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Pump Jacks Beat Marshals in Season Opener

Jacks pitchers hold the Marshals without a hit through seven innings, while Bernard’s late RBIs give East Texas the win.

One game into the East Texas Pump Jacks 2012 season and it’s looking a lot like 2011 already.

The Pump Jacks, who set a league record with 40 regular-season victories last summer, used pitching and patience to post a 3-1 season-opening win over the Texas Marshals Friday night.

Cory Bernard hit a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning to break up a 1-1 tie, and Jacks hurlers combined to carry a no-hitter through eight innings before All-TCL closer Jason Jester picked up his first save of the season.

Tennessee lefty Brandon Zajac got the start for the Pump Jacks. After giving up just one baserunner in the first two innings (on his only walk of the contest), the Pump Jacks’ offense kicked into gear in the third.

Designated hitter Tyler Girouard led off with a double into the gap in right-center field. After catcher Louie Helmburg laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Girouard to third, Logan Davis put the Pump Jacks on the board with an RBI single to left field for a 1-0 lead.

After Texas tied the score without a hit in the fourth, East Texas went to work on reliever Trevor Stelle. In the sixth inning, R.J. Santigate and Eric Escobedo drew back-to-back walks on eight straight balls from the left-hander. East Texas ended up drawing a total of four walks in the inning, and six total free passes off Stelle in the game.

After Taylor Murphy laid down another clean bunt to advance the runners, Bernard ripped a single into center field to bring both runners around for a 3-1 lead.

That was all the Pump Jacks needed, as Zajac and winning pitcher Mike Hager (1-0) held the Marshals out of the hit column until the eighth inning. Zajac allowed one unearned run over four innings, striking out three and walking one. The hulking Hager struck out four batters in his four innings of relief, three of them looking.

Jester then came in and worked around a leadoff hit-by-pitch for a scoreless ninth.

Logan Davis led the Jacks at the plate, going 2-for-5 with two stolen bases with an RBI. The Pump Jacks mustered five hits on the night but supplemented their hitting with eight walks.

East Texas has a day off on Saturday before heading out to Alexandria to take on the Aces in a two-game set on Sunday and Monday evenings. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m.

The Pump Jacks open their home slate on Wednesday evening against the same Texas Marshals. The Aces then pay a visit to Driller Park on Thursday for the first Thirsty Thursday of the season. Beat the heat with 50-cent soft drinks and $1 beers all night long. First pitch of both games is also at 7:05.

Keep up with the Pump Jacks’ fifth anniversary season on www.pumpjacksbaseball.com. Join the conversation and interact with other members of Pump Jacks Nation by visiting the Jacks on Facebook and Twitter.

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