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Baseball Continues West Coast Conference Play

April 12, 2007

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Baseball Game Day: The Saint Mary's baseball team (16-16-1, 0-6 WCC) will return home and face LMU (14-22-1, 2-4 WCC) in a West Coast Conference series this weekend. The first contest of the three-game set is scheduled for Friday, April 13 at 3 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field. The two teams will square off on Saturday and Sunday with 1 p.m. start times.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's freshman Michael Cipolla is taking full advantage of his increased playing time. The newcomer 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.

Last Time Out: Saint Mary's got the bats going with eight runs down in San Jose but it was not enough as the Gaels dropped their eighth straight in an 11-8 decision against the Spartans. Six Saint Mary's batters tallied a multi-hit game which included a combined seven hits from freshmen Anthony Aliotti and Michael Cipolla.

Berl Battling: Freshman hurler Brandon Berl has been impressive for the Gaels as of late. In his last four starts the newcomer sports a 2.16 ERA with 21 Ks in 25 innings pitched. Berl was dueling with preseason All-American Brett Hunter down in Pepperdine and threw well against WCC Pitcher of the Week Josh Romanski last weekend against USD.

Record Watch: 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 four 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.

Scouting LMU: The Lions enter Moraga with a 14-22-1 overall record and a 2-4 conference mark. LMU is coming off a Tuesday win over San Diego State. LMU took down the mid-week matinee by the score of 3-1. On the season the Lions are batting .281 and showcase a 5.21 ERA.

LMU is led offensively by Eric Farris and Angelo Songco. Farris paces the team with a .366 average, 22 RBI and 19 stolen bases. Songco follows with a .323 average and 16 doubles. Sean Dovel leads the team with five home runs and is tied for the team lead with 22 RBI. Brad Meyers has been the ace of the squad with a 3.68 ERA and 56 Ks in 73.1 innings pitched.

Versus The Lions: The two programs have met 122 times since 1971 with LMU holding an 83-39 advantage. LMU holds a slight advantage at Louis Guisto Field with a 30-26 mark. The two teams met last season in Los Angeles with the Gaels taking two of three from the Lions. LMU won the last contest 7-1 on April 9.

Bench Notes: Head coach Jedd Soto has had some options coming off the bench during conference play. Collectively pinch-hitters have combined for a .412 batting average and four RBI in 17 at-bats. Freshman Michael Cipolla leads the way with a .600 mark off the bench. Four other Gaels follow with a .500 average.

WCC Leaders: As a team the Gaels rank second in the conference with a .300 batting average. The Gaels sport a couple league leaders as the team continues conference play. Senior Eric Cattoni leads the league in runs scored with 41 and stolen bases with 22. Freshman Anthony Aliotti paces the conference with 26 walks and a .478 on base percentage. Sophomore Joel Staples is third in home runs (6), and second in slugging percentage (.561) and third in RBI (34). Freshman Randy Wells is second in the conference with a .381 batting average.

Home Sweet Home: The Gaels continue their conference homestand with 13-6-1 record. With four more wins at home Saint Mary's will eclipse last year's win total of 16. In 2006 the Gaels sported a 17-12 record.

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.

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 Time Out: Saint Mary's will remain at home for a Tuesday matinee against UC Davis before heading up to the Pacific Northwest for a conference series against Gonzaga. The Gaels host the Aggies at 2:30 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field.