The first-half champion Jacks topped Alexandria in a rain-delayed Fourth of July showdown, 7-4
One day after clinching the first-half division title, the Pump Jacks brought the thunder back to historic Driller Park for a Fourth of July showdown with the Alexandria Aces.
Mother nature decided to bring some thunder – and lightning – of her own as well.
The Jacks bats exploded early when storms rolled into East Texas for the second straight home game, leading to a two-hour plus weather delay with the Jacks leading the Aces 7-2.
The clouds would clear and play resumed at shortly after 10:15, giving the teams enough time to squeeze out nine innings before the Texas Collegiate League’s midnight curfew rule could cut the contest prematurely. The rule states that no inning can start after midnight has passed.
Eight of nine Pump Jacks recorded hits and the bullpen delivered once again in the 7-4 win Monday night.
Hunter Dozier, Beau Maggi and Colton Bickerstaff each recorded two RBIs. Jace Statum extended his hit streak to seven games, recording a hit in every appearance he has made as a Pump Jack. Statum recorded a single and reached base four times in five at bats, scoring two runs. Nathan Pittman reached base twice and scored two as well. Michael Sullivan posted an RBI single to round out the Jacks scoring attack.
The Jacks returned to their running ways, swiping seven bags in the contest. Statum and Pittman combined for the double steal on two occasions. Dozier picked up his sixth of the season, while Maggi and Ryan Moore each picked their first of the season.
Dusty Ross made his debut at Driller Park for the third straight season. He tossed three innings, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out four in his second start this season before the lightning brought the game to a halt. Jordan Hershiser took hill when the game was restarted in the bottom of the third. Hershiser struck out three in an inning and two-thirds of relief. He walked four and allowed two runs on two hits.
Brett Higginbotham took over in the bottom of the fifth with two outs and the bases full of Aces. C.J. Jarvis made a diving snag of a broken-bat blooper from Aces designated hitter Beau Faulk, possibly saving multiple runs and ending the threat. Higginbotham picked up his first win of the season, allowing only one hit and no runs in two and a third innings of work.
Any thoughts of an Aces comeback were completely smashed by Pump Jacks closer Jason Jester. The Hallsville native came on to start the eighth and struck out the six batters he faced to close out the contest. Jester picked up his third save of the season.
The Pump Jacks jumped out quick with Statum reaching on a single followed by Pittman reaching on an error from the Aces second baseman. The two then conducted their first double steal with Statum scoring on an RBI single from Maggi. Bickerstaff then plated Pittman on a deep sacrifice fly to left field to give the Jacks the early 2-0 lead.
The Aces responded in the top of the second with an RBI single, cutting the lead in half. But the game didn’t stay close for too long.
Moore put his wheels on display, reaching on a bunt single to lead off the second and promptly stole second. Statum drew a four-pitch walk and Pittman loaded the bases with a single. Maggi then belted a sacrifice fly to center, plating Moore easily. Bickerstaff picked up his second RBI as well on the next pitch, scoring Pittman on a single to right field. Dozier then cleared the bases on his second double in three games and his eighth RBI in five games. Dozier advanced to third on a stolen base and was scored on an RBI single from Sullivan, giving the Jacks a commanding 7-1 lead.
The Aces added another run in the top of the third before the storms finally reached historic Driller Park. The Pump Jacks quickly got the tarp on the field. Lightning, however, was the real threat with very little rain falling during the two-hour delay.
The Pump Jacks took the 7-4 win shortly after midnight, five hours after the first pitch was tossed.
The two-game series will wrap up Tuesday with the Longview News-Journal Family Night. Fans can get four Grandstand tickets for just $10, saving as much as 50%. Fans may also purchase four meal vouchers for an additional $15 to save more money, all courtesy of the Longview News-Journal.
The Jacks will wrap up Independence Day week on Friday, July 8, with the team’s third Fireworks Friday of the season. A spectacular post-game fireworks show will follow the Coppell Copperheads’ first visit to historic Driller Park. The evening’s celebration is presented by Jim Tachias of Wells Fargo Financial Advisors and KLTV News.
The Jacks close out the series against the Copperheads on Saturday, July 9, with a ballpark giveaway. Stay tuned to pumpjacksbaseball.com for more details.
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.