Lakeland MLN: Walk-Off Winners

The Flying Tigers (24-19) picked up some ground on first place Tampa this past week; thanks largely in part to a five-game win streak and some late-inning heroics. Despite losing over half of their opening day lineup to Double-A Erie, Lakeland remains in the hunt, just a half behind the Yankees.

Comeback Cats

Trailing by three in the bottom of the ninth, the Flying Tigers mounted a come from behind walk off win Wednesday against the Bradenton Marauders. First-baseman James Robbins put the rally into motion when he led off the inning with an inside-the-park home run. Consecutive singles and a walk loaded the bases for shortstop Dixon Machado; who promptly doubled home the tying runs. Bradenton then elected to intentionally walk outfielder Tyler Collins who was already 3-for-4 on the night. After striking out Wade Gaynor, closer Doug Salinas surrendered a slow roller to the right side off the bat of Dean Green, plating the game-winning run.

For the second time in three days, the Flying Tigers were walk-off winners against the (then) first place Marauders.

In similar fashion, Lakeland mounted another come from behind win on Sunday against division rival Clearwater. Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Marcus Lemon, Luis Castillo and Tyler Collins all knocked in runs to even the score. In the bottom of the tenth inning, Wade Gaynor singled home Lemon, who walked earlier in the frame to win the game 4-3.

Schlereth Returns to the Mound

Recovering from shoulder tendonitis that has sidelined him since April, southpaw Daniel Schlereth returned to the mound over the weekend. Schlereth issued one walk, surrendered a hit and struck out one over 1 1/3 innings in his first two appearances.

Schlereth took the roster spot of fellow Tigers' reliever Al Alburquerque whose rehab was transferred from Advanced-A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo.

Lemon-Aid The recent promotion of Daniel Fields and some creativity with the lineup card has given utility man Marcus Lemon an increase in playing time recently. Taking full advantage, Lemon has been an absolute beast at the plate, raising his batting average to .319 this season. During his eight-game hit streak, Lemon is 16-for-35 (.457) with two doubles, two triples and four runs batted in. The 24-year-old left-handed batter also recorded his fourth four hit game on Thursday.

FSL Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Recently The Florida State League Hall of Fame Committee announced Flying Tigers manager Dave Huppert as a member of the 2012 HOF class.

In June, Huppert notched his 1700th career win. This season is Huppert's 24th as a MiLB manager and second with the Flying Tigers. Huppert currently has more wins than any active Minor League Baseball Manager. In addition to the Tigers, he has managed for the Brewers, White Sox, Marlins, Expos and Phillies. Huppert has also received Manager of the Year honors twice in his career.

The 2012 Class will be inducted into the FSL HOF on November 13th, 2012 at the Plaza Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach.

On Deck

Lakeland looks to continue their winning ways tonight as they travel to Daytona for a three-game series. The Flying Tigers have won two out of three games against the Cubs four times this season. Right-hander and former first round draft pick of the San Diego Padres Cesar Carillo gets the ball for Lakeland in game one. In his Flying Tigers debut last Wednesday, Carillo received a no-decision after surrendering three runs off five hits and a walk over five innings. Alex Burgos and Drew VerHagen are slated to pitch for Lakeland on Wednesday and Thursday.

Friday Lakeland travels to Clearwater as they take on the division rival Threshers. The Philadelphia Phillies FSL affiliate has lost six of their last ten games and are currently 23-20. Thanks to their recent three-game sweep, the Flying Tigers have won eight of their thirteen matchups against the Threshers this season.

James R. Chipman is the Lakeland Flying Tigers correspondent for TigsTown. Be sure to follow him on twitter @JAYRC_TigsTown.

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