Pump Jacks rally for 6-5 win in 10th
July 13, 2013 at 11 p.m.
KILGORE - One night after battling back to tie the game late before falling short on the road, the East Texas Pump Jacks returned home and returned to the win column on Saturday in comeback fashion.
Nate Esposito greeted Brazos Valley reliever Shay Maltese by ripping his first pitch to right-center field for a walk-off, RBI single in the 10th inning as the Pump Jacks stormed back to earn a 6-5 Texas Collegiate League win over the league-leading Bombers at Driller Park.
The win, the first for East Texas against Brazos Valley this season after four tries, snaps a four-game losing skid for East Texas and moves the Pump Jacks to 18-19 overall and 3-4 in the second half of TCL play. The visiting Bombers drop to 30-7 and 4-3.
The Pump Jacks fell behind 5-1 on Saturday, but battled back to tie things at 5-5 and force extra innings. East Texas reliever Nick Rossetta sat the Bombers down in order in the ninth and 10th frames to set things up in the bottom of the 10th.
Kilgore's Matthew Dickey rolled a pinch-hit single up the middle to lead off the East Texas 10th, and Garrett McMullen and Mitch Meyer followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases and chase pitcher Jason Gareri. Maltese came on in relief, and Esposito ended things quickly with his single to right to touch off a wild celebration between first and second base.
On Friday, the Pump Jacks trailed 8-3 heading to the ninth before scoring five runs – the big blow being a two-out, two-strike three-run home run by former Pine Tree standout McMullen. McMullen played a big part in Saturday's comeback also, delivering a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth and then scoring the tying run to make it 5-5 on Meyer's RBI single. Meyer finished the night 4-for-5 with a double and three RBIs.
The Pump Jacks used a couple of doubles to get on the scoreboard in the opening frame. Zach Jones ripped an opposite field double down the left field line with one out, and two batters later Meyer doubled to left to bring in Jones.
Brazos Valley starter Hayden Howard faced the minimum number of Pump Jacks over the next five frames. Former Pine Tree standout Brett McAfee did double in the second, but he was gunned down at third attempting to stretch the two-bagger into a triple.
The Bombers took the lead in the top of the third. After back-to-back bunt singles, Patrick McLendon moved both runners into scoring position with a bunt. Two batters later Jake Henson ripped a 2-2 pitch into left to plate both runs for a 2-1 Brazos Valley lead.
The visitors added a run in the fourth when Hunter Melton singled and later came in to score on a bases-loaded double play, and the Bombers scored two more runs on a hit, three walks, a wild pitch and a passed ball in the seventh for a 5-1 cushion.
McMullen led off the Pump Jack seventh with a single to left, moving into scoring position when the Bombers' left fielder was lazy getting the ball back to the infield and scoring on Meyer's single off the first baseman's glove to make it a 5-2 contest.
The teams will meet again at 7:05 tonight back at Driller Park. After an off night on Monday, the Pump Jacks will visit Victoria for two games before returning home on Thursday to start a six-game homestand.
(Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports)