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Knecht, Miracle Walk-Off in 11-Inning, 5-4 Victory

April 27, 2015 - Florida State League (FSL) - Fort Myers Miracle News Release

FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 27, 2015) - Marcus Knecht's bases loaded walk-off halted a three-game losing streak and stamped a 5-4 win for the Fort Myers Miracle over the Palm Beach Cardinals in 11 innings on Monday night.

An eighth extra inning game in the first 19 of the season, the Miracle needed a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to set the stage for Knecht's patience to pay off. Trailing 4-0, the Miracle started the comeback with Niko Goodrum earning a walk off Cardinals reliever Kevin Herget. Then, Knecht dropped a single into center field and Goodrum raced to third. Bryan Haar stepped up and chopped a 1-2 pitch through the left side to bring in Goodrum and get the Miracle on the board.

Herget got Jason Kanzler swinging for the first out, but Chad Christensen singled into right field to reload the bases. Engelb Vielma then sliced a 1-1 pitch into left field that bounced off the grass in front of Jimmy Bosco's sliding attempt and Knecht scored, 4-2. Herget allowed a third run to score in the inning with a wild pitch that went through the legs of Cardinals catcher Jose Gonzalez with Aderling Mejia at the plate.

Mejia hit a bouncer to short with runners at second and third. Juan Herrera threw home to retire Christensen trying to score the tying run. Needing a two-out hit to draw even, Alex Swim delivered with a sinking line drive into left field. Vielma trotted home and the Miracle totaled four runs in the seventh on five hits.

With the game knotted at 4-4, manager Jeff Smith turned to Brian Gilbert out of the Miracle pen. Gilbert posted two scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth, working out of a two-on, no-out jam in the eighth.

Tim Shibuya darted out of the bullpen for extra innings. In two frames, Shibuya (1-0) was perfect with five ground ball outs and one strikeout.

After an 1.1 innings work for the Cardinals, reliever Chris Perry started the eleventh by getting Mejia to fly out to left. Then, Swim picked up his third hit of the night with a base knock up the middle. After Mitch Garver earned a five-pitch walk, Tanner Vavra replaced Swim at second base. Perry (1-2) proceeded to walk Goodrum to load the bases.

Falling behind in the 0-1, Knecht worked a full count before watching a fastball sail high and outside forcing in the game-winning run.

The win improved Fort Myers' record in extra inning games to 3-5 and marked the largest come from behind victory of the season.

Palm Beach got four runs in the fourth inning off Miracle starter Luke Westphal. In a no decision, Westphal allowed six hits with all four runs being earned over four innings with a walk and a strikeout. Alex Muren pitched the sixth and seventh without giving up a run.

Cardinals starter Alex Reyes went 5.1 innings with no runs, three hits and two walks issued. Reyes struck out eight.

The Miracle finished with four batters tallying multi-hit nights. Swim and Christensen each went 3-for-5 while Knecht and Haar were 2-for-5.

The rubber match between the Miracle (7-12) and Cardinals (10-9) is Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. It's a 2-for-1 Tuesday, which means fans can buy one general admission ticket and get a second free at the Hammond Stadium ticket office. 2-for-1 Tuesday also features buy one, get one deals on hot dogs and small domestic draft beers. For more information or to order tickets, call (239) 768-4210 or visit www.miraclebaseball.com.


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