The Lakeland Tigers knocked off the Fort Myers Miracle 8-7 Sunday in 11 innings at Hammond Stadium.
In the 11th, Francisco Martinez and Steven Moya each singled off Miracle reliever Ryan O'Rourke to start the inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Tyler Hanover hit a fly ball to right field for a sacrifice fly to bring in Martinez as the eventual game-winning run.
Joe Rogers pitched a scoreless tenth and eleventh inning to pick up the win and improve to 1-1 on the season for Lakeland. O'Rourke (5-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season.
The Miracle scored the first run of the game in the first inning with the help of the Lakeland defense. After back-to-back singles from Levi Michael and Aderling Mejia, Evan Bigley grounded to short. Dixon Machado tossed to Flying Tigers' second baseman Devon Travis, but Travis' throw to first sailed into the stands allowing Michael to score, 1-0.
Lakeland answered in the top of the second. Steven Moya doubled off Miracle starter Jason Wheeler and Jeff McVaney followed with a base hit to put runners on the corners. Tyler Hanover then hit into a fielder's choice, beating out a double play, that brought in Moya. Two batters later, Machado turned on a 2-0 pitch down the left field line to score Hanover from first and give the Flying Tigers a 2-1 lead.
In the second inning, Fort Myers drew even when Stephen Wickens singled into center and McVaney misplayed the drive and Wickens took second. Jairo Rodriguez advanced the runner to third on a grounder to second and Andy Leer drove in Wickens with a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
The Miracle regained the lead in the third when Evan Bigley launched a high fly ball over the wall in straight away left. The home run is Bigley's first since joining the Miracle on Friday on a rehabilitation stint. Fort Myers added two more in the third with a two-run shot from Mike Kvasnicka on a 2-1 pitch from Lakeland starter Jeff Ferrell. Kvasnicka's seventh homer of the season gave the Miracle a 5-2 lead.
In the fourth, the Miracle added another run on a two-out, RBI single from Mejia. The Tigers came roaring back. Hanover delivered a two-run double that knocked Wheeler from the game in the fifth. Devon Travis knocked an RBI single through the left side in the sixth and McVaney rolled a single through the middle in the seventh for an RBI to tie the game, 6-6.
Devon Travis broke a the tie in the top of the eighth inning with a solo home run off Miracle reliever Jose Gonzalez. Travis drilled the first pitch from Gonzalez (0-2) over the fence in left to complete a comeback that erased a 6-2 Miracle lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Miracle tied the game. After a lead-off double by Leer, Michael laid down a sacrifice bunt to push Leer to third. Then, with the infield drawn in, Mejia hit a ground ball that went under the glove of Hanover and into left field allowing Leer to score and knot the game at 7-7.
The Miracle pitching staff gave up a season-high 19 hits and the game lasted over four hours.
The Miracle (55-34, 10-12) wrap up the series with Lakeland (40-49, 10-11) at 7:05 p.m. Monday at Hammond Stadium.