Pump Jacks capture 5-2 win
By Rick Kretzschmar firstname.lastname@example.org
June 28, 2012 at 10 p.m.
KILGORE - Kirby Pellant should have been rewarded at the plate more than what he was on Thursday, but the one time the center fielder for the East Texas Pump Jacks did receive a prize was the most important moment of the night.
Pellant's prize was hitting the game-winning RBI as the Pump Jacks pulled away for a 5-2 win over The Woodlands Strykers in a Texas Collegiate League game at Driller Park.
Pellant drove in the go-ahead run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, plating Louie Helmburg.
Pellant broke through after hitting line drives in the second and fourth innings which were caught by Stryker left fielder Garrett Lozano and shortstop Carter Burgess respectively. The East Texas leadoff hitter finished 1-for-3 with a walk, with all of his at-bats against Stryker starter Derrick Hadley.
"The one I hit to left field he (Hadley) threw me a fastball. I thought he would give me curveballs the rest of the way and that's what he threw the two other times I made contact," Pellant said. "It was a good piece of hitting on the single, because that was a good pitch."
Pellant's average is .377 after Thursday's game. He is batting .333 after a mini-slump last week in which he batted .154 in a four-game stretch.
"It's just confidence," Pellant said. "Baseball is an up and down game and you will have bad stretches, but you have confidence momentum will come with it."
The Pump Jacks added two runs in the eighth inning for insurance. The Pump Jacks (19-4) improve to 11-0 at Driller Park this season with its third consecutive victory and their 11th triumph in their last 12 games. The Strykers drop to 6-17.
Jeff Stovall (4-0) pitched two shutout innings for the win, allowing one hit and no walks. Hallsville product Jason Jester picked up his league-leading 10th save of this season with three strikeouts in the ninth inning, although endured a scare. With two outs Jester hit Dan Perkins with a pitch and Brian Brightwell followed with a single to center, but Jester struck out Lozano to end the game.
Pump Jack starter Corey Ray had a no-decision, hard luck considering his previous two starts. In six innings Ray allowed two earned runs while scattering seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts. In his previous two starts Ray allowed six earned runs over 7 2/3 innings.
"Corey has got to compete better and tonight he showed he can compete at a high level," Pump Jack head coach Ben Taylor said. "He struggled with his change-up, but he did a good job with his fastball location early."
The Strykers struck first in the top of the first as Lozano was hit by a Ray pitch, stole second and came home on a Ricardo Sanchez single to left-center. The Pump Jacks got the equalizer in the bottom of the second with help Stryker third baseman Ryan Farney. Charlie Wagner reached base on an errant throw by Farney and went to third on a double down the left-field line by Taylor Murphy. Wagner scored when Logan Davis beat out an infield single in which Farney was slow getting a throw over to first base.
The Pump Jacks went ahead in the third inning as Tyler Sullivan beat out an infield single, went to second on an errant by Burgess, advanced to third on a 4-3 groundout by Kash Kalkowski and scored on a similar groundout by Colton Bickerstaff. The Strykers would tie the game in the fourth inning on a two-out rally as Sanchez singled to center and scored on a double by Michael Aquino which caromed off the left-center field wall.
Derrick Hadley (1-2) took a hard-luck loss for the Strykers as only two of the five runs he allowed over 7 1/3 innings were earned. Hadley had five strikeouts while allowing eight hits and two walks, but also made two errors himself to help the Pump Jacks score both of their runs in the eighth inning. The Strykers had four errors while the Pump Jacks had none.
R.J. Santigate was the lone multi-hit batter for the Pump Jacks, going 2-for-4. Tyler Sullivan was 1-for-3 for the Pump Jacks, giving him a .387 batting average for this season. Sanchez, Lozano and Travis Winnon had two hits each for the Strykers.
The Pump Jacks begin a two-game road trip playing the Texas Marshals at 7:05 p.m. tonight at the Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas. The next home game for the Pump Jacks is Monday when they host the Victoria Generals at Driller Park.
Bickerstaff led off the inning with a single to right-center. R.J. Santigate followed with a bunt single which advanced Bickerstaff's pinch runner John Williams to third base.
Williams would score on a wild pitch by Hadley. Santigate stole second and came home when Hadley made an errant throw to first on a ground ball by Murphy. Nolan Riggs relieved Hadley at that point and retired both batters he faced to end the threat.