Alex De Goti Skeeters

Alex De Goti high fives Sugar Land teammates after scoring a run May 21. He is one of several players who has helped the Skeeters to a 16-6 a record as of Monday night, which was the best in Triple-A West. (Photo from Sugar Land Skeeters Facebook)

The Sugar Land Skeeters have been a force to be reckoned with during the early stages of the Triple-A West season thanks to a dominant pitching staff and balanced offense.

That trend continued last week as the Skeeters kicked off the home portion of their inaugural season in the Houston Astros’ organization with a string of highlight performances.

Sugar Land won nine of the first 10 games on the homestand, which was scheduled to conclude Tuesday night against the Albuquerque Isotopes. The Skeeters swept a five-game series against the El Paso Chihuahuas at Constellation Field before winning four of their first five games against the Isotopes.

There were many stars on the mound on the homestand for Sugar Land, which allowed a total of 18 runs in the first 10 games. Ryan Hartman led the way with 16 strikeouts in eight scoreless innings in two outings on May 21 and May 27, allowing five hits and one walk for a 0.75 WHIP. Brett Conine picked up two wins, pitching a total of 8.1 innings with a 0.84 WHIP in two outings.

Peter Solomon also won both of his decisions during the last week, pitching nine innings and allowing seven total runners while striking out 14 batters. Leading the Skeeters’ relievers was Jojanse Torres, who gave up one earned run in 10 innings while striking out 11 hitters.

Following Monday’s 3-2 win over Albuquerque, Sugar Land had the best record in Triple-A West at 16-6 overall. The Skeeters’ 2.77 team ERA led the league, while their 1.19 team WHIP led Triple-A West’s East Division.

Not to be outdone by the pitching staff were several hitters who starred in the batter’s box for Sugar Land. The Skeeters, who entered Monday’s game with the league’s second-best team OPS at .869, also scored 53 runs during the first 10 games of the homestand.

Pacing Sugar Land’s offense was outfielder Bryan De La Cruz, who went 13 for 28 in 10 games with eight RBIs and a trio of three-hit games. Fellow outfielder Ronnie Dawson went 8 for 22 with five RBIs, including a grand slam on May 30 against Albuquerque. Shortstop Alex De Goti went 8 for 29 with four extra-base hits and reached base 16 times in 10 games.

Infielder Lorenzo Quintana went 10 for 27 during the homestand, while catcher and first baseman Michael Papierski went 7 for 19 with two triples and seven RBIs.

The Skeeters will kick off a six-game road series against the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Thursday. Their next homestand will be a six-game series against the Round Rock Express from June 10-15.

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