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Baseball Set To Open West Coast Conference Play

March 28, 2007

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Baseball Game Day: The Saint Mary's baseball team (16-9-1) will head to Malibu to face the No. 10-ranked Pepperdine Waves (20-8) to open West Coast Conference play. The Gaels will open the three-game weekend set on Friday, March 30 at 3 p.m. from Eddy D. Field Stadium. Saturday and Sunday are slated for 1 p.m. first pitch.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's freshman Randy Wells returned from a series off and hasn't missed a beat. The newcomer batted .435 (10-for-23) in the last five games with a home run and seven RBI. The round-tripper was a career first for the Pittsburg native. Wells also added four runs, three doubles and 16 totals bases.

Last Time Out: The Gaels saw their 14-game unbeaten streak come to an end when Saint Mary's fell at Nevada by the score of 7-3. The Gaels strung together a seven and a six-game winning streak over that span. In the game against Nevada, freshman Randy Wells and sophomore Joel Staples went deep for SMC.

WCC Preview: The Gaels begin the conference slate against the two hottest teams in No. 10 ranked Pepperdine and No. 20 ranked San Diego. Saint Mary's currently sits in third in the WCC standings with 16 wins while Gonzaga sits aside with a 16-14 mark. Defending co-champions USF closely follows with a 14-13 record.

Record Breaking: Saint Mary's senior Eric Cattoni jumped into sixth place all-time in stolen bases with 39 in just one and a half seasons. Cattoni is nine away from being tied for fifth in the annals with 48. With six more runs scored this season, Cattoni will crack the top-10 in runs in a single season. Mark Teahen sits in 10th with 45 in 2002.

Home Run Happy: Saint Mary's sophomore infielder Joel Staples continues to muscle up for the Gaels. In the last five games played, Staples has smacked four home runs and drove in 10 runs. Staples sports a team-leading six on the season which ranks second in the WCC. Staples clubbed four home runs as a freshman.

Scouting Pepperdine: The Waves begin WCC play with a No. 10 national ranking. Pepperdine has made four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances including three straight regional championship game appearances. During non-conference play the Waves batted .329 and sported a 3.23 ERA. Opponents batted .236 and owned a 5.98 ERA.

Individually the Waves are led by leadoff man Adrian Ortiz, Chase d'Arnaud and preseason All-American Danny Worth. Ortiz paces the squad with a .410 batting average and nine stolen bases while d'Arnaud follows with a .390 average. Worth leads the team with three home runs and 25 RBI. On the mound preseason All-Americans Barry Enright and Brett Hunter headline the staff. Enright is 6-1 with a 1.37 ERA while Hunter is 4-2 with a 3.05 ERA.

Versus The Waves: The two programs have met 109 times since 1971 with Pepperdine holding an 88-21 advantage. At Eddy D. Field Stadium the Gaels are 8-48 with the last win coming in 2003 by the score of 7-1. The Gaels dropped all three games to the Waves last season.

WCC Leaders: Saint Mary's sports numerous league leaders thus far. Freshman Randy Wells leads the league with a .417 average. Senior Eric Cattoni paces the WCC with 22 stolen bases and 39 runs scored. Cattoni is also second in on-base-percentage with a .487 mark. Freshman Anthony Aliotti ranks second in walks with 23 and leads the league with a .491 on-base-percentage. Joel Staples is second in home runs with six and RBI with 30.

On the mound, junior Sean Gleason is second in the WCC with a 2.40 ERA and fourth in punch outs with 46. Aliotti is fourth in ERA with a 2.79 mark and is tied atop the lead with a complete game.

History: Saint Mary's put together its finest unbeaten streak in the modern era. The Gaels strung together 14-straight without a loss. The streak included one seven-game and another six-game stretch.

Bullpen Notes: The Gaels bullpen posted a 3.54 ERA over non-conference play...the bullpen was 6-2 in 26 games and recorded six saves...89 innings was pitched from the pen with 70 strikeouts and 34 walks...the freshmen duo of Taylor Stanton and Scott Schneider led the way out of the pen...Stanton tallied a perfect 0.00 ERA and three saves while Schneider recorded a 3-0 mark with a 1.17 ERA.

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 return home and face No. 20-ranked San Diego for another WCC series. The three-game set will begin early due to the Easter holiday with a Thursday, April 5 series opener. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field.