Evan Rutckyj threw five scoreless innings and struck out eight as the first place Charleston RiverDogs topped the Rome Braves 6-1 in South Atlantic League action at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in front of 3,431 people on Sunday evening.
The RiverDogs fifth straight win put their record at 29-13 and gave them a series victory over the Braves, who now stand at 9-33. Charleston also maintained their two game lead in the SAL Southern Division with the win.
Rutckyj (1-0) was making his debut for the RiverDogs and was impressive. In five innings, he didn't give up a run, allowed only two hits and struck out eight without issuing a walk. "That was a real nice win for us," said RiverDogs manager Carlos Mendoza. "It's great when you lose a guy like [Caleb] Cotham and you don't lose anything out there on the mound. Rutckyj was unbelievable out there. He's a hard worker, I give him credit."
David Filak (2-3) also pitched well for Rome, as the game was scoreless through the first four innings, but the RiverDogs put up the game's first run in the fifth when Mason Williams doubled and Cito Culver singled to score him. In the sixth, they put together a two-out rally to score three more. Angelo Gumbs doubled to get the rally started and, after a hit batter, Reymond Nunez (2-4, RBI, run) doubled to score one run. An error by Rome first baseman William Beckwith then brought in two more runs. Charleston added a fifth run in the seventh on an RBI double by Gary Sanchez.
Rome scored their only run of the game in the 8th against relief pitcher John Brebbia when Kyle Kubitza (1-1, run scored) tripled and scored on a groundout, but it was immediately matched in the bottom of the inning when Francisco Arcia (1-2, 2 runs) scored on an error. Brebbia pitched three innings, only allowing that one run on two hits. A perfect ninth by Joel De La Cruz ended the game.