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 Sugar Land Space Cowboys

Space Cowboys vs. Aviators Series Preview

April 2, 2024 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)
Sugar Land Space Cowboys News Release


SUGAR LAND, TX - For the first time in 2024, the Space Cowboys will match up with the Las Vegas Aviators, the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, from April 2-7. It is one of two series at Constellation Field against Las Vegas in 2024, with the other coming from July 9-14. All told, the Space Cowboys take on Las Vegas 18 times in 2024, with Sugar Land making their lone trip to Las Vegas Ballpark from May 28-June 2.

Sugar Land won on Opening Night in Round Rock against the Express but dropped each of their next two games by a score of 8-6 and enter the series 1-2. Las Vegas lost both of their games to the Reno Aces over the weekend after Saturday night was postponed due to rain. The Aviators dropped their game on Sunday, 15-2.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Tuesday -LHP Hogan Harris (NR) vs. RHP Ryan Gusto (NR)

Wednesday - RHP Osvaldo Bido (NR) vs. RHP Blair Henley (NR)

Thursday - LHP Jack O'Loughlin (0-0, 4.50) vs. RHP Spencer Arrighetti (0-0, 0.00)

Friday - RHP Aaron Brooks (0-1, 4.15) vs. RHP Misael Tamarez (0-0, 10.38)

Saturday - RHP Joey Estes (0-1, 11.25) vs. RHP Rhett Kouba (0-1, 7.71)

Sunday - TBA vs. TBA

The first two games of the series are scheduled to be the Triple-A debuts for both Ryan Gusto and Blair Henley. Gusto, an 11th round pick by the Astros in 2019 out of Florida Southwestern State Junior College, split 2023 between High-A Asheville and Double-A Corpus Christi, going 5-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 14 outings, 8 starts, with the Hooks in 2023. The recently minted 25-year-old impressed in Spring Training, making two scoreless outings with the Astros, including 2.0 shutout innings against the Mets on March 16 at Cacti Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Henley, a 7th round selection in 2019 by Houston out of the University of Texas, pitched the 2023 season with Double-A Corpus, making 25 appearances, 17 starts, throwing 106.2 innings for the Hooks with 106 strikeouts. Hensley did not pitch at all in the 2022 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Both Henley and Gusto were named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week twice in 2023, with all four honors coming from July to the end of the season.

Prospect Watch (per MLB Pipeline):

Sugar Land - RHP Spencer Arrighetti (#3), OF/INF Joey Loperfido (#6), RHP Rhett Kouba (#14), INF Will Wagner (#15), OF Pedro León (#26) and RHP Misael Tamarez (#30).

Las Vegas - INF Max Muncy (#7), INF Brett Harris (#10), RHP Joey Estes (#12), Max Schuemann (#20), INF Logan Davidson (#24).

Audio Archives:

Manager Mickey Storey talks about the Space Cowboys coming out of Spring Training, Spencer Arrighetti getting the Opening Night nod and his memories of Opening Day - Listen here.

RHP Logan VanWey discusses the end of the 2023 season, pitching in Major League Spring Training, his experience in the MLB Draft League and Pioneer League plus his offseason to get ready for 2024 - Listen here.

Who's Hot for Sugar Land:

OF Joey Loperfido - Loperfido homered in the first inning in each of the Space Cowboys first two games and had a multi-homer game on Saturday night, including a game-tying home run off Texas Rangers #8 prospect and former #2 overall pick Jack Leiter. While Loperfido didn't record a hit on Sunday, he did walk, giving him a three-game on-base streak to start the season. Don't let the fact that Loperfido hit into two double plays on Sunday fool you; the second double play was a 106.5 mph smash hit right at the second baseman. Loperfido enters Tuesday as the Minor League home run leader with three and tied for the Minor League lead in RBI with seven.

INF David Hensley - While playing first and third, Hensley has reached base twice in all three games for the Space Cowboys to start the season and has also hit safely in all three. Hensley connected for his first home run of the season on Sunday afternoon, a two-run pull shot to left. Dating back to August 29 of last season, Hensley has reached base safely in 23 straight games.

RHP Spencer Arrighetti - Arrighetti was named the Opening Night starter for Sugar Land and delivered 4.1 scoreless frames, giving up just two singles while striking out five in a 4-2 Space Cowboys victory. While Arrighetti issued five walks, he worked around the free passes and left just one inherited runner when he departed in the fifth. The righty's most efficient pitch was his sweeper, which he threw for a strike 73% of the time (16-of-22) and generated 8 whiffs on 11 swings. He's scheduled to make his home debut on Thursday night and will look to replicate his 2023 success where he pitched to a 1.93 ERA in 9 outings, 8 starts, in Sugar Land.

RHP Logan VanWey - After receiving a promotion to Sugar Land the final week of the season in 2023, VanWey was unsure if he would start 2024 in Corpus Christi or with the Space Cowboys. The right-handed reliever was assigned to Sugar Land out of camp and promptly threw 1.2 scoreless innings of relief on Opening Night in Round Rock, collecting his first Triple-A win in the process. VanWey was also summoned on Sunday afternoon and spun a scoreless frame for the Space Cowboys, giving him the longest scoreless inning streak among relievers in the Sugar Land bullpen on the very young season.

Who to Watch For Las Vegas:

INF Max Muncy - While he is 1-for-7 in his first two games, the former 25th overall pick in 2021 out of Thousand Oaks High School has climbed the minor league ranks quickly for the A's and had an impressive 2023 campaign to earn a spot in Triple-A to open 2024. Muncy hit .275 for the season between High-A Lansing and Double-A Midland but performed better after his promotion to Double-A, batting .302 with 17 doubles, four home runs and 31 RBI in 51 games with the Rockhounds. However, in five games against Corpus Christi in 2023, Muncy batted just .190 with four hits, three singles and a double, and just one walk to seven strikeouts.

INF Max Schuemman - Las Vegas had just seven combined hits in their first two games, and Schuemann accounted for three of them, going 3-for-6 with two walks, one strikeout, a run scored and a stolen base. This is a return to Triple-A for Schuemann, who went from a 20th round pick in 2018 to a Top 30 prospect and a non-roster invitee to Spring Training in 2024. In the only series he played against Sugar Land in 2023, Schuemann went 0-for-11 in four games with three walks and three strikeouts, scoring three runs.

LHP Hogan Harris - Tuesday will be the season debut for Harris, who split his time between Oakland and Las Vegas in 2024, making 15 appearances for the Aviators and 14 appearances, 6 starts, for Oakland. Harris pitched at Constellation Field once in 2023, in his first outing after making his Major League debut on April 14, 2023 with the A's. Against the Space Cowboys, Harris went 4.0 innings and gave up a run on three hits with a walk and four strikeouts in a 5-3 Las Vegas win over Sugar Land. The lone run he allowed was a solo home run to Pedro León in the first inning.

OF Daz Cameron - Originally a Competitive Balance Round pick by the Astros in 2015 out of Eagle's Landing Christian in Georgia, Cameron was one of the prospects the Astros traded to Detroit on August 31, 2017 in exchange for RHP Justin Verlander. Since the trade, Cameron debuted with Detroit in 2020 and has played in 73 total Major League games. He signed as a minor league free agent with Oakland this offseason after electing free agency from the Baltimore Orioles organization.

Full season memberships, partial season memberships, single-game tickets, ticket plans and group outings are available for the 2024 season at SLSpaceCowboys.com/tickets.


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