University High got stellar shutout pitching from Manny Miles and just enough offense to top Runnels 4-0 in the first District 7-2A baseball meeting between the two teams at the U-High diamond on Tuesday.
Miles gave up three hits, struck out nine and walked three batters in going the distance to run his season’s record to 6-0.
“Manny’s been our guy all year long,” U-High coach Burke Broussard said. “Man, he’s been throwing strikes — three pitches for strikes — and when you can do that in high school, it’s tough on your opponents.
“I knew it was going to be a low-scoring game with the two pitchers we had going, and we’d have to manufacture some runs on (Runnels starter Alden) Cartwright.”
The Cubs did just that, sandwiching single runs in the third and sixth innings around two in the fifth.
Leadoff hitter Brandt Broussard scored three of those runs after reaching on a single in the third, being hit by a pitch in the fifth and drawing a walk in the sixth.
In the third, Broussard advanced to third on a single by Gino Marucci and scored on Steven Sensley’s sacrifice fly to center.
The Cubs benefited from some shaky Runnels defense in the fifth.
Broussard was sacrificed to second by Jake Wharton and came around to score when Josh Morris couldn’t handle Marucci’s grounder.
Marucci advanced to third on a groundout by Sensley and scored on a ground ball to short that was bobbled by Johnny Johnson.
In the sixth, Cartwright issued a two-out walk to Brandt Broussard, who came around to score on singles by Wharton and Marucci.
Runnels coach Tookie Johnson said he sees his team as one that’s coming up short in key situations.
“For the first time this year, they’re just not playing with the confidence they need to make the right play, throw the right pitch, have the right swing when it counts,” Johnson said.
“Right now, we’re evenly matched in our district, and it’s whoever plays well that day. We just didn’t play very well today.”
Cartwright had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, and he left with two on and two out in the sixth.
Riggs March came on in relief to walk Sensley intentionally and retire James Kern on a fly ball to center.
Cartwright gave up five hits and three walks, and struck out six batters.
The only blemish on Miles’ slate was failing twice to lay down a bunt after Jake Alexander singled to lead off the fourth and advanced to second on a balk.
“I didn’t like that,” he said. “He threw me a curveball on that bunt, and I missed it bad.”
As it turned out, that play didn’t matter, and the Cubs went to 18-4 on the season, 3-0 in district play. Runnels dropped to 10-9 and 1-2 in district.