Kennys Vargas blasted a go-ahead three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to muscle the Fort Myers Miracle to a 7-4 win over the Bradenton Marauders and complete a three-game sweep night at Hammond Stadium.
After Eddie Rosario tied the game 4-4 with an RBI single, Stephen Wickens was issued a two-out walk by Marauder reliever Joan Montero. Vargas stepped up and sent the first pitch to the opposite field, clearing the wall in straight away left and giving the Miracle a 7-4 lead.
The Miracle trailed 4-3 entering the eighth against Montero. John Murphy led off with a single through the left side, then Levi Michael walked. After Aderling Mejia hit into a force play that retired Michael at second, Rosario hit a sharp grounder through the middle to plate Murphy, but Mejia was retired at third base. Vargas took care of the rest with his 11th homer and now has a team-best 44 RBI.
Bradenton and Fort Myers battled all night long. After a 44-minute delay pushed back the first pitch, the Marauders scored the first run of the game without the benefit of a hit off Miracle starter Jason Wheeler. Marauder shortstop Alen Hanson reached on a walk, advanced to second on a ground ball and scored on a two-out throwing error by Michael.
The Miracle were not down very long. In the bottom of the second, Angel Morales blasted his fifth home run of the season. With Jhon Goncalves at second, Morales hit a towering two-run shot into left center to give Fort Myers a 2-1 advantage.
After the Marauders tied the game in the top of the third on an RBI fielder's choice by Dan Gamache, Michael supplied the second of three Miracle homers on the night. Michael hit a 1-2 pitch from Marauder starter Nick Kingham over the wall in right to push the lead to 3-2.
Wheeler held the lead until the fifth when Bradenton scored two runs. The first came on a one-out solo homer by Eric Avila and the second was a two-out run-scoring single by Gamache.
The Miracle still trailed until the eighth when Vargas delivered the night's heroics. Fort Myers' final homer marked the 1,400th in team history since moving to Southwest Florida in 1992.
Wheeler pitched seven innings and gave up four runs, three earned, while receiving a no decision. Kingham went six innings and allowed three runs and also had a no decision. Miracle reliever Ryan O'Rourke pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings for the win and improved to 5-0.
The Miracle (38-14) travel to Palm Beach Saturday night to start a three-game series with the Cardinals at 6:35 p.m.