March 18, 2006
By Jeff Honza
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Left-hander Tom Thornton scattered five hits, didn't allow a walk and struck out two in a complete game shutout, as the University of Notre Dame (9-6) blanked Southern Illinois (13-9), 4-0, earlier today at Wolff Stadium.
SIU, who was shutout for the fourth time this season, finished its spring break trip to San Antonio, winless at 0-4.
Only one of SIU's baserunners made it past second base against Thornton, who polished off his nine-inning gem by retiring 16 of his last 19 Saluki hitters. Thornton also moved to 2-0 all-time against SIU, as his other win came in relief against the Dawgs in Carbondale on March 21, 2004.
While Thornton dominated the Salukis on the hill, ND's offense went to work in the third, where Irish Classic Tournament MVP Matt Bransfield's two-out double gave the Irish a 2-0 lead. Bransfield fell behind 1-2 in the count before smacking his extra-base hit over the head of Saluki left fielder Dean Cademartori.
ND added to its lead in the fourth when another two-out hit, this time a single down the left field line by nine-hole hitter Cody Rizzo, put the Irish ahead 3-0.
The Irish had an opportunity to blow the game open after loading the bases with one out in the fifth, but SIU reliever Danny Wells got the Dawgs out of the jam.
ND then iced the win with a one-out double by Greg Lopez in the eighth.
Thornton moved to 3-1 on the year.
Senior Matt Brewer (0-1), who made his first career start, allowed four hits and three runs, while issuing five walks in 4.1 innings. Brewer also struck out one.
Offensively, SIU was led by Kevin Koski, who went 2-for-4 with a stolen base. The Salukis had just 12 hits in two games against the Irish.
Tuesday's game marks the Salukis' final tune-up before opening Missouri Valley Conference play at preseason favorite Wichita State on Mar. 24-26.
San Antonio Trip Notes
Erik Alvarez (1B), Kevin Koski (CF) and Jordan Powell (RHP) were named to the Irish Classic's All-Tournament Team ... SIU was outscored, 35-14, on the trip, and, 23-3, in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings alone ... senior ace left-hander Tyler Norrick took the mound for the first time since starting against Central Michigan on Feb. 23 ... Norrick, who was out due to inflammation in his rotator cuff, recorded three outs in the seventh inning against Notre Dame on Mar. 18 ... SIU's current four-game losing streak is a season-long ... the Salukis went winless at the Irish Classic for the first time under head coach Dan Callahan ... SIU has made five trips to the Irish Classic with Callahan at the helm, and holds a 6-14 record at the event.