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Baseball Returns Home For Four Games

May 2, 2006

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This Week in Gaels Baseball: The Saint Mary's baseball team (24-18, 9-6 WCC) will return to the friendly confines of Louis Guisto Field for the remainder of its regular season schedule. The Gaels will open their week in non-conference action with California (22-22, 8-10 Pac 10) before facing conference rival San Francisco (28-19, 9-6 WCC). SMC will play Cal on Tuesday, May at 2 p.m. and open its weekend West Coast Conference series against USF on Friday, May 5 at 3 p.m.

Scouting Cal: The Golden Bears defeated rival Stanford on Monday by the score of 4-3. The Bears are currently 22-22 on the year and 8-10 in Pac 10 action. Cal is coming off a series victory over UCLA but fell to WCC foe USF at AT&T Park 7-6. Offensively the Bears are led by Allen Craig. In 43 starts this season, Craig is batting .369 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs. Brennan Boesch has supplied the punch with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs on top of his .278 batting average.

On the mound, Cal is led by starter Brandon Morrow. In 12 starts, Morrow is 7-2 with a 1.59 ERA with 85 Ks in 85 innings pitched. Opposing batters are hitting a paltry .200 while Morrow has added a complete game. Matt Gorgen has been solid out of the pen with a 1.85 ERA in 24 appearances. Gorgen has fanned 26 in 34 innings and posts a 3-4 record.

Scouting USF: The Dons will host UC Davis before making the short trek to Moraga. USF is coming off a series victory over San Diego and a non-conference win over Cal. Offensively the Dons are led by Joey Railey. In 46 starts, Railey is batting .348 with 10 doubles, one home run and 21 RBIs. Stefan Gartrell is batting .341 and leads the team with 49 RBIs and .500 slugging percentage. Lucas DeLong leads the Dons with six home runs and has chipped in with 19 RBIs and a .231 batting average.

On the hill, Cole Stipovich leads the Dons out of the pen with a 1.62. In 17 appearances, Stipovich has tallied a 2-1 mark and a save on top of striking out eight in 16 innings. Aaron Poreda has been the top starter for USF. Poreda is 5-4 with a 2.12 ERA in 13 starts. Poreda has fanned 58 in 85 innings and has tallied a complete game.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's senior second baseman Mike Harris has been on fire in WCC play and last week was no exception. The senior leads the Gaels with a .352 batting average on 19 hits in conference action. Harris has added seven runs and two doubles with a home run and nine RBIs. Last week, the senior batted .500 with a run, a double and two RBIs. Senior reliever Dan Lewis has been sizzling on the mound for SMC. Lewis nailed down the win against Santa Clara with a three-inning, six strikeout, no-hitter. Lewis leads the conference with a 0.90 ERA and has held conference batters to a .152 batting clip.

The Race Is On: With six games remaining in the regular conference season, the top of the WCC standings is a log jam. The Gaels are currently tied with USF for second place and trail Pepperdine by only a game. USD and LMU loom two games back of Pepperdine in third. Second place will be sorted out in the short term this weekend when SMC and USF face off. Pepperdine will head up to Gonzaga while LMU will be idle and USD hosts Santa Clara.

If a tie-breaker were to occur for a chance to be in the WCC championship series, the head-to-head record against the other tied team, or, if more than two teams are tied, the combined record against the tied teams will determine the participants. Only regular season conference games will be considered in the tie-breaker. If a tie still exists, compare the won-loss record against the other teams in the conference based on descending order of finish. If a tie still exists, run differential shall be used to break the tie.

D-Lew Dealing: Saint Mary's senior hurler Dan Lewis had an exceptional month of April coming out of the bullpen for the Gaels. The Sacramento native led the West Coast Conference with a staggering 0.86 ERA in 10 appearances. Lewis put together a 2-0 mark and compiled four saves during the month. The senior struck out 17 in 21 innings pitched and held opposing batters to a meager .145 batting average.

With two more saves, Lewis will tie Ken Riensche (1985) who holds the single season record at SMC with six. Lewis moved into a tie with Don Tynon (1993-94) for third with eight after tallying a three-inning stopper against Portland. Riensche holds the career mark with 16.

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 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. James Mouton is atop the list with 274. Gallagher also move into second in total bases with 318, 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 46 in just 41 games which moved him into second all-time at 128. 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 remain at home to close out the regular season. SMC will host Pepperdine in what could prove to be the deciding series for a birth to the championship. The Gaels will open the series on Friday, May 12 at 3 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field.