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Baseball Hits The Road To Face Nevada In Lone Game

March 19, 2007

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This Week In Gaels Baseball: The Saint Mary's baseball team put an end to its eight game homestand and will hit the road for a Tuesday matinee. The Gaels (16-8-1) will face the Nevada Wolf Pack (13-12) on Tuesday, March 20 at 2 p.m. from Peccole Park. The match-up will mark the fifth meeting between the two programs this season.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's sophomore infielder Joel Staples continues to carry the Gaels during their 14-game unbeaten streak. The sophomore batted .412 (7-for-17) with three home runs and nine RBI over the four games this past week. Staples slugged 1.059 with two doubles and 18 total bases over the weekend.

In Sunday's contest against Southern Utah the Ridgefield, WA native batted 3-for-5 with five RBI and two home runs. In the series, Staples recorded a RBI in every game, including two in the 4-3 win over the Thunderbirds on Saturday.

Last Time Out: The Gaels improved their unbeaten streak to 14 straight with four more wins this past weekend. Saint Mary's swept Southern Utah in a four-game set to improve to 16-8-1 on the season. The Gaels swept the doubleheader against the Thunderbirds to earn the series win on Saturday.

Streakin': Saint Mary's has strung together a 14-game unbeaten streak. The Gaels have been unbeaten for 31 days and have out-scored their opponents 125-41 over that span. The Gaels also currently boast a six-game winning streak - their second longest on the season. Saint Mary's has batted .352 with a 2.43 ERA in that span as well.

Scouting Nevada: The Wolf Pack will host the Gaels with a 13-12 record after sweeping Utah Valley State in a three-game set this past weekend. Nevada is 7-3 in its past 10 games and boasts an 8-1 record at home. That lone loss came against the Gaels on Feb. 20.

Offensively UNR is led by Shaun Kort and Konrad Schmidt. Kort is batting .372 and drove in 20 runs while Schmidt has provided the punch with six home runs and 26 RBI. Three other Wolf Pack batters are batting above .300. On the mound UNR is led by starter Ryan Rodriguez and reliever Jacob Kaup. Rodriguez was named the MWC Pitcher of the Week and sports a 2.52 ERA and a 3-3 record. Kaup is 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA in eight appearances.

Versus the Wolf Pack: The two programs have met 112 times since 1971 with the Gaels holding a 56-52-4 record. The two teams met four times this season with a three-game set to open the series and a single road game earlier on the slate. The current series is tied 2-2 with SMC taking a 13-4 victory in Reno in the last meeting.

Another One Bites The Dust: Three of the Gaels starters this past weekend were sending their opposing batters to the bench in a timely fashion. Junior Sean Gleason fanned 11 in his start on Friday while freshman Brandon Berl sat down 10 in seven innings on Saturday. Following his career-high 12 Ks, freshman southpaw Anthony Aliotti struck out nine in 5.2 innings on Saturday in game two of the twin bill.

Home Run Derby: Sophomore infielder Joel Staples left the yard three times last weekend including twice in the same game. Freshman catcher Ryan Mulligan also belted a home run - his first of his collegiate career. On the season Staples leads the Gaels with five home runs - a single season best for the Ridgefield, WA native.

Straight Dealin': Sean Gleason continued his brilliance on the hill for the Gaels. In Friday's start against Southern Utah, Gleason fanned 11 and scattered seven hits in 8.2 innings without allowing a run or issuing a walk. The win marked the fourth straight for the right-hander. After the gem against the Thunderbirds, the La Junta, CO native posts a 0.30 ERA with a 4-0 mark and 35 Ks in his last four starts. On the season, Gleason boasts a 4-1 record with a 2.40 ERA and 46 Ks in 45 innings.

RBI Machines: Junior J.P. Musgrove and sophomore Joel Staples recorded five RBI in back-to-back contests. Musgrove drove in five on three hits on Saturday while Staples recorded five RBI on three hits on Sunday. The duo have combined for 11 multi-RBI games with both tallying four in a previous contest.

Home Cooking: Saint Mary's boasts a 13-3-1 overall record at Louis Guisto Field in 2007. The Gaels are batting .330 in their yard and sport a 3.52 ERA. There are 10 batters with nine or more at bats that showcase a batting average over .300.

Bullpen Notes: The Gaels bullpen posted a 1-0 record and 4.15 ERA over the four-game set against Southern Utah. The Gaels tallied two saves with junior Alex Jensen recording his first as a Gael. Senior Michael Nisco tallied his second on the season. Freshman Scott Schneider recorded his third win out of the bullpen with a perfect 10th inning against SUU on Sunday.

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 host Cal State East Bay on Tuesday, March 27 before opening up West Coast Conference play. The Gaels will travel down to Malibu to face the #8 Pepperdine Waves, beginning Friday, March 30 at 2 p.m. from Eddy D. Field.