April 15, 2011
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The 25th-ranked Southern Miss baseball team used a nine-run fifth inning to break open a scoreless tie on its way to defeating New Orleans, 11-0, in front of 3,525 fans Friday night at Pete Taylor Park.
The game was delayed 1 ½ hours due to rain and tornado warnings.
"Given the circumstances today with the rain delay, I thought we played pretty well," said head coach Scott Berry. "We swung the bats early, but didn't have anything to show for it. For the most part, we played pretty good baseball. Of course, it all started on the mound. Todd McInnis gave us another quality start. And you always have to be happy with a win and a shutout."
The game began as a pitcher's duel, as each team could only muster two hits through the first four innings. After UNO stranded a runner in the top of the fifth, Mark Ellis led off the bottom of the inning with a single up the middle. Ashley Graeter then hit a sure double play ball to Beau Boudreaux at short, but Boudreaux sent his throw into right field, allowing Ellis and Graeter to reach third and second, respectively.
Justin Diliberto followed with a ground ball to third base, but Cameron Wheeless' throw bounced past first baseman Nolan Church, allowing Ellis and Graeter to come across home plate with the first runs of the game, and Diliberto reached third. After Kameron Brunty grounded out to first, Tyler Koelling drove in Diliberto with a sacrifice fly.
With two outs, Marc Bourgeois walked, and Jared Bales singled to center, with both runners advancing a base on Blake LeBlanc's fielding error. Adam Doleac then singled to center, knocking in Bourgeois and Bales.
Isaac Rodriguez singled and Ellis was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Graeter then sent the first pitch he saw over the left field fence for his second home run of the season and first career grand slam. Diliberto kept the inning going with an infield single, but Brunty grounded out to end the inning.
The Golden Eagles added a run in both the seventh and eighth innings.
Todd McInnis scattered seven hits over seven innings to pick up his sixth victory of the season. His ten strikeouts are a season-high, and the second most in his career.
Graeter was 2-for-5 with two runs and four RBI, Bales was 2-for-4 with two runs and Doleac was 1-for-4 with one run and two RBI.
Southern Miss goes for the series victory tomorrow afternoon when the teams meet at 2 p.m.