SALISBURY, MD - After playing five straight games decided by two runs or fewer, the Charleston RiverDogs had hoped for an easy, blowout win to take the series in Delmarva. Despite taking a six-run cushion into the bottom of the ninth inning, it was far from a comfortable finish.
Three Charleston hurlers combined for the first nine-inning, RiverDogs no-hitter since 1994, and just the second in team history, as the RiverDogs rolled past the Shorebirds, 7-1, on Thursday evening at Perdue Stadium.
Right-handers Janson Junk (6-4), Austin DeCarr and Daniel Alvarez all held Delmarva (59-59, 34-27) without a hit on the evening, marking the first nine-inning no-no since Jim Brower, now an assistant coach with the Seattle Mariners, completed the feat himself in a 3-0 win at College Park over Columbus on August 3, 1994. It was the first no-hitter for the RiverDogs of any kind since Jason Standridge turned in seven hitless innings on June 28, 1999.
Charleston's (56-63, 23-28) historic feat didn't come without a few bumps in the road. Junk walked a pair and hit right fielder Will Robertson twice in his two-plus trips around the order but struck out five Shorebirds to keep the O's farm club off balance throughout the evening. Delmarva were able to score without a hit in the third, thanks to a leadoff error committed by Junk, a wide throw that sailed past first baseman Dermis Garcia to put catcher Ben Breazeale aboard to lead off the inning. After a walk and a wild pitch, he scored on second baseman Mason McCoy's ground out, cutting the early deficit to 5-1.
DeCarr worked around a pair of walks over three scoreless before Daniel Alvarez shut down the game with a 1-2-3 ninth with first baseman Ryan Ripken squaring up a line drive right to the glove of Frederick Cuevas in right field to end the ballgame.
Cuevas provided the early cushion with a grand slam, the first of his career and first home run with the RiverDogs, to cap a five-run second inning. The RiverDogs erased the Shorebirds lone run with an insurance tally in the fifth; Oswaldo Cabrera roped a one-out single and later scored on a passed ball. Catcher Eduardo Navas went yard for the second time this season, a leadoff shot to right in the sixth, marking the first multi-home run season of the Venezuelan's five-year, professional career.
It marked the second nine-inning no-hitter in the South Atlantic League this year after three Greenville Drive arms combined for the feat on July 19 at McCormick Field in Asheville.