FORT MYERS, Fla. – Aderling Mejia delivered a bases loaded RBI walk-off single in the bottom of the eleventh inning to send the Fort Myers Miracle to a 3-2 victory over the St. Lucie Mets on Sunday afternoon at Hammond Stadium.
Tied 2-2 with one out, Jason Kanzler ignited the Miracle rally with a push bunt single down the first base line off Mets reliever Kyle Regnault. Kanzler then raced from first to third on a base hit into right field from Engelb Vielma. After Niko Goodrum was issued an intentional walk to load the bases, Regnault (0-1) exited and St. Lucie brought in Ricky Knapp.
After fouling off the first pitch, Mejia hit a one-hop liner to the left side of the infield. Drawn to the edge of the grass, Mets shortstop Ahmed Rosario got a piece of the ball on a diving attempt. The ball bounced away from Rosario and Kanzler raced home and Mejia was mobbed at first base.
A tightly contested game, the Miracle got an excellent start from Ryan Eades. Continuing his solid work from his first start in Tampa, Eades kept the Mets off the board for the first five frames and extended his scoreless streak to start the season to 11 innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Miracle got on the board by pushing across a run without the benefit of a hit. Mets starter Rob Whalen struck Tanner Vavra with a 3-2 breaking ball to put a runner at first with one out. Vavra advanced to second on a ground out by Max Kepler. Then, Marcus Knecht hit a chopper to the left side that third baseman Jhoan Urena missed and Vavra scored on the error, 1-0.
After his five scoreless innings, Eades was tagged in the sixth by the Florida State League home run and RBI leader Michael Conforto. On an 0-1 pitch, Conforto sent a blast beyond wall in right field for his fourth homer of the season, 1-1.
That was the only run Eades allowed in six innings with six hits, one walk and three strikeouts in a no decision. Whalen also did not factor into the decision after five innings and one unearned run allowed.
St. Lucie picked up the lead in the eighth with Miracle reliever Brandon Peterson on the mound. With one out, Matt Oberste tripled into center and then trotted home on a single through the right side by Maikis De La Cruz to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
Reliever Robert Coles entered for St. Lucie in the eighth and tossed a 1-2-3 inning, but struggled in the ninth. Chad Christensen led off with a single up the middle and was sacrifice bunted to second by Logan Wade. Coles then hit Kanzler with a pitch and walked Vielma to load the bases. With one out, Goodrum lifted a fly ball into right field deep enough to score Christensen and force extra innings.
The Mets threatened in the tenth and eleventh. After working out of a two-on jam in the ninth, Todd Van Steensel loaded the bases in the tenth with two hits allowed and a hit batter. Van Steensel rallied to strike out the next three hitters, all swinging.
In the eleventh, J.T. Chargois allowed a two-out double and a walk, but fanned Rosario to close the frame and pave the way for Mejia’s heroics. Chargois (1-0) picked up the win.
The Miracle staff stranded 16 Mets on the bases.
Fort Myers (5-6) embarks on a six-game road trip on Monday, starting with a three-game series in Jupiter, Fla. against the Palm Beach Cardinals. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. and fans can listen to every play with the “Voice of the Miracle” Brice Zimmerman live from Roger Dean Stadium on www.miraclebaseball.com. The MiracleBaseball.com pregame show starts at 6:10 p.m.