Storm clouds rolled in and lightning lit up the night sky. The winds even picked up and swirled through Driller Park for the first time this season.
Bryan Dixon didn’t see any of it as a distraction as he led the East Texas Pump Jacks to a tightly contested, weather-affected victory over the visiting Brazos Valley Bombers Wednesday night at Driller.
Dixon (3-1) threw six scoreless innings before the umpires delayed the game because of nearby lightning. He struck out five and allowed just two harmless singles to earn the victory. Dixon opened the game by retiring the first eight Bombers he faced, then sat down the last seven hitters before the delay.
Dixon and the Jacks held a 1-0 lead as the storm neared after posting a run in the fourth inning. Paige Hodges and Josh Riley drew back-to-back one-out walks. One out later, Jared Wondra dropped an RBI single in right-center that scored Hodges for the first run of the night.
After six innings of play, and with lightning just miles away, the umpires chose to clear the field until the threat passed. The teams and fans waited 32 minutes until play resumed in a light rain.
Following the delay, Michael LaCourse replaced Dixon and quickly struck out the first two batters he faced as he retired the side in order.
Also forced to make a pitching change after waiting for the weather, the Bombers didn’t have nearly as much success as the home team. Reliever Dave Sever allowed a one-out single down the left field line to Pat McCrory. Two pitches later, Matt Curry hit a single up the middle to put McCrory in scoring position. Sever compounded his troubles when his pickoff throw to second sailed into center field, allowing McCrory and Curry to advance. Hodges grounder to short – which may have been a double play ball if Curry were still at first – elicited a wild throw from shortstop Danny Hernandez, allowing McCrory and Curry to score.
The Bombers would not go home without a fight, though. Designated hitter Drew Thomas led off the eighth inning with a home run over the left field wall, spoiling the shutout. LaCourse then walked Jake Sharrock before striking out the next two batters. Sharrock stole second and advanced to third on a LaCourse balk, but he was stranded on a harmless fly ball to left.
LaCourse finished the night with one run in two innings pitched, one walk and four strikeouts.
Aaron Wilkerson came in for the ninth inning to close out the game. He struck out the leadoff hitter, then allowed a harmless single before retiring the next two Bombers to earn his second save of the season.
The Pump Jacks offense was led by Curry and McCrory, who each posted two hits and scored a run. Wondra’s RBI single gave him hits in four straight games, during which he is batting .455 (5-for-11).
The win allowed the Jacks to vault ahead of the Bombers in the standings. East Texas is now in third place, one game behind the second-place Coppell Copperheads and only 3.5 behind the McKinney Marshals for first place. There are ten games remaining in the regular season as the race gets even closer and the teams jockey for playoff positioning.
The Pump Jacks will take to the road this weekend, but the team will be back in town next Tuesday to open a six-game homestand that will finish out the regular season. All of your favorite promotions will be part of the final homestand, including Fireworks Friday on August 1, plus a brand new giveaway on Saturday, August 2. Thursday, July 31 will be another Thirsty Thursday – with 50-cent small soft drinks and draft beers for just one dollar – and Sunday, August 3, will be Family Night at Driller Park. The homestand will kick off with Two Dollar Tuesday and Pump Jacks Pride Wednesday. Bring your friends and family to be part of the final homestand of the Pump Jacks first-ever regular season.
Mark your calendars for August 5 – the date the TCL playoffs will begin – because the Pump Jacks are going to be a part of it! Depending on where the team finishes in the standings, the Pump Jacks will play their first-ever home playoff game at Driller Park on either Tuesday, August 5, or Wednesday, August 6. More information will be available during the final homestand, so be sure to visit pumpjacksbaseball.com for all the details.
Tickets for the remainder of the Jacks’ inaugural season schedule are on sale now. Fans may purchase tickets at the Pump Jacks office at 1100 Stone Road, Suite 120, in Kilgore, or over the phone at (903) 218-GO ET. Tickets may also be purchased online – and printed at home on any home printer – by visiting www.pumpjacksbaseball.com.
Single-game tickets start at $5 each – or $4 for children and seniors – for grandstand general admission tickets. Upper Box seats are $8 each, and Lower Box seats, which feature in-your-seat wait service, are only $10 per ticket.