Bryan, TX – The Brazos Valley Bombers (20-6) won 5-4 against the East Texas PumpJacks (8-18) Sunday night, walking the game off in the 11th inning.
“It’s kind of been the theme this year against [East Texas],” said Curtis Dixon, Bombers head coach. “We’ve kind of got a little rivalry, and every time we step on the field we get after it. You’ve got to give credit to their guys—their lefty kept us off balance, and their righty there at the end did a good job of controlling the running game, but a good job all the way around by Jake McDavid getting to the seventh inning, Andre Shewcraft coming in there and holding the lead for us, and Tucker coming up with a big hit.”
The Bombers once again dug an early hole, falling down 2-0 in the top of the first. The Bombers’ offense would score four runs in the bottom of the inning, capitalizing on a pair of PumpJacks errors to take the lead 4-2.
After giving up two runs in the first, Bombers starter Jake McDavid would surrender another pair of runs in the third before finding his rhythm. McDavid would go on to shut out the PumpJacks for the next three innings and keep the score tied at 4-4.
“Jake was a little shaky in the first and it was a low bullpen day—we only had three guys hot,” Dixon said. “For him to find the seventh inning and pitch efficiently to get there was good.”
Bomber relievers Eric Polivka and Andre Shewcraft would surrender just one combined hit in their 3 1/3 innings of work as the game went into extra innings.
Neither team was able to score in the 10th inning, and the Bombers held the PumpJacks to only a walk in the top of the 11th. Bombers third baseman Logan Nottebrok drove a leadoff single down the left field line to start the bottom of the 11th, and was pinch run for by Jimmy Norris who worked his way to third base on a couple of passed balls. With a full count, catcher Tucker Pennell was able to send the Bombers home with a win by grounding a single to the shortstop who was unable to make a play at first after a diving stop, sending Norris home to score the clinching run.
“I was up there behind the plate and I was ready to get out of there—my knees were getting tired,” Pennell said. “I told myself I was going to foul everything off until I got a pitch to hit. He threw me a pitch I was looking for and I did enough to get it through.”
With the win, the Bombers now sit one win away from clinching first place for the first half of the season, ensuring a home playoff berth for the squad despite what transpires in the second half.
“I think we’re all really confident about going into our next series,” Pennell said. “Everyone’s going to come together and do what it takes to get it done.”
The Bomber have an off day Monday before hosting the Woodlands Strykers for a two game series starting Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. at Cellucor Field.