Jan. 23, 2007
This Week In Gaels Baseball: The Saint Mary's baseball team will embark on its fourth season under head coach Jedd Soto this weekend versus Nevada. The Gaels will open a three-game set against the Wolf Pack on Friday, January 26 at 1 p.m. SMC will then host UNR on Saturday, January 27 at 1 p.m. and then play the rubber-match on Sunday, January 28 at 1 p.m. All games will be played at Louis Guisto Field on the Saint Mary's campus.
Who's Hot: Saint Mary's senior outfielder Eric Cattoni finished the 2006 season on a tear. The Lethbridge, Alberta native batted .455 in the last four contests of the season as a junior. Cattoni slugged 1.000 over the four-game span, knocking four doubles and a triple while batting 5-for-11 from the plate. Cattoni finished the season with a team-leading 16 doubles, 17 stolen bases and 30 walks.
A Different Look: Saint Mary's enters the 2007 slate with only 11 players who suited up for the Gaels in 2006. SMC boasts 21 newcomers that could potentially suit up for opening day. 16 freshmen and five transfers highlight the new-look Gaels.
Opening Days: Saint Mary's opens the season at home for the third time since 2000 and the second time under head coach Jedd Soto. The Gaels opened the 2006 campaign with its first opening day victory since 1994. SMC defeated Sacramento State last season 9-3. Since 1971 the Gaels are 10-25-1 on opening day and have never faced Nevada to open the season.
Scouting Nevada: The Wolf Pack finished 2006 with a 26-28 overall record and a 5-16 mark on the road. UNR finished 11-12 in the WAC and placed third in the WAC Tournament, bowing out to No. 24 Hawaii 11-2 in the semifinals. The Wolf Pack batted .269 as a team and posted a 5.53 ERA. Opponents batted .297 against the Pack and sported a 5.32 ERA. UNR out-scored its opponents 360-316.
Nevada returns five of its eight top offensive threats, including junior Matt Bowman. Bowman posted a team-high .376 average and added eight home runs, 17 doubles, 40 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. The 5-7 infielder/outfielder was named to the 2007 Wallace Award Watch List. Junior Terry Walsh returns after batting .293 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs. On the mound, Nevada lost its top three hurlers that tossed over 10 innings. UNR does return Steve Taylor (4.79, 0-1, 24 Ks) and starter Ryan Rodriguez (7-7, 4.87, 68 Ks).
Versus The Wolf Pack: The two programs have met 108 times since 1971 with the Gaels holding a 54-50-4 advantage. SMC holds a 29-21-4 lead at home. The Gaels won the last meeting in 2005 in Nevada with a 9-5 decision.
A Look Back At `06: Saint Mary's boasted its finest season in 15 years after compiling its first winning season since 1991. The Gaels finished with a 26-25 overall record and a 9-12 WCC mark to place tied for fifth in the conference. The Gaels sported six All-WCC selections. The senior duo of Sam Carter and Preston Young combined to belt 23 home runs with Carter hitting 11 and Young knocking 12.
On the hill, senior Dan Lewis was lights-out from the pen, posting a team-leading 2.91 ERA and four saves. Senior starter Corey Madden finished 6-2 with a 3.30 ERA and 76 Ks in 84.2 innings. Fellow senior Joel Fountain compiled a 7-4 record and a 5.40 ERA with 68 Ks in 90 innings. Madden and Fountain were both drafted by the Marlins in the 21st and 25th rounds, respectively. Carter signed with the Padres as a free agent.
Home Sweet Home: The Gaels will play a school-record 33 home games in 2007. SMC boasted a 17-12 mark at home in 2006. Under head coach Jedd Soto, the Gaels are 28-19 at Louis Guisto Field in the last two seasons. Saint Mary's will play 12 WCC games at home, including a three-game set against rival Santa Clara on May 4-6.
Soto Signs Multi-Year Extension: Head coach Jedd Soto signed a multi-year extension to stay with Saint Mary's. SMC is where Soto started his Division I head coaching career. Over the past three seasons, Soto has posted a 60-96 overall record.
WCC Preseason Poll: The Saint Mary's baseball team was tabbed for a seventh place finish as selected by the West Coast Conference coaches. Pepperdine was chosen as the favorite to capture its fourth straight WCC baseball title in the 2007 preseason poll. The Waves, who have been ranked as high as No. 19 in the preseason polls, received six first place votes and a total of 47 points to edge out San Diego and 2006 WCC regular season co-champion San Francisco for first place in the listing.
Head Coach Jedd Soto: Soto enters his fourth year as head coach at Saint Mary's College. In just his third season at the helm, Soto turned the program around and made it one of the top contenders in the West Coast Conference. Soto led Saint Mary's to its finest season in 15 years, compiling its first winning season since 1991.
Since his inaugural season, Soto has added 12 wins, compiling an improvement of six victories a year. With that feat, Soto became only the second coach in Saint Mary's modern history to record back-to-back improvements in the win column.
Soto has had 11 players earn West Coast Conference accolades including three first-team selections in 2005 and six overall selections in 2006, the most at SMC since the 1994 season. In addition to the conference awards, Soto had six players selected in the amateur draft the last two seasons and eight players selected in previous drafts.
Soto was hired on July 1, 2003 as a unanimous choice of the players, coaches, administrators and the search committee. At 29 years of age, Soto was the youngest head coach hired in Division I baseball.
Saint Mary's Ink Seven For '08: Saint Mary's secured commitments from six players from Northern California and one from San Diego, CA. Under the direction of Soto and his assistants, the SMC coaching staff assembled the class with six pitchers (5 RHP, 1 LHP) and one infielder with many of the arms able to make a contribution at the plate as well.
Saint Mary's six Northern California players include Daniel Alcaire SS/RHP (Salesian High School), Justin Kuks RHP (West High School), Taylor Reid RHP (De La Salle High School), Alex Schmarzo RHP (Palo Alto High School), David Small LHP (Benicia High School) and Kyle Tachibana RHP/INF (Los Altos High School). The lone Southern California signee is Dorsey Ek RHP/INF from Francis Parker High School in San Diego, CA.
Next Week: The Gaels will play four games next week, including three at home. SMC will open the week at the Guisto on Tuesday, January 30 against Fresno Pacific with first-pitch slated for 2 p.m. The Gaels will then play a home-away-home series with the San Jose State Spartans. SMC will open the three-game set on Friday, February 2 at 2 p.m. The Gaels will then head to San Jose for a 1 p.m. start on Saturday and then return home for a 1 p.m. matinee.