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Baseball Returns Home For Four Games

March 20, 2006

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This Week in Gaels Baseball: The Saint Mary's baseball team returns to the friendly confines of Louis Guisto Field for a four game home stand. The Gaels will open their week against the Pacific Tigers on Tuesday, March 21 at 2 p.m. SMC will begin its weekend series against the Utah Utes on Friday, March 24 at 2 p.m. Both games on Saturday and Sunday are slated for 1 p.m.

Scouting Pacific: The Gaels have already seen the Tigers once this season and look to even the score on Tuesday. SMC suffered a 4-1 loss to Pacific on Feb. 28 at the Stockton Ballpark. Senior Corey Madden fanned 10 and allowed two earned runs in six innings. The Gaels also out-hit the Tigers 9-5 in the losing effort. Pacific is coming off a series victory over Cal, taking a game in Stockton and one on the Berkeley campus. Offensively they are led by Ramon Glasgow's .380 average and Matt Berezay's five home runs and 17 RBIs. Justin Baum has belted four home runs and drove in 14 RBIs.

On the mound, Pacific is led by reliever Eric Stolp. Stolp boasts a 2.03 ERA in nine appearances and has made two saves. Starter Luke Massetti leads all starters with a 2.85 ERA in seven starts. Massetti has fanned 37 in 47.1 innings pitched.

Scouting Utah: The Utes currently sit at 8-10 overall and are coming off a 1-2 week. Utah defeated BYU 5-4 earlier in the week but suffered two losses to WCC foe Portland. The Pilots trounced the Utes by scores of 8-1 and 10-8. Offensively the Utes are led by Ryan Khoury. In the 18 starts, Khoury is batting .394 with two home runs and 13 RBIs. John Welsh has supplied the power with a team-leading four home runs, six doubles and 19 RBIs.

On the hill Utah is led by reliever Brad Devore. The closer leads the team with a 1.23 ERA, two saves and a 3-1 mark. Starter Josh Cooper holds onto a 3.58 ERA and a 2-2 record. Cooper has struck out 24 in 27.2 innings pitched.

Who's Hot: Senior outfielders Preston Young and Sam Carter. The duo hit over .500 for the series against Southern Utah and combined to belt five home runs and drive in 15 RBIs. Young led the Gaels with three home runs over the weekend including two in the series opener. In the first game of the road trip against SUU, Young had a career day. The senior batted 3-for-5 with a career high four batted in. Two out of the three hits were home runs that eventually led SMC to a 13-10 victory. Young added his third home run in the series finale when he went 3-for-4 from the plate with three RBIs.

Carter batted .583 in the series and also had a multi home run game in the same contest. The senior batted 3-for-4 with a career high five RBIs and four runs scored in the series opener. In game two, Carter continued to stay hot with a 2-for-3 effort, adding a RBI and a two runs scored. In the series finale Carter again added two hits and drove in two more with a run scored.

Power Surge: Over the weekend the Gaels smashed six home runs including four in the same game. In the series opener against Southern Utah, Sam Carter and Preston Young belted two home runs a piece. In the third game, sophomore catcher Ian Gordon and Young went deep for the Gaels. Young smashed three home runs in the series. The multi home run game by both Carter and Young was the first time a Gael had belted more than one since Carter hit two against Washington State on Feb. 21, 2004.

Young Smashes His Way Into The Books: Senior Preston Young is rapidly moving up the SMC career home run list. With his three home runs this weekend, Young now has seven on the season and 22 for his career. His 22 career home runs moved him into sole possession of third place in the record books, surpassing Curt Cannedy who belted 21 in the 77-78 seasons. The seven home runs this season surpasses his single season best of six, which he has accomplished twice.

The Gaels Score...A Lot: This past weekend the Gaels plated 34 runs in three games. Scoring 13, 9 and 12 runs in each of the contests. This season SMC has touched home 149 times, outscoring its opposition by 34 runs. The Gaels have scored more than nine runs in nine different games and have poured in as many as 16.

And the Whiff: The flame throwing duo of seniors Joel Fountain and Corey Madden were back at it this past weekend. In their two starts, the duo combined to strikeout 21 in 11.2 innings pitched. Fountain struck out 10 for the second time this season while Madden fanned a career-high 11 for his second double-digit K performance as well. Fountain has won his last four decisions and sports a 3.02 ERA. The senior has fanned 41 in 41.2 innings pitched. Madden (2-1) boasts a 3.38 ERA and has struck out 35 in 29.1 innings.

Home Cooking: Saint Mary's continues to stay hot at home establishing a 10-2 mark at Louis Guisto Field. With one more win at home the Gaels will match last year's home win total of 11. The Gaels have won their last six games at the Guisto and nine out of their last 10. At home, the SMC pitching staff currently boasts a 2.33 ERA while opposing pitchers have been drilled for a 6.80 mark.

Head Coach Jedd Soto: Soto enters his third year as head coach at Saint Mary's College. After two seasons at the helm, Soto has had seven players earn West Coast Conference accolades including three first-team selections in 2005, the most at SMC since the 1991 season. In addition to the conference awards, Soto had four players selected in the 2005 amateur draft and eight players selected in previous drafts.

This season Soto has already had two players named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week. In Saint Mary's opening week, senior Delaney Gallagher nabbed the honor while senior Joel Fountain was named Pitcher of the Week for his one-hit complete game shutout against Georgetown.

Last season Soto led the Gaels to their first 20 win season since 2002 and his six win improvement is the most by any single coach at Saint Mary's since Jim Jones accomplished the feat in 1987.

Soto has been instrumental in bringing in the top talent to Moraga and his 2006 recruiting class is no different. Soto inked 14 players in the early signing period including 10 Northern California players. Several of Soto's signee's are ranked among the best in the nation.

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 the West Coast Conference.

Coach Soto comes from a coaching tree that includes Smoke Laval: current head coach of LSU, and Jim "Skip" Walker: 1000 game winner at the collegiate level and hitting pioneer. With the implementation and combination of the systems used by Laval and Walker, Soto's style of play is bred for success.

Next Week: Saint Mary's will hit the road and play its final non-conference game before heading into conference play. The Gaels will play San Jose State on Tuesday, March 28 at 6 p.m. SMC will begin WCC play when it heads south to San Diego to face the Toreros. The first game of the three-game set is slated for Friday, March 31 at 2 p.m.