ROME, GA - Looking to shake their worst 10-game stretch of the season, the Charleston RiverDogs got the starting pitching performance they needed on Saturday night in Georgia. Right-hander Janson Junk turned in six innings of one-run ball before the Charleston bullpen took it the rest of the way as the RiverDogs clipped the Rome Braves, 2-1, for just their second win in the last 11 games on Saturday evening at State Mutual Stadium.
After needing over 90 pitches just get through the fourth in his last start, Junk (4-2) pitched a much more efficient outing a week later, using three clean innings to roll through the quality start. The Seattle University product scattered seven hits, all singles, while walking a pair with four strikeouts. It marked the Northwest product's third quality outing in nine true starts with the RiverDogs (47-48, 14-13) this season.
Rome (52-46, 12-17) touched him up for the lone tally in fifth. Second baseman Derian Cruz, who reached on an infield single on a bang-bang play to open the frame, scored on shortstop AJ Graffanino's one-out knock, cutting the Braves' deficit to 2-1.
Charleston closer Kyle Zurak impressed, striking out four of the six batters he faced to pick up his ninth save of the season. The Radford University product fanned the three batters he saw in the ninth to finish the six-out save. Anderson Severino bridged the gap between Junk and Zurak, yielding a leadoff single before retiring the next three hitters to hold the one-run lead.
The victory was Charleston's 19th one-run victory of the season and the league-high 42nd time they've had a game decided by just a run. The RiverDogs suffered five losses of three runs or more over the course of their previous 10-game slump when their pitching staff allowed 56 runs, raising the club's ERA to its highest point since the first week of April.
With the win, the RiverDogs keep pace in the Southern Division second-half race, now trailing the Greenville Drive by 2.0 games heading into Sunday's finale.
Dermis Garcia and Welfrin Mateo each collected RBI on a sac fly and groundout, respectively, to push the Holy City out to a 2-0 lead after one and a half. The RiverDogs did not collect an RBI hit in the game and went a collective 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Outfielders Carlos Vidal and Leonardo Molina each enjoyed two-hit nights.