On a night when much-hyped Stephen Strasburg made his major league debut for the Washington Nationals, the Victoria Generals and East Texas Pump Jacks held a pitcher’s duel of their own.
They even threw in some extra baseball for the fans.
A marathon contest ended when Pump Jacks first baseman Zac Fisher scampered home on a passed ball in the bottom of the eleventh to give his East Texas team a 2-1 win.
With two outs and no one on base in the eleventh, Fisher drew a four-pitch walk. He moved to third when Matt Carvutto dumped a single down the right field line. The very first pitch to Aaron McCain then snuck through the legs of Victoria catcher Michael Pair, and Fisher sprinted home for the victory.
From the beginning it appeared the game would remain close. Generals starting pitcher Blake Payne held the Pump Jacks without a run on just two hits through six innings. East Texas starter Khris Tate responded with five hitless innings, keeping the game scoreless into the sixth frame.
The Generals broke through first, hammering out a run in the sixth on two doubles sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt.
Fisher, who was 2-for-4 and scored both East Texas runs, knotted the count at one in the seventh inning. After hitting a one-out double, Fisher advanced to third on Carvutto’s single and scored on McCain’s base hit. McCain broke out of a mini-slump by lining his single straight back up the middle past the pitcher.
Carvutto was 3-for-4 with a double from his designated hitter spot. Blake Ellender also had success at the plate, hitting singles in both of his at-bats after coming in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.
Good pitching was also on display on both sides. Both Payne and Tate struck out five and allowed two hits over six innings, though neither was involved in the decision. The two staffs combined for 21 strikeouts in 11 innings, 14 of which caught the batter looking.
Dusty Ross (1-0) earned his first win of the season, pitching the final three innings with three K’s. Ross got out of jams in the 10th and 11th innings, allowing runners to reach third and second, respectively, before closing the door.
Andy Steinmetz relieved Tate to start the seventh and pitched two scoreless frames with three strikeouts.
The game marked the season debuts of Russell LaFleur, who earned All-TCL honors in the outfield in 2009, and Jesse Santo. Both University of Missouri products joined the team Monday.
With the victory, the Pump Jacks improve to 4-2. The Generals are now 2-3. The two teams go at it again Wednesday night at 7:05 pm at historic Driller Park.
Wednesday night is also Boudain Wednesday presented by Hebert’s Specialty Meats. Boudain, the Pump Jacks newest concessions item, is just $2 every Wednesday!
The Jacks welcome the defending champion North Texas Copperheads on Thursday, which also marks the first Thirsty Thursday of the season. The fan favorite returns this and every Thursday home game, when the Pump Jacks give you a chance to beat the heat with 50-cent soft drinks and one dollar draft beer!
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.