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Baseball Prepares For Annual River City Classic

Feb. 22, 2007

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Baseball Game Day: The Saint Mary's baseball team (7-8) will continue on the road as it will partake in the River City Classic. The Gaels open the classic against defending national champions, No. 9 ranked Oregon State (9-1) on Saturday, February 24 at 10 a.m. SMC will then face host Sacramento State (2-7) at 2 p.m. and then wrap up classic play against WCC foe USF (5-5) on Sunday, February 25 at 10 a.m. All games will be played at Hornet Field.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's sophomore Joel Staples has returned to form as he begins to heat up for SMC. Staples was a home run shy of the cycle against Nevada, batting 4-for-6 with four RBI and two runs scored. In the last two weeks Staples is batting .429 (9-for-21) with a team-leading seven RBI. The sophomore has added 15 total bases and is slugging .714 with a double and triple.

Last Time Out: The Gaels won their fourth consecutive game with a 13-4 over Nevada in Reno. SMC plated nine runs in the fifth inning while sophomore Ryan Young belted a home run in the seventh. Four Gaels tallied multi-hit games with Joel Staples collecting four on the afternoon. Randy Wells followed with three hits and two RBI.

Scouting #9 Oregon State: OSU sports a 9-1 record and is coming off the championship of the Coca-Cola Classic. The Beavers were beaten by WCC foe Gonzaga 6-5 in their first game, but came back to beat Arizona State 12-4 in an early season match-up of Pacific-10 favorites and then top Missouri 9-2. The defending national champions are batting .300 and showcase a 2.86 ERA.

Through three weekends of play, the Beavers swinging the hottest bats are junior catcher Mitch Canham (.517 batting average, 1 home run, 11 runs batted in); freshman infielder Joey Wong (.433, 0, 3), who has a six-game hitting streak; sophomore outfielder Koa Kahalehoe (.368, 0, 5); junior infielder Drew George (.353, 0, 1) and junior outfielder Braden Wells (.350, 0, 0). On the mound, the Beavers' rotation thus far of junior righthander Mike Stutes (1-0 record, 4.41 ERA), junior lefthander Joe Paterson (2-0, 2.04) and junior righthander Daniel Turpen (2-0, 3.00) has averaged over 5 1/3 innings per start in the early going.

Versus The Beavers: The two programs have met three times since 1971 with the Beavers taking two of the three. The other contest ended in a 4-4 tie. Last season the two teams met in the River City Classic where OSU won 7-5.

Scouting Sacramento State: The Hornets hold a 2-7 record after winning its last two. The Hornets will play WCC foe USF before facing the Gaels Saturday afternoon. The two wins are over South Dakota St. (13-4) and San Francisco St. (8-5). On the season the Hornets are batting .280 and showcase a 6.35 ERA.

The Hornets are led by Montana Dye and Ryan Blair. Dye leads the squad with a .364 batting average while Blair paces the squad with two home runs, 11 RBI and follows with a .342 average. On the mound the Hornets are led by starter Mick Joyce and reliever Mitch Lively. Joyce sports a 3.46 ERA and a 0-1 mark in two starts while Lively has made five appearances with a 4.35 ERA and a 1-0 mark.

Versus The Hornets: The two programs have met 83 times since 1971 with the Hornets holding a slight 42-40-1 all-time lead. In Sacramento the Hornets are 28-26 since the 1971 season. The two teams met four times last season with the Hornets taking three of the four games, including both on the road. CSSU won the last game 11-6 in Sacramento.

Scouting San Francisco: The Dons sport a 5-5 overall record and are coming off a 4-1 loss to Stanford. USF dropped its last series to UC Riverside, taking the final game by the score of 5-3. On the season the Dons are batting .263 and showcases a 3.98 ERA.

Mitchell Bialosky and Joey Railey lead the Diamond Dons at the plate. Bialosky is batting .346 with two home runs and seven RBI while Railey follows with a .333 mark and five RBI. On the hill, Aaron Poreda paces the Dons with a 1-1 mark and a 2.53 ERA. Cole Stipovich has a 1.23 ERA in five appearances out of the pen.

Versus the Dons: The two programs have met 102 times since 1971 with the Gaels taking a 97-55 advantage. On the road the Gaels hold a 50-31 all-time lead. The two teams met three times last season with the Dons taking the series sweep from Louis Guisto Field.

Friday Night Lights Out: Saint Mary's junior hurler Sean Gleason proved to be the stopper for the Gaels as the junior college transfer put a halt to a four-game SMC slide with a stellar performance from the mound. Gleason nearly went the distance in the series opener against Utah Valley State. The La Junta, CO native scattered seven hits in eights innings while striking out 13 and not allowing an earned run en route to his first victory in a Gaels uniform.

Freshman Sensations: Three freshmen lead the Gaels in hitting and show no signs of slowing down. Randy Wells leads the squad with a .429 batting average and a team-high 27 hits. Wells also paces the Gaels with 17 RBIs and two triples. Anthony Aliotti follows with a .389 mark and has added 13 RBIs. Kyle Jensen also follows with a .389 mark and 11 RBI.

Bullpen Notes: The bullpen continues to headline the Saint Mary's pitching staff with an impressive two weeks. After sporting a perfect 0.00 ERA after a road series against LSU, the Gaels came right back against UC Davis and Utah Valley State to showcase a 0.68 ERA. Junior Alex Jensen allowed no runs in 7.1 innings of relief with a win and six strikeouts over the course of the week.

Closing the Door: Saint Mary's freshman closer Taylor Stanton has been a legitimate option for head coach Jedd Soto out of the bullpen. Stanton has tossed 6.2 innings and has yet to allow a hit while recording a win, two saves and five strikeouts in four appearances from the bullpen.

Race Track: Senior outfielder Eric Cattoni has been off to the races early in 2007. The Lethbridge, Alberta native has swiped 11 bags in 13 attempts thus far. Cattoni stole two more bases in the series against Utah Valley State. On the season, Cattoni is batting .327 with a team-leading 19 runs scored.

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 a Tuesday matinee against Sacramento State in Sacramento before returning home for a four-game series against Columbia. First pitch against the Hornets is set for February 27 at 2 p.m. from Hornet Field. The Gaels will play back-to-back double-headers against Columbia, starting on Saturday, March 3 at 11 a.m. from Louis Guisto Field.