PORT CHARLOTTE - The Charlotte Stone Crabs bested the Fort Myers Miracle 5-2 Sunday evening.
The teams traded runs in the early innings. The Stone Crabs loaded the bases against Miracle starter D.J. Baxendale in the first inning. With two outs, Ariel Soriano hit a slow roller to short. Aderling Mejia had difficulty pulling the ball out of his mitt and Johnny Field beat Mejia's throw to second to allow a run to score.
Dalton Hicks doubled for the Miracle to start the second. After Adam Brett Walker struck out, Max Kepler hit a slow bouncer to first base. Patrick Leonard's throw to pitcher Jared Mortensen covering was off line and trickled into foul ground. Hicks raced around third and scored to tie the game 1-1.
Charlotte regained the lead briefly in the third with a RBI double by Johnny Field, but the Miracle tied the game quickly in the bottom of the fourth with a solo blast from Walker. On a 1-0 pitch, Walker hit a tape measure homer off Mortensen to left field.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Crabs went on top for good. With one out, Marty Gantt doubled into the left field corner. A wild pitch from Baxendale (4-3) moved Gantt to third. After Granden Goetzman grounded out to first, Juniel Querecuto lofted a single into right field to drive in Gantt.
Two more Crabs runs crossed home in the fifth charged to Baxendale. Singles from Ryan Hanigan, Tyler Goeddel and Field loaded the bases with one out. Soriano then knocked in his second RBI in the game with a sacrifice fly to right field. Todd Van Steensel replaced Baxendale and gave up a RBI single through the right side to Gantt making it 5-2.
Baxendale lasted 4 2/3 innings and allowed five earned runs. Mortensen (2-1) picked up the win for the Stone Crabs with seven innings giving up two runs, one earned, on only two hits.
The Miracle (78-54, 37-26) return to Bradenton for a three-game series with the Marauders on Monday.