April 12, 2007
Moraga, CA- After a 14-game unbeaten streak, the Saint Mary's baseball team ran into two top-ranked conference opponents to start conference play - 8th ranked Pepperdine and 21st ranked San Diego. The Gaels look to return to form as they host conference foe LMU this weekend at Louis Guisto Field.
The Gaels were riddled by injuries during that time, adding to the challenge of the recent schedule. Tuesday night against San Jose State University, Saint Mary's was playing without three of their everyday starters.
"We are trying to rest up for this weekend to get back to conference play healthy," said Head Coach Jedd Soto.
Freshman Taylor Stanton - SMC's fourth starter and weekend closer - is getting back into game shape after a two-week layoff. He returned to form against San Diego, throwing 3.1 innings of shut out relief in Friday's contest.
Brian Justice, the Gaels projected Saturday starter this past fall, is medically red-shirting this year.
"His recovery has been great. He is working hard to return to our club as a leader on the mound and should pitch some significant innings for our staff in the future," said Soto.
The coaching staff is still positive about the team despite their starters' absences from the lineup.
"Some of our younger players are seeing some very important playing time and gaining valuable experience this year," Soto said. "But every pitch, hit and play counts, and can turn the ballgame around in a hurry."
The player that has taken advantage of the increased playing time is newcomer Michael Cipolla. The freshman is batting .500 (7-for-14) with four runs scored and three RBI in his last five games played. Cipolla got the start at second base at SJSU and took care of business with the bat. The De La Salle product batted 4-for-5 with three runs and a RBI.
"I am looking forward to having all of our options available for LMU this weekend," Soto said.
The Gaels continue in conference action this weekend against Loyola Marymount this Friday at 3:00 pm at Louis Guisto Field.