Nate Bryan. Ben Woodchick. Matt Carvutto.
If you’re trying to figure out what those three names have in common, the answer is simple: Opening night heroes for the East Texas Pump Jacks.
For the third season in a row, the Pump Jacks were victorious in their home opener Friday night, defeating the Texas Tomcats, 6-5, in front of a raucous crowd at historic Driller Park. Carvutto’s bases-loaded double in the fifth inning tied the game, then the University of the Pacific star scored the go-ahead run to enter the Pump Jacks pantheon of opening night heroes.
The Jacks celebrated by lighting up the night sky with a post-game fireworks spectacular for Fireworks Friday presented by KLTV News.
Just like the first two home openers, the Pump Jacks fell behind early. Pitcher Chris Larsen, who served as a designated hitter the first two games while East Texas was shorthanded, made a difficult transition back to the mound. The Tomcats posted three runs in the third off Larsen to grab the early lead.
The Jacks answered with a run in the home half of the third inning, then chipped away further when Carvutto singled and scored in the fourth.
After seeing their lead trimmed to just a run, the Tomcats answered with two more tallies in the fifth to chase Larsen. Longview native Garrett Methvin came on to work out of the jam and record the final out of the frame.
East Texas turned around the 5-2 deficit in the bottom of the fifth. With the benefit of some wildness by Tomcats starting pitcher Adam Hoelscher, the Jacks loaded the bases for Carvutto. Making his first appearance since arriving from Pacific, the Pump Jacks designated hitter hit a rocket that cleared the bases. In one swing of the bat, the game was tied. When Carvutto crossed the plate, the Pump Jacks had their first lead of the game, 6-5.
The key was now making a one-run lead hold up for the final four innings. Methvin delivered a scoreless sixth inning before loading the bases to open the seventh. The freshman from Arkansas answered with a strikeout before handing the ball over to Mineola native Chase Adams.
Adams responded with a sparkling performance. The Nebraska hurler, who struggled in his first outing of the season a few nights earlier, worked out of the bases-loaded jam in the seventh, then added two hitless innings to earn his first save of the season.
Methvin, who allowed a hit and a walk with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings, registered the win.
Aaron McCain continued his hot streak at the plate. The University of Texas-Tyler product reached base in all five plate appearances, posting a single and a double with three walks. He also scored once and drove in a run.
Carvutto finished the night 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI.
The Pump Jacks employed head coach Ben Taylor’s aggressive style all night long, stealing five bases compared to none for the Tomcats. McCain, Michael Haynes, Trevor Rogers, and newcomer Blake Brown each swiped a bag. Catcher Zac Fisher not only stole a base, but he also threw out the only Texas baserunner who made an attempt against him.
The Jacks continue their opening homestand Saturday night when they host the defending TCL champion North Texas Copperheads. The Copperheads have become a nemesis of the Pump Jacks, ousting East Texas from the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
Saturday is Scout Night at historic Driller Park, when scouts from throughout East Texas will participate in a pre-game scout parade complete with introductions. All scouts will get a chance to run the bases after the game.
Saturday is also the Pump Jacks’ camo rubber bracelet giveaway, courtesy of CiCi’s Pizza. Similar to the Livestrong bracelets Lance Armstrong made famous. The Jacks’ version is a camo pattern with “East Texas Pump Jacks” debossed into the bracelet. As an added bonus, Longview and Tyler area CiCi’s Pizza will give a free child’s buffet to any child wearing their Pump Jacks bracelet.
Sunday’s visit from the McKinney Marshals marks the first theGOspot.com Deal of the Week. The Pump Jacks and theGOspot.com will present a new special deal for every Sunday game throughout the season. It could be a discount on tickets, a package price on concessions, or another promotional special. Fans will be able to visit theGOspot.com to learn about the special and download the coupon.
With more players arriving daily, the Pump Jacks are still seeking several families to host players. Hosting a player is a great experience that forges a lifelong bond with a young man, a relationship that transcends the game of baseball. Host families also receive free season tickets for every member of their household. If you’re interested in finding out more about the host family program, please contact the Pump Jacks at (903) 218-GO ET or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To follow all Pump Jacks news, including player awards, game stories and promotions, log on to the team’s official Website at www.pumpjacksbaseball.com.