On Tuesday night, the East Texas Pump Jacks were looking for a break. On Wednesday night, they got a big one in the form of Andrew Nettune.
The Pump Jacks slammed the Brazos Valley Bombers – literally – as Nettune posted a pair of grand slams and nine RBI on the night. He finished the contest 3-for-5 with two runs scored as well.
Wednesday’s outburst wrote Nettune’s name into the TCL record books as the first player in league history to post two grand slams in a single game. In fact, the feat is so rare that it has happened just twelve times in Major League history; it last occurred in 2003, when Bill Mueller of the Boston Red Sox cracked two slams against the Texas Rangers. Only one catcher in MLB history has turned the trick: Chris Hoiles of the Baltimore Orioles, in 1998 against the Cleveland Indians.
Nettune’s performance is all the more noteworthy because he struggled to open the season, entering the game 0-for-12 in four starts. Playing not far from the Texas A&M campus he called home this spring, he singled home a run in the first inning for his first hit of the season, then posted grand slams in the third and fourth innings. Nettune is now tied for the league lead in home runs and he’s atop the league in RBI.
But Nettune wasn’t the only Pump Jack who put up numbers against the Bombers Wednesday. East Texas hitters rang up ten hits and earned eight walks on the night. In fact, every Jacks starter except leadoff hitter Adam De La Garza reached base at least once by a hit or walk. JD Dunn had two hits and three runs scored and Josh Riley walked twice and scored three times. Garrett Smith and Nate Bryan each scored twice, as did Nettune.
In a sign that things may be changing for the Jacks, East Texas jumped out to a lead Wednesday night and never looked back. The Pump Jacks loaded the bases and scored two runs in the first inning without even a hit as a result of three walks, a passed ball, and an error. Nettune registered the first hit of the game to score Dunn and register a 3-0 score through the first half-inning.
An error, a walk, and a single loaded the bases with Pump Jacks with no outs in the third inning. One out later, Nettune crushed his first slam to right field and extend the lead to 7-0.
One inning later, a pair of singles and another Brazos Valley error loaded the bases. Smith singled home Pat McCrory, then Nettune drove a Garrett Duff offering over the left field wall for his second slam. When the dust settled, East Texas held a 12-0 lead midway through the third.
The Bombers started to inch back in the fourth, putting two runs on the board against starter Justin Fowler. Fowler was unable to make it out of the fifth, however, when Brazos Valley tacked on four more runs. The 30th round pick of the Atlanta Braves finished with five earned runs on eleven hits through 4-2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked only one.
Steven Martin came on in relief and tossed 2-1/3 sparkling innings to earn the win. Martin (1-0) allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out five.
Daniel Nottebart pitched the final two innings to finish the game. He surrendered one run on four hits, striking out three.
The two teams tacked on a run each in the late innings. Nettune was again involved, lining a grounder between the legs of third baseman Trey Sperring in the sixth inning to score Dunn.
The Jacks return to Driller Park on Thursday to begin a home-and-home series against the Marshals. They’ll send to the mound Chad Sherman, the Panola College product who is headed to Texas A&M in the fall. In the home opener, Sherman struck out seven Marshals in five innings pitched.
Thursday’s 7:05 pm contest will be the first Thirsty Thursday of the season for Pump Jacks fans. Concessions will offer an incredible deal on soft drinks, with regular size fountain products priced at just 50 cents.
Following the Friday game in McKinney, Eat Texas welcomes the Copperheads to town on Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22. Following a Monday off-day, the Bombers will visit on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 24 and 25.
Tickets for Thirsty Thursday and the remainder of the Jacks’ inaugural 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.
Single-game tickets start at $5 each – or $4 for children and seniors – for grandstand general admission tickets. Upper Box seats are $8 each, and Lower Box seats, which feature in-your-seat wait service, are only $10 per ticket.