Under the bright daytime skies of Isotopes Park, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (10-19) and Albuquerque Isotopes (13-17) combined for 29 runs and 36 hits in a 16-13 Sugar Land win on Thursday afternoon. Sugar Land set a pair of new single-game franchise records with nine doubles as a team
Under the bright daytime skies of Isotopes Park, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (10-19) and Albuquerque Isotopes (13-17) combined for 29 runs and 36 hits in a 16-13 Sugar Land win on Thursday afternoon. Sugar Land set a pair of new single-game franchise records with nine doubles as a team and 13 extra-base hits.
The high scoring affair got started on the first pitch of the game when Bligh Madris launched a solo home run to right, his second of the year. JJ Matijevic followed with a solo homer to center, going back-to-back with Madris, the first back-to-back home runs for Sugar Land this year, making it 2-0 Space Cowboys. Grae Kessinger doubled with two outs and Justin Dirden drove him in with a double off RHP Karl Kauffmann (L, 2-3), putting the Space Cowboys up 3-0 before the Isotopes came to bat.
RHP Angel Macuare made his Triple-A debut in the home half of the first and struck out the first batter he faced. A throwing error allowed Coco Montes to reach and a double by Nolan Jones plated a run against Macuare. Elehuris Montero connected on a two-run homer to tie the game, and the Isotopes added on one more to take a 4-3 lead heading to the second.
The Isotopes advantage would be short lived as Luke Berryhill doubled in Alex McKenna to tie the game in second and Madris singled to right to drive home Berryhill to give Sugar Land a 5-4 lead they would not relinquish. Macuare threw up three scoreless innings after he was given the lead again, surrendering a double and two walks in that span.
Kessinger and Dirden each recorded their second doubles of the day in the fourth, driving in three more runs to widen the Space Cowboys margin to 8-4. Jones hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth for the Isotopes, and Macuare recorded one more out before he was replaced by LHP Blake Taylor, who prevented Albuquerque from getting any closer in the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, Kessinger walked to begin the frame and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dirden. Michael Sandle drove home Kessinger with a two-run homer to left, one of three extra-base hits for Sandle on Thursday, pushing Sugar Land back in front by four runs at 10-6. Taylor gave up just one run in the bottom of the sixth on a wild pitch and the Space Cowboys defense prevented another run from scoring on a relay to the plate with two outs from Sandle to Kessinger to Berryhill.
Matijevic opened the top of the seventh with a double and was joined on the bases by Joe Perez and Kessinger on back-to-back one-out walks, ending the afternoon for RHP Riley Pint. Dirden greeted RHP Matt Carasiti with a grand slam to left, Dirden’s second home run of the year, to make it 14-8 Sugar Land. Another double by Sandle and a single from Madris tacked on the fifth run of the inning, making it 15-8 in favor of the Space Cowboys.
Two sun aided hits and a throwing error helped spark a three-run rally for the Isotopes in the bottom of the seventh. However, RHP Matt Ruppenthal (W, 2-0) was able to steady the ship and struck out two in the eighth, part of two frames in which the right-hander allowed three runs but only one earned run.
Dirden doubled to begin the ninth inning, his third double and fourth hit of the day, and the Space Cowboys’ center fielder raced in to score on a single by Berryhill. RHP Enoli Paredes came on in the bottom of the ninth and ran into trouble with four walks and a single, bringing the tying run to the plate for Albuquerque. RHP Joe Record (S, 1) replaced Paredes and got a ground out and a strikeout to bring the contest to a close.
Leading the series 2-1, the Space Cowboys continue their six-game tangle with the Isotopes on Friday night. RHP Austin Hansen (0-1, 5.30) is set to take the mound for Sugar Land against Albuquerque RHP Jeff Criswell (1-3, 13.50) for an 8:05 pm CT first pitch. The game can be heard on ESPN 92.5 FM or online here.
*ABOUT THE SUGAR LAND SPACE COWBOYS: *
The Sugar Land Space Cowboys are the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros and compete in the Pacific Coast League. They began play as the Astros Triple-A affiliate in 2021 and began playing under the Space Cowboys brand in 2022. The Space Cowboys play at Constellation Field, located at the corner of Hwy-6 and US-90 Alternate in Sugar Land, Texas. Follow the team on Twitter (@SLSpaceCowboys), Instagram (@slspacecowboys), Facebook (SLSpaceCowboys) and their official website (slspacecowboys.com). Fans can purchase full-season and partial-season plans, as well as single-game tickets, by visiting slspacecowboys.com/tickets.