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Baseball Looks To Get Back On Track In Spokane

April 19, 2007

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Baseball Game Day: The Saint Mary's baseball team (16-20-1, 0-9 WCC) will head to the Pacific Northwest to continue West Coast Conference play against the Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-18, 6-3 WCC). The three-game series will begin under the lights on Friday, April 20 at 6 p.m. from the brand new Washington Trust Field. Saturday and Sunday start times are slated for 1 p.m.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's senior outfielder Eric Cattoni has gotten things going once again. The offensive catalyst for the Gaels is batting .318 (7-for-22) in his last seven games with a team-leading three runs and two stolen bases. Against UC Davis, the Lethbridge, Alberta native recorded three hits and swiped two bags and scored the lone run for SMC.

Last Time Out: The Gaels returned to non-conference play but were unable to get back to their winning ways. The UC Davis Aggies tallied 15 hits en route to five runs to earn the victory. SMC tallied three hits and a run with Eric Cattoni having a hand in all the offense.

Mid-Season All-America: Saint Mary's freshmen Randy Wells and Anthony Aliotti were named to the Perfect Game Freshmen Mid-Season All-America list. Wells was selected at second base as the second-ranked newcomer at his position. Aliotti was tabbed as the third best utility player in the country as he has been one of the top two-way threats on the mound and at the plate in the league.

Award Watch: Saint Mary's senior outfielder Eric Cattoni (Lethbridge, Alberta) was announced as a candidate for the baseball division of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Cattoni was among a list of 30 candidates and is the lone representative from a California institution. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the CLASS award was designed to honor the attributes of seniors who remain committed to their university.

Scouting Gonzaga: The Bulldogs host the Gaels with a 23-18 overall record and a 6-3 WCC mark. The Zags dropped their Tuesday matchup against local rival Washington State by the score of 7-4. On the season the Bulldogs are batting .278 and showcase a 4.77 ERA. Opponents are batting .287 and sport a 4.23 ERA. During WCC play the Zags possess a 3.08 ERA.

Offensively Gonzaga is led by Bryan Winston and Darin Holcomb. Winston paces the club with a .366 average and has added two home runs and 19 RBI. Holcomb sports a .343 batting average and has provided the punch with four home runs and a team-leading 29 RBI. Dustin Colclough leads the team in the long ball category with five. On the mound Brandon Harmon is 5-5 with a 3.94 ERA and four complete games. Josh Monroe has also won five games and has a 4.27 ERA. Jeremy Stumetz is 2-1 with three saves and a 2.01 ERA out of the pen.

Versus the Bulldogs: The weekend series will mark the 51st-53rd meetings between the two programs. Gonzaga leads the series 30-20 all-time. Saint Mary's took two of the three games last season from Moraga. The Zags won the last game of the series by the score of 3-2.

Record Watch: Saint Mary's senior Eric Cattoni moved into a tie for 10th all-time in single season stolen bases with 24. His 43 runs scored this season are just two away from Mark Teahen's mark of 45 in 2002. Cattoni also jumped into sixth all-time in the annals with 41 career stolen bases.

WCC Leaders: As a team the Gaels rank fourth in the conference with a .288 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 43 and stolen bases with 24. Freshman Anthony Aliotti is first in the conference with 29 walks and leads the league with a .471 on base percentage. Sophomore Joel Staples is third in home runs (6), slugging percentage (.549) and fifth in RBI (35). Cattoni is also second in triples with three.

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: The Saint Mary's baseball team will play two non-conference games in back-to-back days next week. The Gaels open the week with a Tuesday home matinee against Patten and then follow that up with a road contest on Wednesday against Sacramento State.