East Texas used a four-run sixth inning to cruise to victory in Alexandria and get back into first place.
In their first road game since their tough series with the Acadiana Cane Cutters last week, the Pump Jacks passed the test with flying colors.
Newcomer John Williams went 4-for-5 while Tyler Sullivan and Kirby Pellant combined for six of the Jacks’ 13 hits as East Texas beat the Alexandria Aces 7-1 at Bringhurst Field.
Early in the ballgame, it didn’t look like either team would score seven runs, as starting pitchers Payton Smith and former Pump Jack Ben Frith were successful early. East Texas would strike first in the bottom of the first inning, however, as the Aces’ catcher Garrett Vail threw down to third to try an catch Sullivan (who had doubled earlier in the inning) stealing the base. The throw sailed down the line, allowing Sullivan to score for a 1-0 Pump Jacks lead.
The Pump Jacks would add another run in the fourth inning, as Blair DeBord led off with a single. After two outs were made, Williams singled and Nathan Zavos walked to load the bases. Logan Davis then hit an RBI single to make the score 2-0 in favor of the visitors.
Smith retired the first six Aces to come to the plate in the ballgame, and had thrown just 46 pitches through the first three innings. In the fourth, he surrendered the only run of the game that the Aces would get, as Lucas Quary came all the way around from first to score thanks to two errors. Those errors would be the only blemish on the East Texas defense all night, however, and Smith recovered to strike out Vail and end the threat with the Jacks still in front 2-1.
The Pump Jacks would then break the game open in the sixth inning. R.J. Santigate led things off with a single, and he was sacrificed to second by Logan Preston. Williams then singled, advancing Santigate to third base, and he scored on another wild throw by Vail for a 3-1 East Texas lead.
After a strikeout, Davis worked a walk to put runners on the corners with two outs. Pellant then responded with his sixth double of the season, scoring Williams. Sullivan then got the big hit of the game, a two-run single, to make the score 6-1 Pump Jacks, and the Jacks never looked back.
The pitching staff held the line once again for East Texas. After Smith ran into a two-out jam in the fifth, Cory Bernard came in and secured the third out of the fifth, followed by one more scoreless inning that included a strikeout. Jeff Stovall bent but did not break in working a scoreless seventh inning, and he was relieved by Gerardo Esquivel, who pitched the final two innings while striking out three to complete the victory.
Pellant went 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Sullivan matched him, going 3-for-5 himself with a team-high three RBIs. The Pump Jacks also got things done with runners in scoring position, going 6-for-13 in those situations.
Bernard (2-0) got the win in relief for East Texas, while Frith dropped to 0-3 on the season in taking the loss. The victory pulled the Pump Jacks into a virtual tie with the Brazos Valley Bombers for first place in the Texas Collegiate League standings.
East Texas will have a much-needed day off on Tuesday before travelling to Dallas to face the Texas Marshals on Wednesday night before returning home on Thursday and Friday against the Victoria Generals. Fans can enjoy $1 beers and 50-cent soft drinks all night long on Thursday in the second Thirsty Thursday at Driller Park this season, and can watch the sky light up with fireworks after the game on Friday in the first Fireworks Friday of the season, sponsored by 1st Choice Personnel and CBS-19.
First pitch for all games is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Keep up with the Pump Jacks’ fifth anniversary season on www.pumpjacksbaseball.com. Join the conversation and interact with other members of Pump Jacks Nation by visiting the Jacks on Facebook and Twitter.