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Baseball Continues WCC Play on the Road

April 24, 2006

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This Week in Gaels Baseball: The Saint Mary's baseball team (23-16, 8-4 WCC) will continue on the road this week to face West Coast Conference rival Santa Clara (22-18, 4-7 WCC) in a weekend series. SMC will open its WCC series against SCU on Friday, April 28 at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday start times are slated for 1 p.m. with all three games scheduled to be played at Stephen Schott Stadium.

Scouting Santa Clara: The Broncos will host Stanford before welcoming the Gaels to Stephen Schott Stadium. SCU currently holds a 22-18 overall record and sits at 4-7 in WCC play. The Broncos are coming off a conference series victory over LMU. Santa Clara dropped game one 10-3 but rallied to take the series on the strength of 11-8 and 4-3 wins. Offensively the Broncos are led by Matt Long and Daniel Nava. Long leads the team with a .367 batting average while Nava follows at a .350 clip. Eric Newton has supplied the punch with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs to go along with a .290 batting average.

On the mound, Matt Wickswat leads the team with a 2.57 ERA and a 6-2 record. Wickswat has fanned 40 in 56 innings pitched. Daniel DeMarco has solidified the bullpen with a 3.95 ERA and a 5-2 mark. In his 22 appearances, DeMarco has struck out 33 in 41 innings pitched and has posted one save.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's senior first baseman Orben Frederick had a stellar week for the Gaels. The senior led all batters with a .526 average (10-for-19) and five runs. Frederick also knocked two doubles and tallied three RBIs. Senior Corey Madden also put together a solid week for SMC. Madden improved to 6-1 on the season after holding Portland to just three hits in seven innings of work. The senior struck out nine and only walked two to improve to a perfect 3-0 in conference action.

History in the Making: Saint Mary's has won five in a row and are 10-2 in its last 12 games. The 23 wins on the year is the best total since the Gaels won 24 in 1994. With one more win it would become the best season since 1991 when SMC finished 32-25. The Gaels sit in first place in the WCC with an 8-4 record and have been getting the job done on the road with a 6-3 mark in conference play.

Carter Mashing: Saint Mary's senior outfielder Sam Carter went deep three times last week including a multi-home run game against Portland. Carter now has a career-high 10 on the season and 24 for his career. Carter became the first Gaels to hit double-digit home runs since Jason Waugh belted 14 in 2002. The single season record is 15 held by James Mouton and Jeff Herbert.

Bash Brothers: Saint Mary's senior outfielders Preston Young and Sam Carter are both mashing the ball and quickly rising up the SMC career home run list. Both players have tallied single season bests and continue to slug majestic home runs. Young and Carter are now tied for third all-time with 24 home runs apiece. Carter smashed three home runs last week while Young added one of his own. Carter now has 10 on the year while Young sports nine. Albert Richmond (1976-78) sits in second with 25 home runs and James Mouton is the career leader with 34.

Gallagher Rising: On top of every double the all-time two-bagger leader records, the senior is also rising in other career marks. Gallagher moved into second place in hits all-time with 222. His five hits last week moved him past Mark Teahen and Jason Waugh. James Mouton is atop the list with 274. Gallagher is tied for third all-time with Deron Johnson in total bases with 309, tallying nine last week. Mouton also holds the career mark with 428.

RBI Machine: Senior outfielder Sam Carter has catapulted into the top three all-time in runs batted in. Carter has driven in 45 in just 39 games which moved him into a tie for second all-time with Jason Waugh at 127. James Mouton is the all-time leader with 147. The single season record is 57 by Chris Gaeckle who accomplished the feat in 1985.

Home Cooking: Saint Mary's continues to stay hot at home establishing a 15-5 mark at Louis Guisto Field. With the 15 wins, SMC blows past last years win total of 11 at home and there is two months remaining in the season. The 15 home wins is tied for the fourth best home win total in the modern era at Saint Mary's. The Gaels won 21 at home in 1977 and 1985 and 19 in 1981.

Another 20 Wins: Saint Mary's recorded its 20th win on the season for the second consecutive year. The Gaels earned the victory with a 3-1 win over Bethany College Tuesday afternoon. The 20 wins in 36 games is the fastest that mark has been reached since the 1994 team accomplished the feat in 35 games. In just his third season at the helm, head coach Jedd Soto has reached 20 wins twice, making it two years in a row.

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 three 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 and POW 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 return home for a seven-game homestand. The Gaels will open their week with a non-conference game against Cal on Tuesday, May 2 at 2 p.m. SMC will then host Bay Area rival USF in a weekend WCC series. The first of three games is scheduled for 3 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field.