The Jacks picked up their 40th win of the season with a 5-4 victory over the Alexandria Aces Thursday in the regular season finale with the playoffs starting Friday
Following the record-breaking season, the East Texas Pump Jacks had one more thing to take care of before heading to the 2011 Texas Collegiate League playoffs: win 40 games.
With a 5-4 victory over the Alexandria Aces on Thursday night, the Pump Jacks now have their sights set solely on making a run in the postseason.
The Jacks rounded out the second half of the season in the same fashion they did in the first half: as division champions. The Jacks finished with a TCL-leading record of 40-19 overall, going 21-9 in the second half and 19-10 in the first.
But now there is only one thing standing in their way of reaching the Championship Series for the second straight year.
And that would be the Brazos Valley Bombers.
The Bombers clinched the final playoff spot in a win or go home battle with the Victoria Generals in the final game of the season.
The Pump Jacks will travel to Bryan for Game One of the Division Series on Friday before returning to historic Driller Park on Saturday for game two of the three-game series. Game three will also take place at Driller Park if necessary on Sunday.
On the season, the Jacks hold the series advantage against the Bombers at 9-3. East Texas is 4-2 in games at Brazos Valley and is 5-1 in home games.
After falling 7-6 on Wednesday in a back-and-forth battle in Alexandria, the Jacks concluded the regular season with a 5-4, ending the Aces season on a sour note.
Longview native Ryan Small led the Jacks offensive attack going 2-for-4 with three RBI. The Midland College sophomore finished the regular season with a .333 batting average in nine games for the Pump Jacks.
Seth Granger rounded out his impressive week going 2-for-5 at the plate. Granger finished the week with eight hits, including two home runs, a double and a triple, with five RBI and four runs scored in four games. Granger leads the Pump Jacks in runs (47), hits (64), doubles (9), triples (5) and RBI (37).
Ty Marlow picked up his 20th RBI on the season with a single. Zach Benson picked up his fifth and sixth hits in the past three games, going 2-for-3 and scoring run. Kirby Pellant had a single and stole his TCL-leading 33rd base.
Brad Fisher picked up his fifth win of the season, coming on in the fourth inning for starter Jordan Hershiser. Fisher tossed 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out six.
The Jacks wasted no time getting things going, posting three runs in the top of the first inning.
Pellant led off with a single up the middle, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored on an RBI single from Marlow. Tyler Girouard then walked, putting runners at first and second for Small, who belted a two-out double, clearing the bases and giving the Jacks the early 3-0 lead.
The Aces responded quickly however, posting three runs on two hits and two walks from Hershiser, knotting the contest at 3-3 after one inning.
Alexandria took their only lead of the contest with an RBI single from Jonathon Wilson in the fourth, putting the Aces up 4-3.
Benson singled with one out in the sixth before scoring on an error by the Aces’ pitcher, tying the contest at 4-4.
Granger led off the seventh inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Marlow. Small then roped a single, scoring Granger from second and giving him his third RBI of the game and the Jacks the 5-4 lead they would carry throughout the rest of the game.
The Jacks will kick off their quest for the TCL Championship with Game One of the playoffs on the road Friday either in Brazos Valley.
The Jacks play host for Game Two on Saturday at historic Driller Park. To celebrate a record-breaking season, the Pump Jacks will be giving away team posters to the first 500 fans, courtesy of Patterson Kilgore and CBS 19 News. The posters will feature every member of this year’s roster.
Game Three of the first round, if necessary, will also take place at Driller Park.
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.