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Baseball Begins Eight Game Homestand Saturday

March 2, 2007

Baseball Game Day: The Saint Mary's baseball team will host Columbia in two double headers this weekend. The Gaels begin the first of two twin bills on Saturday, March 3 at 11 a.m. from Louis Guisto Field. SMC will close out the four-game set on Sunday, March 4 with another 11 a.m. first pitch.

Last Time Out: The Gaels took a four game winning streak into the River City Classic when they met up with the No.7/9 Oregon State Beavers. The Beavers came off a year in which they won the College World Series. Eric Cattoni, the Gaels offense catalyst tied the game at 1-1 when he struck a one out double and scored on a Joel Staples single. Cattoni did it again for the Gaels in the seventh. Cattoni led off with a single before scoring on a Staples sac-fly to give the Gaels the lead. The Gaels tacked on two more runs to win by a final score of 4-1.

The Gaels brought their sticks to Saturday's second game against Sacramento State. In what looked like a football score, the Gaels scored 14 runs while only giving up four. Four of the Gaels 18 hits came off the bat of J.P. Musgrove. Musgrove was one of four Gaels to hit homeruns. Staples hit his second home run of the season while Cattoni and Michael Gonzalez hit their first of the season.

River City Champs: Saint Mary's finished its weekend of competition as the champions of the River City Classic. The Gaels earned the hardware after a huge win over defending national champion Oregon State. The Gaels knocked off the No.7/9 Beavers 4-1 in the opener. This game marks the highest ranked opponent that Saint Mary's has beaten under head coach Jedd Soto.

The Gaels were then victorious in a barn burner against Sacramento State. The 14-4 victory gave the Gaels a 2-0 record in the tournament. The Gaels game against San Francisco was cancelled due to weather conditions. The Gaels were then crowned champs of the River City Classic.

Who's Hot: Offensive catalyst Eric Cattoni came off of another strong week. In three games he led the Gaels to a 3-0 record while batting .556. He led the team with six runs and two doubles. The leadoff hitter still slugged 1.111 on the week and stole two bases. He upped his season average to .362 and a team leading 25 runs. He leads the team with his slugging percentage of .552. He has swiped 13 bags on the season. Cattoni also hit his first home run of the season against Sacramento State.

WCC Player of the Week: Saint Mary's sophomore infielder Joel Staples was named the West Coast Conference/Rawlings Player of the Week as announced by the conference office. This marks the first time in Staples career that he has been named the Player of the Week. Staples was named to the All-WCC Freshman Team and Second-Team at the end of last season.

Staples led Saint Mary's to a perfect 3-0 record last week, including a win over then-No. 9 ranked Oregon State at the River City Classic in Sacramento on Saturday. The sophomore batted .438 (7-for-16) on the week, with a home run and nine RBI. He added a triple, double, and 13 total bases as the Gaels stretched their winning streak to six games. Staples was a home run shy of the cycle in Tuesday's win at Nevada, and drove in a pair of runs in Saturday's 4-1 victory over the Beavers.

Heating up: Freshman Michael Gonzalez got things going this weekend. In two games the lefty slugger recorded four hits including a towering shot during the Sacramento State game. He also recorded two hits against No. 7/9 Oregon State.

Gaels Go Yard: The Gaels combined for five home runs last week after getting off to a slow start for the long ball. On Tuesday Ryan Young hit his first homerun of his career. The Gaels crushed four home runs on Saturday at the River City Classic. Cattoni and Musgrove hit their first home runs of the season. Staples and Gonzalez were in a battle for distance as both sluggers hit the ball as far as the eye can see. Staples home run was the second of the season. Gonzalez's home run was the first of his collegiate career.

Straight Dealing: Junior hurler Sean Gleason has got things on track in his last two starts. The JUCO transfer has won his last two starts and sports a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings pitched. Gleason has fanned 16 while only walking two over that span. Freshman Taylor Stanton earned his third straight save with a three innings masterpiece against Oregon State. The newcomer showcases a 1.23 ERA with a 1-0 record.

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.

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 Time Out: The Gaels will continue its eight-game homestand with a four-game set against Southern Utah. The Gaels will begin the series on Friday, March 16 at 2 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field.