BRADENTON - The Fort Myers Miracle spoiled the home opener for the Bradenton Marauders with a 4-1 victory Friday night.
Miracle starter Jason Wheeler tossed five shutout innings and earned his first win in the Florida State League. Wheeler (1-0) allowed a base runner in four of five innings, but worked around trouble scattering four hits while striking out three and walking one.
Leading 2-0 in the fifth, Knudson lined a one-out home run over the left field fence for his first homer.
The Miracle flexed more muscle in the seventh when Vargas launched a towering home run to right field to push the advantage to 4-0.
Miracle 4, Marauders 3: Jhonathan Goncalves went 3-for-4 with a double, a run batted in, two runs scored and a stolen base to propel the Miracle opening night victory.
Tom Stuifbergen lasted five-plus innings allowing three runs, including a pair of Marauder solo home runs.
With the score tied 3-3 in the sixth, the Miracle took the lead for good with Goncalves igniting the offense. With one out, he doubled down the left field line. He went to third on a passed ball and when the throw trickled down the left field line Goncalves scored the game-winning run.
The Miracle (2-0) return to Hammond Stadium for a 6:05 p.m. rematch with the Marauders, followed by fireworks.