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Baseball Returns Home To Face San Diego

April 4, 2007

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Baseball Game Day: The Saint Mary's baseball team (16-12-1, 0-3) will return to the friendly confines of Louis Guisto Field and face the University of San Diego (23-12, 1-2) in a three-game conference series. The three-game set will begin on Thursday, April 5 at 3 p.m. The two other games will be played on Friday and Saturday with 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. first pitches, respectively.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's junior J.P. Musgrove was a bright spot last weekend for the Gaels. Musgrove batted .333 (3-for-9) with his second home run on the season and a RBI. Musgrove slugged .667 and tallied six total bases and a run scored. On the season, the junior is batting .302 with two home runs and 19 RBI.

Last Time Out: The Gaels began West Coast Conference play against No. 10-ranked Pepperdine. The Waves swept the Gaels in the three-game set with SMC giving Pepperdine a scare on Saturday in a 3-1 loss. J.P. Musgrove and Michael Gonzales went deep for SMC on the weekend.

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.

Goin' Deep: Saint Mary's belted two home runs this past weekend off some of the top pitching in the nation. Freshman Michael Gonzales hit a prodigious blast off All American Barry Enright in the sixth inning of game one. J.P. Musgrove left the yard in game two off of Brett Hunter - a freshman All-American in 2006.

Scouting San Diego: The Toreros enter Moraga with a 23-12 overall record and a 1-2 WCC mark. USD is coming off a WCC series loss to Gonzaga. The Zags won game one and game three of the series, pouring in six runs in both games. As a team the Toreros are batting .299 and sport a 3.85 ERA while the opposition is batting .250 and hold a 4.82 ERA.

The Toreros showcase one of the top arms in the country. Sophomore southpaw Brian Matusz is 5-2 with a 3.09 ERA. In 64 innings Matusz has fanned 96 while only walking 26. Two-way player Josh Romanski is 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA. At the plate, the sophomore is batting .331 with a home run and nine RBI. Sean Nicol leads the squad with a .333 average while Jordan Abruzzo has been the run producer with six home runs and 38 RBI.

Versus The Toreros: The two programs have met 85 times since 1971 with USD holding a 48-37 advantage. In Moraga, the Gaels sport a 22-21 record against the Toreros. The two teams met last season in San Diego with the Toreros taking the series 2-1.

WCC Leaders: As a team the Gaels rank second in the conference with a .306 batting average. SMC sits in fourth with a 4.21 ERA. The Gaels sport a couple league leaders as the team heads into April play. Senior Eric Cattoni leads the league in runs scored with 39 and stolen bases with 22. Freshman Anthony Aliotti paces the conference with 24 walks and a .480 on base percentage. Sophomore Joel Staples is second in home runs (6), slugging percentage (.564) and RBI (30).

On Track: Saint Mary's freshman hurler Brandon Berl has been impressive in his last four starts. The newcomer is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA over the span. Berl has been even more impressive with his control as he has fanned 24 while only walking two in 27 innings. Junior Kenny Fuglerud heated up this past weekend, hitting .333 with a run scored.

Home Sweet Home: The Gaels return home to Louis Guisto Field where they sport a 13-3-1 record on the season. Saint Mary's is unbeaten in its last 13 games at the Guisto with its last loss dating all the way back to Jan. 30 against Patten.

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 play San Jose State under the lights on Tuesday, April 10 before continue its conference slate against LMU in a three-game set. First pitch of the LMU series is scheduled for Friday, April 13 at 3 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field.