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Baseball Host Portland In Conference Play

April 26, 2007

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Baseball Game Day: The Saint Mary's baseball team (17-23-1, 0-12 WCC) will return home and host the Portland Pilots (17-22, 4-8 WCC) in a three-game conference series. First pitch of the three-game set is scheduled for Friday, April 27 at 3 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's junior outfielder Kenny Fuglerud continues to shine for the Gaels after getting back into the lineup. In the last four games, the Lethbridge, Alberta native is batting .538 (7-for-13) with three runs and a RBI triple. Fuglerud has stolen a base and is slugging .692 and sports a .600 on-base-percentage as he ascends in the SMC lineup.

Last Time Out: The Gaels got back on track by beating Sacramento State for the second time this season. SMC took the road matinee by the score of 7-6 on Wednesday from Hornet Field. Senior Eric Cattoni hit a three-run bomb while the freshman hurling duo of Anthony Aliotti and Taylor Stanton combined for the win and save, respectively.

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.

Scouting Portland: The Pilots enter Moraga with a 17-22 overall record and a 4-8 West Coast Conference mark. Portland is coming off a Tuesday loss to No. 8 ranked Oregon State by the score of 10-1. The Pilots upended the USF Dons in Portland by taking two of three in a conference set. UP is batting .246 and have a 5.02 ERA. Opponents sport a .292 average and a 3.24 ERA.

The Pilots are led offensively by the bats of Chase Powell and Cory Wiltshire. Powell paces the squad with a .308 batting average and 10 doubles. Wiltshire has drilled two home runs and driven in a team-leading 18 RBI. Justin Pierce has supplied the punch with five home runs and 16 RBI. In 56 at-bats, James Allan is batting .333 with two home runs and 11 RBI. On the hill, Given Kutz is 4-4 with a 3.51 ERA and 70 Ks in 77 innings pitched.

Versus the Pilots: The two programs have met 52 times since 1966 with the Gaels holding a 31-19-2 all-time lead. The Gaels had the upper hand last season in conference play when SMC swept UP in Portland. The last meeting, the Gaels earned a 6-5 win to secure the sweep and move into first place in WCC play.

Jekyll & Hyde: The Saint Mary's baseball team just put together one of the most peculiar streaks this past 30 games. The Gaels rallied of a SMC modern-era record 14-game unbeaten streak. After experiencing the peak, SMC then dove into the valley with a 15-game losing streak. The losing skid was snapped with a 7-6 victory against Sacramento State on Wednesday.

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.

Record Watch: Saint Mary's senior Eric Cattoni moved into a tie for ninth all-time in single season stolen bases with 26. His 48 runs scored this season rank him in a tie for sixth in a single season with former Major Leaguer James Mouton. Cattoni also sits in sixth all-time in the annals with 43 career stolen bases, five away from two others in fifth.

WCC Leaders: As a team Saint Mary's ranks third in the WCC with a .284 mark. The Gaels sport a couple league leaders as the team continues conference play. Senior Eric Cattoni leads the league in runs scored with 48 and stolen bases with 26. Freshman Anthony Aliotti is third in the conference with 29 walks and second with a .459 on base percentage. Sophomore Joel Staples is fourth in home runs (6), fifth in slugging percentage (.527) and sixth 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: Saint Mary's will host Patten on Tuesday and the head into the weekend for a rivalry series against Santa Clara. The Tuesday matinee is scheduled for 2 p.m. while the three-game set against the Broncos will begin on Friday, May at 3 p.m. All games will be played at Louis Guisto Field.