RiverDogs’ Rutckyj sizzles in debut

Evan Rutckyj threw five scoreless innings and struck out eight as the first-place Charleston RiverDogs topped the Rome Braves 6-1 in a South Atlantic League game at Riley Park in front of 3,431 fans Sunday.

The RiverDogs’ fifth straight win put their record at 29-13 and gave them a series victory over the Braves (9-33). Charleston also maintained its two- game lead in the SAL Southern Division with the win.

Rutckyj (1-0) was making his debut for the RiverDogs after starting pitcher Caleb Cotham was promoted to Class A Tampa, becoming the first Charleston RiverDog to be moved up by the New York Yankees this year.

In five innings, Rutckyj 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. “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 him home.

In the sixth, they put together a two-out rally to add three more runs. Angelo Gumbs doubled to get the rally started and, after a hit batter, Reymond Nunez doubled to score one run. An error by Rome first baseman William Beck then brought in two more runs. Charleston added a fifth run in the seventh on an RBI double by Gary Sanchez.

Team owner Bill Murray was on hand for the game and wound up with a foul ball at one point during the game.

The RiverDogs head to Savannah today to open a three-game series with the Sand Gnats.