Lakeland MLN: Aiming for .500

The Flying Tigers were eliminated from playoff contention in the Florida State League North Division last week, despite taking two of three from second-place Daytona over the weekend. At 31-32, Lakeland hopes to finish the second half on a positive note by breaking .500.

The Flying Tigers also split four games with Dunedin, both wins coming in shutout fashion.

Right-hander Mark Sorensen tossed six innings, struck out five and allowed just two hits in a 2-0 Lakeland victory at Dunedin last Wednesday. With that win, coupled with his six-inning performance Tuesday night in which he allowed just one earned run and struck out eight, Sorensen made a strong case for FSL Pitcher of the Week, an honor recently earned by former teammates Adam Wilk and Jon Kibler, both promoted to Double-A Erie.

Wilk was named to the FSL Postseason All-Star team last week. His 3.01 ERA ranked fourth in the league and his 1.10 WHIP was tied for second.

After dropping the fist game of a double-header in Dunedin last Thursday, the Flying Tigers came back with their second shutout win, a shutout-by-committee, as Shawn Teufel, Michael Torrealba and Dan Gentzler combined to throw seven innings and allowed just four total hits.

Jacob Turner and Luke Putkonen also turned in good outings.

Turner threw five innings of three-hit ball and struck out five, not allowing an earned run in a game that saw the Flying Tigers exploded for four runs in the top of the 14th inning to top Daytona, 5-1. The following night, Putkonen turned in 7.2 shutout innings, striking out four and allowing four hits in the Flying Tigers' third shutout win of the week, a 3-0 win over Daytona.

Offensively, the contributions came from all over.

Patrick McKenna went 7-for-25 for the week. Four of his seven hits were doubles, and he also drove in a pair of runs. Daniel Fields was also 7-for-25, blasting a pair of home runs. Francisco Martinez added a pair of doubles and three RBI, going 9-for-29 for the week.

Though he started the week 0-for-9 in three games against Dunedin, Jordan Lennerton ended the week on a four-game hit streak in which he was 7-for-16, including four doubles, three of which came in a 4-3 loss to Dunedin Tuesday night. He's now hitting .319 with a .405 OBP, a .539 slugging percentage and a .944 OPS in Lakeland this year, all among the team leaders.

The Flying Tigers end the season with a five-game homestand in which they host Dunedin (28-36) Wednesday and Thursday night before hosting second-place Daytona (37-26) for a season-ending three-game set. Daytona is currently 3.5 games behind division-leading Tampa (40-22), and is the only team in the division not eliminated from contending with the Yankees for the second-half crown.

If it comes down to the series in Lakeland for Daytona, the Flying Tigers will have something to play for despite being eliminated from playoff contention: A chance to play the spoiler.


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