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Baseball Puts 10 Game Unbeaten Streak On The Line This Weekend

March 13, 2007

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This Week In Baseball: The Saint Mary's baseball team (12-8-1) will put its 10-game unbeaten streak on the line this weekend against Southern Utah (3-17) for four games. The Gaels will play a single contest on Friday, March 16 at 2 p.m. SMC will then play a doubleheader on Saturday with first pitch slated for 11 a.m. The Gaels will round out the four-game set on Sunday at 1 p.m. All games will be played at Louis Guisto Field.

Who's Hot: Sophomore infielder Joel Staples continues to shine after being named the WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week. Staples batted .467 (7-for-15) in the series against Columbia and sported a .667 slugging percentage. The sophomore smacked three doubles and drove in three in the four-game set.

Last Time Out: Before taking a week off the Gaels earned three wins and a tie against Columbia. Saint Mary's earned a 12-1 victory to begin the series and then drew a 3-3 tie in the night cap. SMC pulled off the Sunday sweep with 12-7 and 3-0 victories.

Streakin: Saint Mary's has strung together a 10-game unbeaten streak. The last time the Gaels had put together 10-straight was in 1977 when they won 10 in a row. SMC finished with a 41-13 record under Miles McAfee that season. The closest the Gaels have come as of late was in 1983 with eight straight wins in 1985. The longest winning streak this season in the nation is 20 by Florida St.

Scouting Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds enter Moraga with a 3-17 overall record and a 1-10 road mark. SUU is coming off a series loss to Utah. The Thunderbirds defeated the Utes in game one of the series by the score of 7-6. In the final two games the T-Birds were outscored 32-10.

Offensively SUU is led by Bucky Aona and Cameron Nelson. Aona paces the Thunderbirds with a .353 (18-for-51) average. Nelson has supplied the punch with three home runs and 10 RBI to go along with his .328 average. On the hill, SUU is led by Kyle Melling out of the pen. Melling sports a 3.38 ERA in eight appearances with 14 Ks in 13.1 innings pitched.

Versus the Thunderbirds: The two programs have met three times since 1971 with all three games coming last season. The Thunderbirds won the series with two victories all by one run. SMC won 13-10 in the series opener.

Rotation Sensation: The four starters for the Gaels last weekend were untouchable as the quartet did not allow an earned run. The four-headed monster struck out 28 and only walked two in 25 innings. Junior Sean Gleason struck out eight in seven innings while freshman Anthony Aliotti tossed a seven-inning complete game shutout with a career-high 12 Ks.

Moraga 500: Saint Mary's senior Eric Cattoni has used the base paths as his own race track this season. Cattoni has already bettered his last year total in stolen bases with 19 in 21 attempts this season. The speedy Lethbridge Alberta native swiped six bags in six attempts this past weekend against Columbia. Cattoni's 19 thefts lead the West Coast Conference. Cattoni has stolen two or more bags in a single game seven times this year including four against Columbia on March 4.

Two-Way Threat: Freshman Anthony Aliotti has proved to be one of the most productive players at the plate and on the mound. Aliotti is batting .366 with 19 RBI and 19 walks. The newcomer leads the squad with a .505 on base percentage. On the hill Aliotti sports a 3.09 ERA and a team leading three wins to go along with 22 strikeouts in 23.1 innings. Aliotti also showcases a perfect fielding percentage in 153 chances at first base.

Home Cooking: Saint Mary's boasts a 9-3-1 overall record at Louis Guisto Field in 2007. The Gaels are batting .336 in their yard and sport a 3.63 ERA. There are 10 batters with 10 or more at bats that showcase a batting average over .300.

Tool Chest: On top of his league leading 19 stolen bases, senior Eric Cattoni has put together a 14-game hitting streak. Over that span Cattoni is batting .391 with two home runs and seven RBI. Cattoni also leads the conference with 32 runs and is second with a .500 on base percentage.

On The Rise: Junior catcher Ian Gordon and freshman Michael Gonzales have been heating up as of late. The duo both batted .444 on the weekend and combined to drive in five runs. On the season Gordon is batting .309 with 10 RBI while Gonzales is hitting .279 with a home run and seven RBI.

Bullpen Notes: The Gaels bullpen shined all month long as the eight arms combined to post a 0.98 ERA for the month of February. Four relievers did not allow a run while 28 hits were allowed in 46 innings. Freshman Taylor Stanton continued his brilliance with a perfect 0.00 ERA in four appearances with two saves....batters mustered one hit off the right-hander for a .038 batting average against.

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: Saint Mary's will put to bed its eight-game homestand and head to Reno once again to face Nevada. The Gaels will face the Wolf Pack on Tuesday, March 20 with first pitch slated for 2 p.m. from Peccole Park. The Gaels will take the rest of the week off.