After a tough stretch of three losses, two of them on the road, the East Texas Pump Jacks were anxious to return home.
Jordan Nicholson ensured a happy homecoming.
Nicholson (2-0) carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and earned the victory as the Pump Jacks beat the visiting McKinney Marshals, 5-3.
Nicholson was brilliant through the first six innings, allowing just one baserunner, a leadoff walk in the fourth inning. The Louisiana-Lafayette product was a model of efficiency all night, twice retiring the side in order on just six pitches. A highlight of the night was the fifth inning, when he needed the minimum nine pitches to strike out the side.
The Pump Jacks offense was quiet until the third, when they loaded the bases with walks before Greg Fontenot drove in Luke Valerius on a groundout.
The Jacks tacked on another run in the fifth inning. Jesse Santo singled to lead off, then moved to second when Valerius laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Jarid Scarafiotti stepped to the plate with a chance to extend the lead and he didn’t disappoint, lining a shot down the left field line for an RBI double and 2-0 lead.
East Texas broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning, benefitting from more McKinney control issues. Lee Orr was hit by a pitch and stole second base before moving to third on Alex Fuselier’s groundout. Santo walked, and a balk call brought Orr home for a 3-0 lead. Valerius scored Santo with a single, advanced to second base on Scarafiotti’s walk, and came home himself on a base hit from Blake Ellender.
The long inning may have thrown Nicholson off his rhythm, as his first pitch of the seventh inning was hit for a double to break up the no-hitter. A single and another double followed, and after getting a groundout Nicholson was replaced by Chris Larsen. The Marshals ended up drawing within two at 5-3, but Larsen induced a tailor-made double-play to cut the threat short and keep the Pump Jacks in the lead.
Larsen pitched a perfect eighth inning before giving way to Dusty Ross, who shut down the ninth inning to earn a save.
The pitching staff combined to strike out seven Marshals while walking just one, marking a return to the formula that gained success early in the first two weeks of the season.
The offense posted only four hits but earned seven walks to score five runs. Santo and Valerius each walked, singled, and scored twice. Scarafiotti reached base three times with a double and two walks.
With the win, the Pump Jacks rose above the .500 mark to 7-6. The Marshals, who entered the game in a first-place tie with the Victoria Generals, fell to 9-6 on the young season.
East Texas continues its homestand on Sunday, when the Alexandria Aces come to town for Father’s Day. Sunday will feature theGOspot.com Deal of the Week, when fans will get a free upgrade from Grandstand tickets to box seats, as long as there is still space! That’s right, for the cost of a $5 Grandstand ticket (or $4 for children and seniors), you can sit in the comfort of box seats, even closer to the action. Arrive early and maybe you’ll get Lower Box seats, complete with in-your-seat wait service. Visit theGOspot.com to download your coupon, then come early to historic Driller Park, because space is limited.
Monday and Tuesday will see the return of two popular promotions featuring Pump Jacks concessions. Monday night is Kids Eat Free Night, where children at the ballpark get a free dinner on the Jacks! Upon entering the ballpark, children 12 and under will receive a voucher for a complimentary hot dog, regular drink and chips!
Pump Jacks Dollar Days are back on Tuesday for the Jacks third battle with the McKinney Marshals in four nights. All night long, regular drinks, regular hot dogs and popcorn are just $1 for everyone in attendance!
The Pump Jacks travel to McKinney on Wednesday, but they return home for another popular Pump Jacks promotion: Thirsty Thursday presented by 96X. Beat the heat with 12-ounce draft beers for just one dollar and regular soft drinks for only 50 cents! Enjoy discounted drinks while the Jacks tangle with the Texas Tomcats on Thirsty Thursday presented by 96X.
The Tomcats stay in town for another night, and for good reason: Fireworks Friday presented by KLTV News. The Pump Jacks will light up the night sky with a spectacular post-game fireworks display Friday night, set to a brand-new soundtrack. Fireworks Friday presented by KLTV News always impresses, so don’t miss it!
East Texas closes out the homestand next Saturday, June 26, with another Saturday Giveaway. Join the Jacks as they face the defending TCL champion North Texas Copperheads, but come early for your chance to walk away with some valuable gear.
Pump Jacks Nation is now on Facebook! Visit the East Texas Pump Jacks official team page on Facebook to follow all the news and gossip about the Pump Jacks, post your thoughts on the Jacks 2010 season, upload photos, and interact with other fans. Plus, the Jacks will post specials and discounts just for the Facebook community on the page! Click the link on the left side of the Pump Jacks web site or at the top of every news article on the site, and join Pump Jacks Nation on Facebook!
The Pump Jacks are still seeking 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.