The Sugar Land Skeeters made their first trip to North Carolina last week, taking on the new High Point Rockers for the inaugural homestand at BB&T Point Stadium before sellout crowds.
The crowds went home happy as the Rockers blanked the Skeeters 3-0 in the first game on Thursday and then downed the defending Atlantic League champions 3-1 on Friday. The Skeeters rebounded on Sunday, sweeping a double-header following a rainout on Saturday, 5-3 and 8-4.
The Sugar Land Skeeters began last week wrapping up their opening homestand against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. The Skeeters won the seven-game series four games to three. On April 29, the Skeeters crushed the Crabs 7-1 with Dallas Beeler notching his first win of the season. C.J. McElroy scored two runs on three hits for the Skeeters.
On Tuesday night the Skeeters rallied with a pair of runs each in the sixth and eighth innings to win 4-1. Alec Asher got his first win and closer Felipe Paulino earned his second save and third baseman Juan Silverio scored two runs. The teams closed out the series Wednesday afternoon with the Blue Crabs blanking the Skeeters 4-0. Konner Wade took the loss.
Thursday’s inaugural game at High Point featured former Skeeter Matt Sergey, who was the first-ever player selected by the Rockers, on the mound. He notched the win with Roy Merritt taking the loss. The Skeeters struggles continued on Friday in a 3-1 loss. Kevin McGowan saw pegged with his second loss of the season. Alvaro Rondon scored the only run for Sugar Land.
With Saturday’s game rained out, the teams played a double-header on Sunday. In the first game, the Skeeters rallied from two down with a run in the fifth, three in the sixth and one in the seventh to get the 5-3 win. Jean Machi got his first win of the season and James Dykstra got the save.
In the second game, the Skeeters exploded for six runs in the second and two more in the third and held on to beat the Rockers 8-4. Beeler got his second win and Albert Cordero led the team with two runs off two hit and a run batted in.
Through Sunday, the Skeeters lead the Freedom Division by a game over the Barnstormers with 6-5 record.
The Skeeters were off Monday and were then scheduled to play a pair of games against the Lancaster Barnstormers. The team returns to Constellation Field on Friday for three games against the Long Island Ducks and seven against the York Revolution. Every Friday night features post-game fireworks and Saturday features a Game of Thrones/Pete Incaviglia bobblehead giveaway.
The season barely two weeks old and already the Skeeters have lost three players to Major League call-ups. The contract of outfielder and former Major Leaguer Cody Asche has been purchased by the Boston Red Sox.
Right-hander Andrew Bellatti had his contract purchased by the New York Yankees on April 27 and right-hander Christian Bergman had his contract purchased by the Seattle Mariners on April 15, before the regular season began.
The Skeeters had 14 contracts purchased by outside professional baseball organizations in 2018, including 12 by MLB organizations, which were both franchise single-season records.
Skeeter of the Week
With seven runs off 14 hits and four RBIs, Juan Silverio is one of the team leaders with a .362 batting average.
Atlantic League standings
Wins – Losses – Games back
Sugar Land Skeeters 6-5-0
Lancaster Barnstormers 4-5-1
York Revolution 4-5-1
S. Maryland Blue Crabs 3-6-2
Somerset Patriots 6-2-0
Long Island Ducks 7-3-0
High Point Rockers 5-5-2
New Britain Bees 2-6-4