As if that were not enough, the senior right-hander from nearby Brandon, Miss., added two more skins to the wall on Wednesday night as McInnis tossed his first career complete game and became the Golden Eagles’ career leader in innings pitched as second-seeded and regular-season co-champion Southern Miss defeated Tulane, 6-1, to wrap up day one of the 2011 C-USA Baseball Championship presented by Trustmark at Trustmark Park.
With the win, Southern Miss improved to 39-15 on the year and will take on Houston on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Tulane, meanwhile, fell to 30-25 and will look to bounce back tomorrow when the Green Wave battle East Carolina at 4 p.m.
McInnis scattered four hits – three singles and a double – while giving up a run and two walks to go along with eight strikeouts. Along the way, he improved to 8-2 on the year and his 386.1 career innings surpasses the former team record of 381.2 established by Darrel Lindsey from 1985-88. His 358 career strikeouts ranks second in the USM record book, and is just 26 shy of Lindsey’s K total of 374.
While McInnis was in control on the mound, his offense provided all the run support he would need in the bottom of the first as Southern Miss hung a five-spot and never looked back. Six of the Golden Eagles’ 13 hits came during the frame – all off Tulane starter Conrad Flynn (3-7), who lasted just one third of an inning before being lifted in favor of Drew Zizinia.
Zizinia kept Tulane in the game by getting out of the inning without any further damage done and hung zeros over the next five innings, but the damage was already done. He finished the ballgame giving up just one run on six hits and a pair of walks while posting a half dozen strikeouts in 6.2 innings of relief. Gunner Wright closed things out for Tulane with a scoreless ninth.
Southern Miss got things going early on as left fielder Kameron Brutny hit a leadoff single and shortstop Ashley Grater followed with a walk. Designated hitter B.A. Vollmuth plated the first run of the night with an RBI-single through the right side of the infield and a bunt single off the bat of right fielder Marc Bourgeois loaded the bases with still nobody out.
Things just got worse for Conrad and the Green Wave from there as Southern Miss second baseman Isaac Rodriguez ripped a two-run single up the middle and first baseman Adam Doleac – who finished 3-for-4 for the night – laced a single through the right side of the infield to make it 4-0. Conrad got third baseman Mark Ellis to hit into a fielders’ choice to erase Doleac at second for the first his lone out of the game, but catcher Jared Bales followed with a run-scoring single to cap the big inning and chase Conrad from the hill.
McInnis, meanwhile, faced just five more than the minimum over the first six innings before Tulane was able to scratch across a run in the seventh. Right fielder Cody Robinson got things going for the Wave with a leadoff walk, advanced to third on a single to right off the bat of pinch-hitter Quinn Pippin and scored on an RBI-fielders’ choice ground-out off the bat of centerfielder Nick Boullosa, but that would be Tulane’s lone tally of the night.
Southern Miss, meanwhile, got the run right back in the home half of the frame as Rodriguez hit a leadoff double to left, advanced to third on a single by Doleac and came around to touch the paystation on a fielders’ choice ground ball by Ellis to account for the final score.
McInnis allowed just one base-runner the rest of the way as Tulane catcher Jeremy Schaffer reached via error to leadoff the eight before being erased on a double play one at-bat later, and McInnis retired the side in order to put the exclamation point on the victory.