Strong pitching, explosive bats lead Jacks back into first place tie
With the first half of the 2011 Texas Collegiate League season winding down, the Pump Jacks are hitting their stride at the perfect time.
With five wins in six games this week, the Pump Jacks find themselves in a gridlock with the Acadiana Cane Cutters at the top of the standings with eight games remaining in the first half.
Strong batting and even stronger pitching helped the Jacks, who improve to 13-9, to their best week of the season.
Following a stretch of road games to open the season, the Jacks returned to historic Driller Park Wednesday for a four game home stand. After splitting the opening series with the Cane Cutters, the Jacks scored 22 of their 50 runs this week in a sweep of the Generals Friday and Saturday.
The Jacks picked up Saturday right where they left off on Friday, topping the Generals 9-1 after Jaden Dillon shut them out the previous night 13-0.
Matt Munson took the hill Saturday in his third start and picked up his first win after two tough no decisions in extra-inning battles with the Cutters earlier this season. Munson tossed six innings, allowing no earned runs and no walks.
Kirby Pellant set the table for the Jacks offense going 4-for-6 with two runs scored in the leadoff slot. Zach Looney went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and runs scored. Looney has hit safely in 11 of the 12 games he has spent in East Texas. Ty Marlow went 2-for-3 with two RBI a run scored. Jake Pinchback and C.J. Jarvis each posted RBI sacrifice flies. Nathan Pittman rounded out the Jacks offense with an RBI single.
The clean up spot in the Jacks lineup was dominate all night long with Kash Kalkowski going 1-for-1, with his league-leading ninth double. Kalkowski has orchestrated an 11-game hitting streak. Kalkowski also got hit by a pitch for the sixth time this week, marking the 12th time this season, another TCL lead. Jake Pinchback took over in the fourth and went 1-for-2 with a RBI sac fly and a run scored.
John Michael Twichell took over for Beau Maggi in the fourth and went 3-for-3 with a stolen base.
In his first start for the Jacks, Texas A&M’s Jace Statum reached base four times in five at bats. A quick runner, Statum forced the Generals to hurry up their defense leading to three errors while Statum was blazing the baselines. He also got his second hit in seven at bats. Jacks fans also got a glimpse of his speed and skills in the outfield as he recorded all three outs in the seventh. He made a diving catch and promptly fired the ball to first base to record the inning-ending double play.
The Jacks got things going early again, posting a three spot in the bottom of the first with an RBI single from Kalkowski up the middle. Looney scored on an error from the center fielder on the same play. Marlow hit a two-out RBI single to score Kalkowski and give the Jacks the 3-0 lead.
RBI singles in the second and third from Looney and Pittman padded the Jacks lead at 5-0.
Jarvis belted a deep fly ball to left to score Pinchback easily in the bottom half of the inning, extending the Jacks leads to 6-1.
James Hudelson came on in relief to start the seventh and retired the next seven Generals in order. Hudelson tossed three solid innings, striking out one in his first save of the season.
Looney and Marlow each picked up their second RBI in the eighth on a fielder’s choice and a double, respectively. Pinchback plated Pellant on a sac fly to give the Jacks the 9-1 edge.
The Jacks welcome a day off Sunday before hitting the road again on Monday, travelling for the first time to Alexandria for a two-game series against the Aces.
The Jacks welcome the Generals back to historic Driller Park for Winning Inning Wednesday. If the Pump Jacks score three or more runs in any inning, every fan will receive a voucher for a free value menu item from Jack in the Box. The series is wrapped up with Thirsty Thursday. Fans can beat the heat with $1 draft beers, $3 frozen margaritas and 50-cent soft drinks all-night long!
To follow all the news and to watch every pitch of the 2011 season, visit the Pump Jacks official web site at www.pumpjacksbaseball.com. Interact with other Pump Jacks fans and enjoy special promotions and polls by visiting the Pump Jacks on Facebook and Twitter.