Feb. 16, 2007
By Jeff Honza
HATTIESBURG, Miss.-Senior right-hander Ryan Belanger allowed four hits and struck out seven to lead Southern Mississippi (1-0) to a commanding 9-0 win over Southern Illinois (1-3) earlier today in the Coca-Cola Baseball Classic.
SIU, which was shut out for the second-straight time, has gone 20 consecutive innings without scoring a run. The last time the Dawgs were blanked in back-to-back games was in 1996 -- 9-0 vs. Oral Roberts; 4-0 vs. Indiana.
Belanger (1-0), USM's leader in strikeouts last season, was impressive in his sixth career start.
He recorded four strikeouts and retired six of eight SIU hitters in the first two innings of the game, and sat down five in a row between the third and the fifth. Also, eight Salukis reached base against him, six of which got on by either a single, walk or hit by pitch.
With Belanger cruising on the mound, the Golden Eagle offense went to work on Jordan Powell in the third.
Bo Davis led off with a bunt single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Back-to-back one-out RBI-singles by Brian Dozier and Trey Sutton, and a sacrifice fly by James Ewing followed to give USM a 3-0 lead.
The Golden Eagles added another run in the fourth and two in the fifth, before busting the game wide open in the eighth.
Sutton's one-out triple to right knocked in both Davis and Dozier, and Ewing's sacrifice fly came after that to put the finishing touches on the 9-0 win.
Powell, who fell to 0-2 on the year, gave up eight hits and six runs in 4.1 innings. He also posted one strikeout and issued a walk. Powell has lost each of his last five starts dating back to May 5, 2006 (vs. Indiana State).
Sutton went 2-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored and three RBI to lead a Golden Eagle offense which pounded out 10 hits.
SIU returns to action against Northwestern State tomorrow at Noon, CST. Cody Adams (1-0) will start on the mound.