The East Texas Pump Jacks fell to the visiting Brazos Valley Bombers Thursday night, 8-6, when the Bombers broke a 6-6 tie with a pair of runs in the eighth inning. The Jacks had taken an early lead, which the Bombers erased with a six-run fifth, then tied the game in the seventh inning.
With the defeat, East Texas remains four games behind the first-place McKinney Marshals. The loss drops them a game back of the Bombers and the Coppell Copperheads, who are tied for second place.
The loss disappointed the Pump Jacks crowd which had come to kick off a festive Independence Weekend – and enjoy the first night of the season the Jacks served beer at Driller Park.
The Pump Jacks picked up an early lead when Josh Riley walked with two outs in the second inning, and Logan Moro drove him in with a double to left-center field.
East Texas added two more in the home half of the fourth. J.D. Dunn kicked things off with an infield single, then Riley singled to right. Moro sacrificed both runners over, after which Jared Wondra lofted a sacrifice fly to score Dunn and move Riley to third. An errant throw allowed Riley to walk home and give the Jacks a 3-0 lead. The Pump Jacks would go on to load the bases, but they were unable to push any more runs across.
The Bombers responded in a big way in the top of the fifth inning, putting up six runs to chase started Bryan Dixon. Making his first start since a sparkling complete-game shutout on Sunday, Dixon opened the game on fire. He posted four strikeouts in the first four innings and at one point retired seven straight hitters. The Bombers sent ten men to the plate in the fifth and still left the bases load. When Mat Shelton came on to relieve Dixon, the Weatherford College righty had gone 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits, a walk, and four strikeouts.
Riley would close the gap in the bottom of the frame, though. After Paige Hodges led off with a single, Riley drove a one-out offering over Driller Park’s steel outfield fence for his first homer of the season, a two-run shot that made the game 6-5.
Strangely enough, the next highlight of the game for the Jacks was a more ominous sign for the rest of the TCL. Carthage native and Louisiana Tech product Luke Burnett pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing one walk and blowing away one hitter for a strikeout. It was Burnett’s first appearance this season and his first game exposure since rehabbing from a shoulder injury in the spring. The hulking righthander – who stands 6’8” and weighs 260 – was an all-star closer in the Cape Cod League last summer and he was expected to be selected in the first round of last month’s Major League Baseball draft. But because of the injury, Burnett slipped to a 14th round pick by the Seattle Mariners – and now he’s flashing his mid-90’s fastball for East Texas.
In the home half of the seventh, the Pump Jacks manufactured a run to tie the score. With one out, Dunn reached on another infield single. Riley hit a grounder that saw Bombers third baseman Caleb Shofner airmail his throw to first, putting runners at second and third with one out. Moro hit a sac fly to left that plated Dunn and tied the game. The Jacks would go on to load the bases, but again would fail to push another run across.
The Bombers took the lead for good in the top of the eighth. With closer Aaron Wilkerson on the mound, Brazos Valley scored two on an RBI triple and then a passed ball.
Though the Pump Jacks offense was unable to mount another comeback, it wasn’t without its stars on the evening. Riley finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. Dunn and Keenan Duke also had two-hit games, while Dunn scored two runs and Moro drove in two.
The Jacks’ Independence Weekend celebration continues on Friday, July, with an exciting giveaway. The first 500 fans through the gates will receive a FREE Pump Jacks inaugural season T-shirt, sponsored by Benchmark Events & Promotions, sporting the Jacks’ colorful inaugural season logo on the front. It’s a shirt that you can’t buy from the Pump Jacks; the only way to get one will be at the July 4 game at Driller Park.
On Saturday, July 5, the Pump Jacks will host a special post-game fireworks display that is expected to surpass the awe-inspiring show fans witnessed on June 13. This Independence Weekend fireworks show feature an exclusive soundtrack created just for the occasion.
On Sunday, July 6, East Texas will host the first “Family Night” of the season, with discounts on tickets and meal packages available that will certainly appeal to families – or maybe just friends looking to come to the ballpark and save a few bucks. Four grandstand tickets will cost just $12 – a savings of as much as 40%. Fans will also have the option of purchasing a meal package with their tickets, bringing the total for all four guests – including both tickets and meals – to only $25. You can’t find a better deal on food and fun anywhere in East Texas!
Tickets for the Independence Weekend celebration and 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.