“Three Amigos” close out the win for East Texas as Jester earns ninth save.
After the Woodlands Strykers ended the Pump Jacks’ eight-game winning streak with a victory on Sunday night, the Jacks got right back on the winning track, scoring early and getting great pitching from their bullpen yet again in a 3-1 road win on Monday, and securing a split of the two-game series.
The Pump Jacks’ offense got going quickly again, as Kirby Pellant singled to lead off the game and advanced to second on a passed ball. The red-hot Tyler Sullivan followed with a single to score Pellant for an immediate 1-0 East Texas lead.
The Jacks scored in the second inning as well. With one out, Taylor Murphy bunted past the Strykers’ starting pitcher Talan Roepcke for a single. Nathan Zavos then followed with a similar infield single, but this time the second baseman Gabe Fyock threw wild to first on the attempt to get the out, moving Murphy and Zavos up to second and third base, respectively. Murphy was then brought home on an RBI groundout by Logan Davis to make the lead 2-0 Pump Jacks.
Jacks’ starter Payton Smith was motoring along, facing one batter over the minimum-possible nine through the first three innings, but he ran into a jam in the fourth. With one out, two walks sandwiched around a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases. Head coach Ben Taylor decided to go to his bullpen, bringing in Cameron Gann. Gann allowed an RBI single to Ryan Farney, but then induced a huge double-play ground ball to Pellant at second to escape the inning without further damage.
With Gann holding down the fort in the middle innings, the Pump Jacks added an insurance run from an unlikely source in the sixth. With one out, Colton Bickerstaff singled, and he was followed by Logan Preston, who hit a double into left field. Bickerstaff was hustling all the way, scoring from first base on the double, the first extra-base hit of the summer for Preston, and extending the Pump Jacks lead to 3-1.
That would be all that East Texas needed from their offense on the night, as the “Three Amigos” at the back end of the bullpen took care of the rest. Jeff Stovall finished off the sixth inning before working around a one-out double for a scoreless seventh inning, striking out one. Gerardo Esquivel also worked around a hit, a leadoff single, to recover and pitch a scoreless eighth inning. Jason Jester faced no trouble, dominating the ninth inning with two strikeouts to earn his ninth save of the summer.
For Jester, the save equaled his output from the Pump Jacks’ record-setting campaign last season. He is now just four saves away from tying Dusty Ross for the single-season franchise record for saves, as well as the all-time Texas Collegiate League record for saves in a season.
Sullivan and Preston each went 2-for-3 with an RBI for East Texas, which has now won nine of its last ten games in the 2012 season.
The Pump Jacks are now 17-4 overall on the year, remaining in first place in the TCL standings. They will have an off day on Tuesday before returning home on Wednesday to face the Alexandria Aces, followed by a home game with the Strykers on Thursday night. On Wednesday, the Pump Jacks will have Western Wednesday at Driller Park (visit pumpjacksbaseball.com for all the details).
On Thursday, the Jacks will have another Thirsty Thursday promotion, where fans can enjoy $1 draft beers, 50-cent soft drinks and $3 frozen margaritas all game long.
First pitch for all games is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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