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 Sugar Land Space Cowboys

Another Quality Start for Henley, But Sugar Land Falls to El Paso 4-3

June 21, 2024 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)
Sugar Land Space Cowboys News Release

EL PASO, TX - A night after clinching the first-half crown, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (47-25) carried a lead into the eighth inning but dropped Thursday night's contest in a heartbreaker against the El Paso Chihuahuas (30-42) 4-3 at Southwest University Park.

Sugar Land took an early 1-0 lead in the opening frame on back-to-back doubles from Joey Loperfido and Will Wagner. Shay Whitcomb knocked a base hit to put runners on the corners, but RHP Gabe Mosser got the final two outs to end the Space Cowboys threat.

RHP Blair Henley started bottom of the first by hitting two of the first three batters he faced but recovered to strikeout Eguy Rosario and Nate Mondou to end the frame. In the second, Sugar Land's righty gave up a leadoff double and a single to put two on with no one out for Kevin Plawecki. Plawecki grounded a pitch sharply to third baseman Dixon Machado, who touched the bag and quickly lined it to second baseman Jesús Bastidas, who passed it to first baseman Will Wagner before Plawecki reached for three outs on one swing. It was the second triple play of the season for Sugar Land, with their first one occurring on May 3rd against El Paso as well, when Whitcomb, Jackson Loftin and David Hensley pulled one off on a groundball from Óscar Mercado.

El Paso would score their first run after Bryce Johnson reached on a walk. A failed pick-off attempt moved Johnson over to second, and the speedy outfielder stole third to set himself up nicely to score on a sacrifice fly from Matthew Batten, tying the game up at one.

A leadoff single from Grae Kessinger started a two-run fourth for the Space Cowboys, as Kessinger would score on a double that was nearly a home run from Pedro León. Machado would then drive in León on a single to left center, extending Sugar Land's advantage to 3-1.

Henley ended his night after six innings of three-hit ball, pitching his third quality start of the season, the most of any Sugar Land starter this year. The only run he allowed was unearned and came in the third on an error. RHP Drew Strotman (H 1), in his first appearance for the Space Cowboys since April 14th after a stint at Double-A, gave up a solo shot to Tirso Ornelas to make it a one-run game. In the eighth, RHP Alex Speas (L, 3-3) surrendered a go-ahead two-run home run to Brett Sullivan to give El Paso their first lead of the game at 4-3.

The Space Cowboys looked to make a comeback against RHP Logan Gillipsie (S, 3), as León led off the ninth with a single to center. However, Gillipsie slammed the door shut the rest of the way by inducing a double play and a strikeout to end the game and hand Sugar Land their first loss of the series.

Sugar Land looks to bounce back against the Chihuahuas on Friday night. RHP AJ Blubaugh will take on San Diego's RHP Glenn Otto making a rehab assignment for El Paso for a 7:35 pm CT first pitch. The game can be heard on ESPN 92.5 FM or online here and seen on MiLB.TV, MLB.TV or Bally Live.

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