Texas Collegiate League Recap 07-01-09

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McKinney Marshals 4 Brazos Valley Bombers 2

Thomas Rooke (Kansas State) held the Bombers bats in check for over five innings and Curt Restko (Eastern Illinois) hit his first home run of the season as the Marshals ended a seven game losing streak by beating Brazos Valley 4-2 in College Station Wednesday night.

Rooke was effective for 5 and 2/3 innings, allowing only two runs on three hits and three walks while fanning four. Nick Thomas (McLennan) relieved Rooke in the sixth, allowing the two inhertied runners to score, but pitched scoreless seventh and eigth innings.

Cory Myers (New Orleans) earned his first save of the year as he pitched a perfect ninth, striking out one to increase his league-leading total to 32.

Restko, who homered in the fifth to give the Marshals a 2-0 lead, finished the game 2-5 with a run and two RBI. J. B. Brown (Pacific) reached base each of his five at bats, going 2-3 with two walks and an RBI. The only out he made was a swinging strikout, but reached base on a passed ball.

Jake Luce (Jefferson College) was 1-3 with a double and two runs scored, and also had an outfield assist as he threw out Andre Rodriguez trying to score from second in the sixth.

Tension built in the fifth when, after Restko homered, Brown was hit by the first pitch he saw from Bombers starter Drew Flaniken. Brown stared down Flaniken as he approached first, and Bombers thirdbaseman Casey Dykes even moved toward the mound with words for Brown.

Brown was later thrown out at the plate, and Flaniken commented to him about that, elevating the tension even more. Nothing came of that but emotions may be high on Thursday night.

The win snapped a long, seven game losing streak and improved the Marshals record to 5-14 overall, and 3-2 versus the Bombers this season. McKinney will face Brazos Valley again on Thursday night in College Station before travelling to Victoria for a two-game set there on Friday and Saturday.

East Texas Pump Jacks 2, Coppell Copperheads 1

With their batteries recharged, the East Texas Pump Jacks defeated the Coppell Copperheads Wednesday night at historic Driller Park by a score of 2-1.

The game was the first since a Saturday night victory over the Victoria Generals closed out a season-long stretch of games on ten consecutive days.

Wednesday’s win also moved the Jacks back into a tie for first place with idle Victoria. East Texas is now 12-6 on the season, even with the Generals, who are 13-7. The Brazos Valley Bombers, who suffered a loss to the McKinney Marshals Wednesday, are a half-game out of first.

Wednesday’s game was a nail-biter, even with all the scoring in the books in the first three innings. Coppell grabbed a lead in the second on an RBI double by Andrew Rehling. He drove in Heath Johnson, who drew a one-out walk and stole second to move into scoring position.

That was the lone blemish on the night for Pump Jacks starter Cam Sokalski. Sokalski (1-0) picked up his first win of the season with six strong innings, allowing just the one run on five hits. He walked three and struck out three.

The Jacks gave Sokalski a lead to work with in the third inning. Greg Fontenot dropped a one-out bunt single, then Brett Nicholas drove him in with an RBI double to tie the game. One out later, Jamie Niley picked up an RBI single that gave East Texas the lead.

Coppell threatened in the third inning, stranding runners at first and third. When Abel Gonzales came on for Sokalski in the seventh, Coppell put two runners aboard with one out. But Gonzales induced an inning-ending double-play ball to work out of the jam. The Copperheads put a runner on second with one out in the eighth, but again Gonzales slammed the door.

Stephen Tromblee worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his league-leading fourth save of the season. A one-out walk and a passed ball put the tying run at second, but Tromblee picked him off to clear the bases. He then struck out Andy Pratt to end the game.

For the second game in a row, the East Texas offense was generated almost exclusively at the top of the order. Eight of the team’s nine hits came from the top five spots in the lineup, with Fontenot, Nicholas, and Matt Juengel registering two hits apiece. Niley, Ben Woodchick, and Russell LaFleur also had hits Wednesday.

The Pump Jacks will close out the series against Coppell on Thursday night, when fans get to enjoy Thirsty Thursday at historic Driller Park. Fans are invited to beat the heat with dollar draft beers and 50¢ small soft drinks all night long, while they cheer on their first-place Pump Jacks.

Tickets for Thirsty Thursday and the remainder of the Jacks’ 2009 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.