By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Cullman received six strong innings from Sam Huser and connected with a few timely hits late to defeat Muscle Shoals 5-1 in the first game of a doubleheader on Friday evening.
The victory snapped the Bearcats’ five-game losing skid.
“Sam (Huser) kept us in it,” coach Brent Patterson. “And we did just enough on offense to win it.”
Zac Crocker gave Cullman an early 1-0 lead with a solo home run over the left field fence in the first inning.
It was all Huser from there, as the sophomore scattered six hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings to go along with three strikeouts.
“We went the whole game on that solo home run,” Patterson said. “It seemed like he had a runner on in every inning, but he kept making pitch after pitch.”
Huser encountered some two-out trouble in the sixth inning, allowing a clean single and issuing a walk to put the tying run in scoring position.
Trouble was averted, however, when he coaxed a lineout to end the frame and the Trojans’ threat.
“That was crucial for us.” Patterson said. “It was really crucial for him to get out of that jam.”
The Bearcats were able to carry the momentum into the bottom half of the inning, scoring four runs to put the game out of reach.
Cullman’s Lance Cleveland had the big hit with a two-run looping single just over the outstretched arm of Muscle Shoals’ first baseman.
“Lance is battling right now,” Patterson said. “He didn’t hit it real well, but fortunately for us, it was good enough.”
Samuel Murphree and Crocker collected two hits apiece for the Bearcats, while Cole Collins, Kristian Robinson and Cleveland were each good for one.
% Cullman 5, Muscle Shoals 2: The Bearcats improved their record to 6-6 on the season, picking up another win over the Trojans in Game 2 of the doubleheader.
After a quick Muscle Shoals’ run, Keegan Thompson answered the bell in the first inning, smashing a three-run homer over the right-center field wall to stake his team to a 3-1 cushion.
“We kind of scratched around all game for some offense,” Patterson said. “Keegan’s hit was big, though. I think it took the pressure off Jesse (Scott) as well.”
Scott battled through five innings of work, allowing two earned runs and striking out seven to pick up the win.
“He didn’t have his best stuff tonight,” Patterson said of the sophomore. “But he moved the ball around and was effectively wild I guess you could say.”
Collins added a sacifrice fly in the second inning after a pair of singles from Keaton Dean and Murphree to extend the Bearcats’ lead to three. He scored his team’s final run on a dropped ball from the Trojans’ right fielder after stealing third base.
Robinson and Kolby Robinson also collected singles for Cullman.
The No. 3 Bearcats will host Russell County today at 10 a.m. and Southside at 3 p.m.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at email@example.com.