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Baseball Returns Home For Conference Action

April 11, 2006

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This Week in Gaels Baseball: The Saint Mary's baseball team will play its first West Coast Conference action at home this weekend against Gonzaga. The Gaels will start the week with a non-conference matinee against the UC Davis Aggies. The Gaels will host the Aggies on Tuesday, April 11 with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field. SMC will return to conference play on the weekend and begin a three-game set against GU on Friday, April 14 at 3 p.m. from the Guisto.

Scouting UC Davis: The Aggies 12-16 overall and 2-8 on the road are coming off a series loss to Pacific. The Aggies are in a bit of a slump as they have only collected two wins in their last nine games. Offensively the Aggies are led by Tyler LaTorre. In 25 starts, LaTorre has compiled a .436 batting average, one home run and a team-leading 18 RBIs.

On the mound, Davis is led by starter Jeremy McChesney. In four starts, McChesney has posted a 3-0 record and a 2.70 ERA. Starter Michael Potter closely follows with a 2.88 ERA in five starts and a 1-2 record. Potter has fanned 27 in 15 innings pitched. In relief, Nik Aurora leads the team with four saves in 15 appearances. Aurora posts a 3.33 ERA and a 2-3 record.

Scouting Gonzaga: The Bulldogs will enter Moraga with a 22-12 overall record and a 4-2 WCC mark. The Zags are coming off a WCC series loss to Santa Clara where they dropped two of the three games. GU swept the Pilots to begin conference action. Offensively the Zags are led by Scott Campbell. In 34 starts, Campbell is batting .414 with four home runs and 17 RBIs. Jackson Brennan has supplied the punch for GU. Brennan has smacked 10 home runs and drove in 30 RBIs.

On the mound, starter Patrick Donovan holds a 5-2 record in 10 starts with a 3.27 ERA. Donovan has fanned 35 and walked 29 in 63.1 innings. Josh Monroe closely follows with a 3.86 ERA and a 2-2 mark in six starts and nine appearances. Monroe has struck out 19 in 35 innings pitched. From the bullpen, Brandon Harmon leads the team with a 1.23 ERA in 13 appearances. In 22 innings, Harmon has fanned 16 and walked three.

Who's Hot: Senior Mike Harris returns to Moraga after batting .462 (6-for-13) in the three road games this past weekend. Harris belted his first home run of the season and drove in a team-high three RBIs. Sophomore catcher Ian Gordon was also hot by putting together a .455 (5-for-11) batting clip. The backstop added two doubles and drove in two runs while also throwing out two base runners.

Madden Tosses Complete Game: Saint Mary's senior hurler Corey Madden recorded his first career complete game Saturday against LMU. The senior scattered seven hits and allowed two earned with three strikeouts to hand SMC the series victory on the road against the Lions. On the season, Madden holds a 2.88 ERA and a 4-1 record. Madden has fanned 51 in 50 innings pitched.

Double Headed Monster: In the Saint Mary's bullpen, opposing batters have had no luck against Dan Lewis and Justin Sloan. During conference play, the duo are 1-2 in opposing batting average. Sloan leads the WCC with a .125 mark while Lewis follows with a .150 clip.

Carter Named WCC POM: Saint Mary's Sam Carter was named the WCC/Rawlings Player of the Month for his efforts during the month of March. The Concord native led the Gaels in nearly every offensive category. The senior batted .489 (23-for-47) with four home runs and 21 RBIs. Carter slugged .915, adding eight doubles to go along with the four round trippers. Carter tallied 19 runs and 43 total bases and sported a .569 on base percentage by drawing 10 walks to only four strikeouts.

Out of the 13 games played in the month of March, Carter tallied multi-hit games in eight of them including out-bursts of three or more four times. In six of the games the senior drove in two or more runs and crossed the plate multiple times. Carter's highlight of the month included a 3-for-4 performance from the plate with a career-high five RBIs and four runs scored. Two of the three hits left the yard.

Young Smashes His Way Into The Books: Senior Preston Young is rapidly moving up the SMC career home run list. Young added another prodigious blast against LMU this past weekend to put his career total at 23. His 23 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. Albert Richmond (1976-78) sits at second all-time with 25.

Gallagher Rising: On top of every double senior infielder Delaney Gallagher records atop the all-time doubles mark, the senior is also rising in other career marks. Currently Gallagher sits in third in hits with 213, compiling two this past weekend, including a home run. James Mouton is atop the list with 274. Gallagher moved into fifth this past weekend in total bases with 293, passing Bryan Byrne. Mouton also holds the career mark with 428.

Home Cooking: Saint Mary's continues to stay hot at home establishing an 11-4 mark at Louis Guisto Field. With the 11 wins, SMC tied last years win total at home and there is two months remaining in the season. The 11th win came in a 5-4 victory over Utah.

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 and another named Player of the Month. 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. Senior Sam Carter was named POM for March for his outstanding play.

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: The Gaels will play their last game of the homestand on Tuesday, April 18 against Bethany College. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field. SMC will then head to the Pacific Northwest to face WCC foe Portland for three games. The first of three is scheduled for Friday, April 21 at 3 p.m. from Harry A. Merlo Field.