Texas Collegiate League Recap 07-13-09

David Rollins
David Rollins

East Texas Pump Jacks 8 McKinney Marshals 4

The East Texas Pump Jacks will return home at the end of the season’s longest road trip the same way they left – on a win streak.

The Pump Jacks downed the McKinney Marshals, 8-4, on Monday night, sweeping a two-game series from the TCL’s defending champs. East Texas rallied back from a 3-0 first inning deficit to tie the game in the fifth inning, then used a five-run sixth to take control of the game.

The modest win streak pushed the Jacks’ record to 16-11, putting them alone in second place, just 1.5 games behind the idle Victoria Generals. The Brazos Valley Bombers, who entered the day tied for second, slipped to a game behind the Pump Jacks on the eve of their two-game visit to historic Driller Park.

McKinney jumped out to an early lead, as East Texas starting pitcher David Rollins struggled to find the plate. With two hits, two Pump Jacks errors, and the benefit of four walks, the Marshals grabbed a 3-0 lead.

But the Jacks fought back against McKinney starter Michael Bolsinger, the defending TCL Pitcher of the Year, who was making his second start this summer. In the third inning, Justin Snider led off with a single, followed one out later by Russell LaFleur. Ben Woodchick picked up a free pass to load the bases for Brett Nicholas. Nicholas pounded a double to left that scored Snider and LaFleur, narrowing the gap to 3-2. Bolsinger battled back to strike out Matt Juengel and Kyle Frasard and end the threat.

East Texas continued to battle, though, and evened the score in the fifth inning. LaFleur led off with a single, stole second, and went to third on an errant throw by McKinney catcher Andy Lalumandier. Woodchick bounced to second and reach on an error, bringing home LaFleur.

While the Jacks were able to figure out Bolsinger, Rollins was becoming unhittable the second time through the lineup. From the end of the first inning into the fifth, the East Texas lefthander retired twelve straight Marshals hitters, six of them by strikeout. Rollins (3-2) would pitch into the sixth to earn the win, allowing three runs in 5.1 innings. He allowed just two hits, but none after the first inning. He walked seven and struck out eight. Rollins now takes over as the league leader in strikeouts with 41, and also ties for the league lead with 20 walks on the season.

The Pump Jacks jumped all over the McKinney bullpen in the sixth inning, sending ten batters to the plate and scoring five runs to take their first lead of the game. The first four batters of the frame reached without a hit when Uriah Fisher walked Bo Coffman and Cody Morrison, then hit Snider and Daniel Gonzalez.

John Tatum came on for Fisher and he nearly stopped the Jacks in their tracks. He coaxed a fly ball from LaFleur for the first out of the inning, then got Woodchick to bounce to short for what was almost a double play. The New Mexico freshman legged out the play and was called safe at first, scoring Morrison and keeping the inning alive. Nicholas singled to left to drive in Snider, then Juengel walked to load the bases. Frasard lined a single to right that scored two and pushed the East Texas lead to 8-3.

McKinney had a chance to fight back in the home half of the sixth, but solid defense kept the Marshals at bay. A pair of one-out walks spelled the end of the night for Rollins, who saw Abel Gonzales take over with runners at first and second. On his first pitch, Gonzales got Garrett Yates to hit a soft popup behind first base. Nicholas faded and made a diving over-the-shoulder catch, then fired to second to complete the double play.

Gonzales finished the game for the Jacks, going 3.2 innings and allowing one cosmetic run in the ninth inning. He scattered four hits and didn’t walk or strike out a hitter.

On offense, the Pump Jacks outhit McKinney, 8-6. Curiously, four players collected the eight East Texas hits, with LaFleur, Nicholas, Frasard, and Snider each posting two safeties on the night. With three RBI on the night, Nicholas increased his season total to 20 and took over the league lead. Frasard drove in two runs, giving him six RBI in his three-game Pump Jack career.

With the eight-game road trip behind them, the Pump Jacks return to historic Driller Park Tuesday night to kick off an eight-game, two-week homestand. The four games this week against the Bombers and Marshals will feature several fan-favorite promotions, plus a brand new offering. On Tuesday, when the Bombers come to town, the Jacks will hold their first Kids Eat Free night. At every Monday and Tuesday night home game for the remainder of the season, children 12 and under will receive a free hot dog, chips, and a drink just for attending the game.

Thursday features not only the arrival of the Marshals, but the return of Thirsty Thursday. Fans are invited to beat the heat with dollar draft beers and 50¢ small soft drinks all night long.

Friday is the Pump Jacks’ next Fireworks Friday, presented by KLTV News and The Breeze. The Jacks will light up the night sky with a spectacular post-game fireworks show. It’s one of just two remaining Fireworks Fridays on the season, so it can’t be missed!

Tickets for the Pump Jacks homestand 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.

Coppell Copperheads 9 Brazos Valley Bombers 3

Bryan-College Station, TX (July 13, 2009) –

Brazos Valley Bank Ballpark was busy with excitement tonight as over 1300 fans came for $0.50 hot dogs, popcorn and soft drinks on Monday Feast night, but the Bombers came away with a bitter taste in their mouths after a 9-3 defeat to the Coppell Copperheads.

The game was closely contested for the first eight innings, as neither team seemed willing to budge. The Bombers trailed 3-1 heading to the fifth inning, but scored two runs as Clifton Thomas singled home Robby Graham and then scored all the way from second base on Wes Schill’s groundout to first base. Thomas caught Coppell’s first baseman Tim Emmons napping on the play and broke for home, beating the throw to tie the game at 3-3.

The Bombers threatened to score in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Wes Schill doubled with only one out, but he was left stranded as Joe Craven and Brett Parsons were unable to knock him in. Clifton Thomas, who led the inning off with a single, was picked off first base for the first out of the inning.

The Copperheads were able to put six runs across the plate in the top of the ninth inning, as Garrett Fanchier struggled, giving up three hits and three walks. The Bombers made a valiant comeback effort in the bottom half of the ninth, as they loaded the bases with one out, but John Cannon hit into a double play to end the game.

The Bombers will be on the road tomorrow to face East Texas in an important battle for position in the Texas Collegiate League standings. The Pump Jacks are a game ahead of the Bombers, but a series sweep would put the Bombers back into second place.