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Red-hot Aviators cooled off in road sweep to Space Cowboys

For the first time this season, the Las Vegas Aviators have been swept.

The Aviators lost all three most recent meetings against the Sugar Land Space Cowboys of the Houston Astros organization.

It also qualifies as Las Vegas’ first three-game sweep since the 2019 season. Moreover, Sugar Land entered the series as the worst team in the Pacific Coast League East while hosting the best team in the PCL West.

Prior to the sweep, the Aviators had won 12 of their last 13 games.

Series are back to six games in the next outing for Las Vegas as it prepares to head to El Paso for a week’s worth of matchups with the Chihuahuas.

That series is set to begin Tuesday, June 14 with first pitch scheduled for 5:35 p.m.

Friday, L, 3-2

In the series opener, Las Vegas was burned by the longball on the way to a 3-2 Friday night loss to Sugar Land.

It all started with a leadoff home run by the home team in the bottom of the first to tie the game at one apiece.

The Space Cowboys followed it up with another home run from left fielder J.J. Matijevic for his second of the day. It was a solo shot with one out.

More trouble followed as right fielder Corey Julks left the yard for back-to-back home runs for Sugar Land.

Starter Zach Logue (1-1) was taxed for all three of those home runs on the way to giving up three runs on five hits over seven innings. He also tallied five strikeouts and two walks.

Las Vegas’ offense started early but spurted late with the game on the line

Designated hitter Shea Langeliers collected an RBI single with two-on and one out after two first inning walks. Langeliers went 2-for-5 with two singles, an RBI and two strikeouts.

Langeliers’ first inning hit scored shortstop Nick Allen, who had a 2-for-3 night himself, with two singles, two runs scored, two walks and a strikeout.

Allen was a part of three straight hits to open the third inning beginning with his single followed by a double from third baseman Sheldon Neuse and RBI single from second baseman Vimael Machín.

At that time, the Aviators held a 2-1 lead.

However, missed opportunities in the later innings proved to be disastrous.

In the top of the seventh inning, right fielder Drew Jackson struck out looking with the bases loaded.

With one final chance, Las Vegas were able to put two-on with nobody out before having the 5-6-7 hitters strikeout in order.

Machín opened the ninth inning with a leadoff single and was left stranded. He also led off the fifth inning with a walk, only to be stranded again.

He went 3-for-3 with three singles, an RBI and two walks.

Saturday, L, 6-3

Las Vegas lost another lead on the road en route to another loss to Sugar Land, this time by a final score of 6-3.

This ensures a series loss for the Aviators with one more game left to play.

The road team was able to cut the deficit to one before eventually succumbing to the loss.

First baseman Vimael Machín reached on a fielder’s choice in the first inning allowing shortstop NIck Allen to score on a throwing error. That gave Las Vegas a 1-0 lead.

The lead was short-lived as a two-out RBI single from Sugar Land tied the game in the bottom of the first.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Space Cowboys drove in two more runs after putting two-on with none out.

A sacrifice fly scored the first one while first baseman J.J. Matijevic smacked an RBI single. He would come across on an RBI double for a three-run Sugar Land fourth inning.

Starter Parker Dunshee (1-5) was knocked around for four runs on nine hits in four innings of work. He also tallied four strikeouts to just one walk.

He has now recorded a loss in five of his last seven appearances and now has a 7.24 earned run average.

The Aviators made strides to close the gap but were never able to fully bridge the gap.

Center fielder Mickey McDonald hit his second home run of the year in the top of the fifth inning to cut the deficit to, 4-2.

Third baseman Sheldon Neuse added another run on an RBI single that scored designated hitter Nate Mondou. He now has four RBIs in the last three games.

Sugar Land added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, one of which was self-inflicted by Las Vegas via a passed ball.

In the top of the ninth, catcher Shea Langeliers led off with a walk but would have three of the next four batters go down on strikes.

This is the second straight night the Aviators had a chance to tie or take the lead in the ninth inning before suffering three strikeouts to end the game.

Sunday, L, 7-2

Suffering its first sweep of the season, Las Vegas fell to Sugar Land, 7-2, in the Sunday series finale.

Now, the Aviators are no longer 10 games over .500.

It was an early deficit built by the Space Cowboys that proved to be too much for the road team.

All series long, first baseman J.J. Matijevic has been a thorn in the side of Aviators pitching. He continued as he led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple.

Matijevic was driven in on an RBI double to open the scoring.

Two innings later, Sugar Land ended up a triple-shy of a team cycle highlighted by a home run from second baseman Pedro Leon.

Las Vegas was never able to recover but did score its first and only runs in the fourth inning.

Designated hitter Sheldon Neuse recorded an RBI single, scoring left fielder Nate Mondou, who led off the inning with a walk.

Neuse accounted for half of the team’s hits on his way to a 2-for-4 night with two singles, an RBI and two strikeouts.

Right fielder Vince Fernandez’s RBI groundout scored second baseman Vimael Machín for the game’s final run for the road team.

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