Tampa Pitchers Strike out 18 in 3-1 Loss
TAMPA, Fla. - A quartet of Tampa pitchers combined to strike out 18 Miracle batters, but Fort Myers (8-4, 41-39) prevailed in the end with a 3-1 win over the Yankees (8-4, 47-35) on Wednesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Tampa starter Erik Swanson and Fort Myers starter Sean Poppen traded zeros in the first two innings prior to an hour and 52-minute rain delay.
Swanson stranded a hit and a walk while tallying four strikeouts in his two innings of work. The right-hander threw 22 of 32 pitches for strikes in his 10th start of the season.
Poppen made his High-A debut with Fort Myers and stranded a pair of hits while striking out two in two scoreless frames. The righty tossed 18 of 26 pitches for strikes.
The game resumed in the top of the third and Nelson Molina greeted RHP Raynel Espinal with a triple off the right field wall. Espinal used a pair of strikeouts and induced a pop out to strand the runner.
Jeff Hendrix blasted a solo home run over the wall in right-centerfield, cracking the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third off RHP Keaton Steele .
Fort Myers tied the score off Espinal in the fifth when Molina pulled his second triple of the game off the right field wall and scored on a sacrifice fly by Max Murphy .
LHP Caleb Frare (L, 0-1) took over in the seventh and the first three Miracle batters reached base. Brian Navarreto walked and Tanner English put down a bunt single before Molina looped an RBI single into left. English later scored on a sac-fly by Brandon Lopez, giving Fort Myers a 3-1 lead.
Frare bounced back to strikeout the side in the eighth before RHP Jose Pena did the same in the ninth, capping off the 18-strikeout performance by Tampa pitchers.
Molina (4-for-4, 2 3B, RBI, R, SB) paced the Miracle offense with his first four-hit game since 8/19/16 (Cedar Rapids) and his first multi-triple game since 6/25/14 (GCL Twins)
Hendrix (2-for-3, HR, BB, RBI, R) clubbed his second home run and his first since May 1st
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