Sunday, June 17, 2007


Dorn leads Southern Illinois past Slippery Rock

By Robert Crow, The Southern

MARION - At 6-foot-8, 255 pounds, Tim Dorn can clearly put a lot of strength and muscle into his swings.

But that doesn't stop his teammates' jaws from hitting the ground when the Southern Illinois Miners' first baseman gets a hold of a pitch. And Dorn got a hold of plenty Saturday night.

"My first reaction is to just go, 'Wow,'" Southern Illinois designated hitter Mike Victor said. "Those balls he hits are just unbelievable. When he makes contact, all you can say is, 'Wow.'"

Dorn hit two mammoth home runs Saturday, both to straightaway centerfield, putting the exclamation points on the Miners' 16-7 win over the Slippery Rock Sliders. It was the first multi-homer game for any Southern Illinois player, and the most runs scored by the Miners in one game.

Southern Illinois (11-13) was in control of the game from the fourth inning on, but it was Dorn's blasts that will likely linger in the memories of the 5,478 fans at Rent One Park. His first homer, a two-run blast in the fifth inning, went directly over the 400-foot marker on the centerfield fence. In his next at-bat, two innings later, Dorn repeated the feat with another towering two-run homer to center. Dorn's final home run lifted the Miners' lead to 15-6 and lifted his Frontier League-leading homer total to 11.

"I can't describe that feeling," Dorn said. "It's one of the better feelings in the world. Just hearing the ball off the bat like that, and you just watch it go - I can't describe it."

While Dorn's blasts were impressive, they were far from the only offense the Miners had against the Frontier League's other expansion team.

Nursing a 3-0 lead after three innings, Southern Illinois exploded in the fourth -with a little help from the Sliders. Slippery Rock pitchers walked three hitters, beaned another, and shortstop Phil Butch committed a key throwing error. Thanks to those miscues, the Miners needed just three hits to put the game away.

Two of those hits, run-scoring singles from Jose Torres and Ryan Kane, put the finishing touches on a seven-run inning and boosted the Miners' lead to 10-0.

'We were fortunate to be able to open it up and take advantage of a couple mistakes," Miners manager Mike Pinto said. "And that's certainly a good thing."

That cushion was more than enough for starting pitcher Nick Tisone, who stumbled after a brilliant start. Through four innings, Tisone had allowed just one baserunner, on an infield single. After the Miners' big inning, though, he struggled.

Tisone allowed eight hits and six runs during the next two innings, as the Sliders pulled within 12-6. But relievers Josh Ward and Brian Blomquist allowed just one run in 3-1/3 innings of relief to finish the win.

"I think it's tough for a pitcher with a 10-run lead to maintain focus.," Pinto said. "That's kind of what Nick went through. All of a sudden, you're trying to change how you're pitching instead of doing what you were doing before, and he was throwing a great game until then."

Tisone wasn't the only one who may have lost a little focus in the middle stages of the game. Victor admitted it's difficult to stay locked in when a game's outcome already seems decided.

Of course, finding ways to keep that focus after building a 10-run cushion is a problem the Miners certainly don't mind having.

"No, it's really not a bad problem," Victor said. "If we can come out and swing the bats like that every day, we won't have many problems

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