Even during an East Texas summer, it has to rain sometime… and sometimes at the most inopportune times.
The heavens opened up late Thursday night, prematurely bringing to an end an East Texas Pump Jacks 6-1 loss at the hands of the McKinney Marshals. The Jacks loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning but were unable to score, after which the rains came and washed out the final inning.
The Marshals struck first, picking up solo runs in the second and fourth innings off of starter Jamie Niley. McKinney tacked on two more in the top of the sixth inning on a two-RBI triple by Casey Selsor that ended the night for Niley. Kory Cleveland came on to strand Selsor at third and hold the score at 4-0.
The Jacks responded in the home half of the sixth. Russell LaFleur led off with a single, and two outs later Kyle Frasard registered a safety of his own. Mike Petello dropped a single into left-center field, scoring LaFleur and putting East Texas on the board.
The winds then began swirling and blowing out to right field, for the first time this season possibly giving hitters an advantage in the very pitcher-friendly Driller Park. Unfortunately, the Pump Jacks couldn’t take advantage of the environment. The Marshals tacked on two runs in the top of the eighth, and the Jacks loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame, only to be denied.
On the evening, the two teams struck out a total of 22 times, led by Niley’s season-high ten whiffs. Niley (1-2) surrendered eight hits, walked just one, and allowed four runs, two of them earned, in 5.2 innings.
Cleveland was charged with the two runs in the eighth inning, walking two and striking out three. He didn’t allow a hit in his two innings of work.
Benjamin Frith gave up a hit and walked on in his one inning of work to finish out the eighth.
At the plate, LaFleur went 2-for-4 with a run scored to extend his hitting streak to five games, three of them multi-hit performances. He is batting .381 during the streak and he’s now hit safely in ten of his last twelve games.
Petello also went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
The loss didn’t hurt the Jacks in the standings, since the first-place Victoria Generals lost at home to the Brazos Valley Bombers. East Texas remains in second place, a half-game behind Victoria and two games ahead of the third-place Bombers.
The Pump Jacks continue their series with McKinney on Friday when they host Fireworks Friday, presented by KLTV News and The Breeze. The Jacks will light up the night sky with a spectacular post-game fireworks show. It’s one of just two remaining Fireworks Fridays on the season, so it can’t be missed!
After a weekend off, the team returns to action at home on Monday and Tuesday against the Generals in a battle of the league’s top two teams. Both games against Victoria feature the Jacks’ latest promotion, Kids Eat Free Night. This new promo gives a free meal – including a hot dog, chips, and a drink – to any child 12 years old or younger in attendance. Kids Eat Free Nights are every Monday and Tuesday home game, so the last three of the season will take place July 20 and 21, and August 3.
The Copperheads will visit next Thursday and Friday, July 23 and 24, to close out the homestand. The series will kick off with Thirsty Thursday, then close out with the final Fireworks Friday of the regular season, presented by KLTV News, your East Texas news leader.
Tickets for the Pump Jacks homestand and the remainder of the Jacks’ 2009 season schedule are on sale now. Fans may purchase tickets at the Pump Jacks office at 1100 Stone Road, Suite 120, in Kilgore, or over the phone at (903) 218-GO ET. Tickets may also be purchased online – and printed at home on any home printer – by visiting www.pumpjacksbaseball.com.