Saturday night could go down as the Alex Fuselier breakout game or the Pump Jack clutch hitting clinic.
Either way, the East Texas Pump Jacks showed improvement in an area that had been haunting them in 2010: winning on the road.
Fuselier was the catalyst at the top of the order, reaching base six times on three hits and three walks, and the Pump Jacks overcame deficits of 2-0 and 6-4 to beat the Texas Tomcats, 9-6, in Weimar. It was their third win in nine tries away from historic Driller Park.
The Pump Jacks, who were victimized by a three-run homer in a 6-4 Tomcats win Friday night, found themselves down by the same score after five innings Saturday. The Tomcats had just put up four runs in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead.
The sixth inning appeared as though it would pass quietly when the first two Jacks hitters made quick outs. Then Russell LaFleur, pinch-hitting in the ninth spot, drew a walk. Fuselier followed with a base hit, and in the midst of a free pass to Michael Haynes both runners moved up on a wild pitch. The bout of wildness continued for Tomcat hurler Cory Keesee, who tossed two more wild ones to bring home LaFleur and Fuselier and tie the ballgame.
The Pump Jacks weren’t finished scoring. Lee Orr coaxed a walk from Keesee to bring up Joey Latulippe, who didn’t have a hit in 15 at-bats in 2010.
That changed in a hurry.
Latulippe drove a ball to deep left-center field for a double while driving in both Haynes and Orr to give East Texas an 8-6 lead.
The Pump Jacks added an insurance run in the eighth inning for the final margin of victory. Orr led off the frame with a triple, followed by a walk to Matt Carvutto. When Carvutto broke to steal second, the Texas catcher tried to catch Orr cheating off third. An errant throw hit Orr and bounced away, allowing the McNeese State outfielder to trot home for a 9-6 lead.
Texas had jumped out to a lead in the first inning, scoring two unearned runs off of Pump Jacks starter Tyler Mack.
East Texas bounced back to take the advantage in the third frame. Luke Valerius led off with a walk, followed by singles from Brandon Wood and Fuselier. Haynes knocked in Valerius with a sacrifice fly, and one out later Zac Fisher was intentionally walked. Carvutto, who had been slumping of late, lined a single to left field, scoring Wood and Fuselier for a 3-2 Pump Jacks advantage.
The lead expanded by one the following inning, as Abel Gonzales drew a walk, stole second base and scored two outs later on Fuselier’s second single of the contest.
Chase Adams (1-1) earned the win with 1.2 hitless innings of relief, and Brad Kottman pitched 2.2 scoreless innings for his second save.
Fuselier ended the night 3-for-3, all singles, with three walks. He scored twice, drove in a run and added a steal for good measure.
The victory keeps the Pump Jacks one game back in the TCL standings after the Victoria Generals won their game. The Brazos Valley Bombers, who were off Tuesday, are in second place and a half-game ahead of the Jacks. Three Pump Jacks games remain until the All-Star break, when one team will be declared the first-half division champion and guaranteed a playoff spot.
After a well-deserved day off, East Texas fans will welcome the Jacks back to historic Driller Park on Wednesday when they welcome the Tomcats with Boudain Wednesday presented by Hebert’s Specialty Meats. Pump Jacks Nation can enjoy Boudain, the concessions stand’s newest delicacy, for just $2 every Wednesday.
The Pump Jacks close out the two-game set with the Tomcats on Thursday with the return of Thirsty Thursday presented by 96X. Jacks fans can beat the heat with $1 draft beers and 50-cent soft drinks at the park. That’s right, cheap drinks and beers for just a buck!
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!
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.