Clint McCullough made the most of his pinch-hit opportunity.
McCullough laced a singled to center, scoring pinch runner Parker Degraw to give the Warriors a 4-3 win over rival Blackman in 10 innings on a chilly Tuesday night at Blackman High.
“Coach told me to get warmed up, and just get ready to hit,” said McCullough, who drove in his third run of the season. He was hitting just .222 entering the game. “It wasn’t too tough to go in after standing in the cold. I just had to go in and do my job, and help my team out.”
The game lasted just under three hours. Twice during the game a light rain began to fall, but it was never stopped.
The win kept Riverdale (12-5 overall, 4-0 in 7-AAA) perfect in league play. The Warriors maintained a one-game lead over La Vergne (12-1, 3-1) for first place. Blackman (6-7, 2-2) is now two games back. Riverdale hosts Blackman at 6 p.m. today.
“We’ve just got to worry about (today),” Blackman coach Justin Entrekin said. “If we can take care of (today) and scratch out a win there, then we’re right back to where we were coming into (Tuesday).”
Drew Huff (2-1) pitched the final 1 2/3 to collect the win. He finished the bottom of the 10th with three straight strikeouts. Vanderbilt commitment Collin Snider started for Riverdale and pitched five innings before being relieved by David Farmer due to a pitch count with the game tied at three.
Snider struck out six and walked two. He gave up five hits.
Riverdale scored an unearned run in each of the first three innings to take a 3-0 lead through 2 1/2 innings off Blaze starter Hunter Martin, a Tennessee signee. Trevor Sutton singled and scored on a throw from catcher Austin Reynolds to first baseman Austin Mosier after Reynolds dropped a third strike.
Trevin Ayers added a run in the second on a passed ball after reaching on an error. The Warriors then added a third run when Brady Puckett doubled in Kaleb Swayze, who had reached on an error.
Martin, who was pitching in his first game of the season, finished with nine strikeouts and three walks. He yielded four hits.
“Hunter Martin is obviously a really good pitcher,” Riverdale coach Barry Messer said. “You have to take advantage of mistakes. At the end of the day, you don’t care if they are unearned or earned when you are facing that good of an arm.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘Good teams find different ways to win every night.’ We found a way to win tonight.”
Blackman countered with two runs in the bottom of the third, sparked by Jamie Kent’s lead-off walk, which was followed by Alex Brown’s single to score Kent. Brown later score to trim the deficit to 3-2.
Two innings later, Brown tied the game when he doubled, stole third and scored on Riley Walters’ throwing error.
Riverdale 4, Blackman 3 (10)
Riverdale 111 000 001 — 4 6 3
Blackman 002 010 000 — 3 6 3
Snider, Farmer (5), Huff (9) and Walters. Farmer, Mitchell (8) and Reynolds. WP: Huff (2-1). LP: Mitchell.