined for 17 runs, 28 hits and 10 pitchers. The Mets built a 4-1 lead going to the bottom of the second. The Miracle got a RBI fielder's choice from Kanzler and run-scoring base hit from Goodrum to cut the St. Lucie lead to a run.
The Miracle jumped out to a two-run advantage with three runs in the fourth. Fort Myers sent eight to plate starting with a lead-off infield hit by Kanzler. Mejia singled through the left side. Goodrum rolled into a force play, but beat out a double play. Mets starter Matt Koch then walked Harrison to load the bases. Dalton Hicks delivered a two-run single to right field to give the Miracle a one-run lead. Two batters later, Adam Brett Walker doubled into right center to knock in Harrison and put the Miracle up, 6-4.
St. Lucie tied the game in the sixth. Miracle starter Steven Gruver surrendered a solo home run to Albert Cordero and then walked Gilbert Gomez. Gruver exited and B.J. Hermsen entered the game, eventually allowing the tying run 6-6 to score on a fielder's choice by L.J. Mazzilli.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Miracle scored two runs on three consecutive hits with two outs. Walker ignited the rally with a base hit to center. Kepler then worked a 2-2 count before tripling into the right field corner to score Walker from second. Grimes followed with a ripped single through the left side for an RBI.
Gavin Cecchini tied the game for the Mets in the eighth with a two-run homer off Miracle reliever Alex Muren.
D.J. Johnson worked around a lead-off single by Phillip Evans in the ninth. Johnson's (1-0) scoreless frame set the stage for Harrison's painful walk-off plate appearance.
The Miracle (72-51, 31-23) welcome the Palm Beach Cardinals to JetBlue Park Friday night.