Fort Myers 8 at Lakeland 1
W: A. Burnett (8-5, 3.92); L: J. Nickerson (11-4, 3.88)
HR: FTM: J. Portes (11). LAK: J. Justice (10).
Justin Justice knocked a solo shot fly ball over the right field wall for his 10th home run of the year, but that was all the Lakeland Flying Tigers would get, as Alex Burnett turned in a stellar performance on the mound for the Fort Myers Miracle.
Justice's yarder came in the top of the 3rd. Burnett would scatter five hits and one walk over six innings while fanning a career-high 10 to keep the Tigers caged. Carlos Gutierrez worked a pair of innings in relief, givng up 1 hit and Anthony Slama worked the final inning, allowing one hit and striking out 3.
Fort Myer's was feeling feisty after several days of rest and continued the slug fest the Flying Tigers had started the day before.
Juan Portes led off by hitting a ground rule double to center field. Johnny Woodard singled him in to give the Miracle one.
Danny Santiesteban singled in the top of the 3rd and stole 2nd base. Woodard took a walk before Wilson Ramos' line drive single plated Santiesteban. Edward Ovalle then doubled in Woodard to make it 3-0, Fort Myers.
That's when Hurricane Justin hit, but much like Fay's passage through the Southwest Florida area, he didn't do much damage.
Portes would take the run back in the top of the fourth, hitting a fly ball over the left field fence for his 11th home run of 2008.
Woodard doubled in the top of the 5th. Back-to-back singles by Wilson Ramos and Edward Ovalle brought him home. Zach Simons would be summoned for the bull pen at that point to replace starter Jonah Nickerson. He would get Tintor to pop out and Garrett Olson to hit into a double play to leave the two Miracle runners stranded.
Simons kept the Miracle bats quiet until he was replace on the mound in the top of the eighth by Lester Oliveros. Oliveros allowed a walk to Juan Portes, but did not allow a hit...
Until the ninth inning. Woodard took a double to lead off and Ramos doubled as well. Ovalle smacked his 10th triple of the season out to center field, and Eli Tintor sacrificed him in. That gave the Miracle their eight, as Olson popped out and Lehmann ground out to retire the Miracle.
Louis Ott tripled off Slama to lead off the bottom of the 9th, but Slama found three straight strikes to keep him at 3rd as he ended the contest.
Portes and Woodard were both 3-for-4 with walks, Portes with 2 runs and a RBI, and Woodard with a pair of doubles, three runs and a RBI. Portes would fall a triple shy of the cycle, hitting a single, a double and a home run in the contest.
Wilson Ramos went 4-for-5 at the plate with a run and 2 RBIs. Ovalle had the triple that Portes needed, and went 3-for-5 at the plate, but lacked the home run for the cyle. He'd end up with one run and 3 RBIs. Ortiz as 1-for-4 and shared the game's one hit wonder role with Danny Lehmann who was 1-for-5, as was Santiesteban, who also had a run.
Both Tintor and Santiesteban fell one strike out short of the Golden Sombrero, and left the park without a prize. (Better luck next time, kids!)
The rubber match of the 3-game set will be played Friday at 7:00 PM unless Fay has found some more rain to dump on us. (Don't you just hate weepy little girls?) Freddy Garcia (0-0, 0.00) will start the game for the Tigers on a major league rehab, while Spencer Steedley (1-3, 7.83) will attempt to throw his second straight gem for the Miracle.
Take I-75 North Blog
Thursday's GCL game was rained out and will be made up on Tuesday, the final day of the GCL season. The GCL Twins continue to hold on to the wild card slot, while the GCL Pirates defeated the GCL Orioles, to move to 1.5 games head of the Twins in the standings. The Twins play at home Sunday with a double header against the Orioles set for an 11:00 AM start time. (Yes, Brett, I'll be trying to graph the O's. At least a few of the boys.)
The Rock Cats fell 6-3 to Erie in New Britain. Yohan Pino took the loss. Danny Berg made his AA debut, going 1-for-4 at the plate. Matt Tolbert, on rehab, finished off 2-for-4 with a double and a run.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees slipped by Rochester, 8-7. Alejandro Machado went 3-for-5 at the plate with a run and 2 RBIs for the Red Wings.
The Burlington Bees downed the Beloit Snappers, 6-2. Henry Reyes suffered the loss. Ben Revere had the night off, so Estarlin De Los Santos when 3-for-5 for Beloit with a RBI to make for it. Former Miracle Yangervis Solarte was 2-for-5 at the plate, while former GCL alumni Andrew Schmiesing was 2-for-3 with a walk, a run and a RBI on the night. (Recap)
Team USA defeated team Japan 4-2 in the 11th inning , concluding the round-robin portion of the competition with a 5-2 record. They advance to the medal round and will meet Cuba in the second semifinal with the first pitch set for 6:00 PM Friday on the Wukesong Main Field. Recap)