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Baseball Closes Out Regular Season

May 10, 2006

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This Week in Gaels Baseball: The Saint Mary's baseball team (26-22, 9-9 WCC) will close out its regular season schedule with a West Coast Conference weekend series against Pepperdine (33-18, 12-6 WCC). The Gaels will open the series against the Waves on Friday, May 12 with first pitch slated for 3 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field. SMC will start Saturday and Sunday's games at 1 p.m.

Scouting Pepperdine: The Waves enter Moraga tied atop the conference with San Francisco at a 12-6 mark. Pepperdine is coming off a non-conference 5-3 loss to UC Riverside on Tuesday. Last weekend the Waves took a conference series in Spokane from Gonzaga. Offensively Pepperdine is led by David Uribes. The WCC all-time hits leader paces Pepperdine with a .365 average and 22 stolen bases. Adrian Ortiz adds a .359 batting average while Chad Tracy sits at a .325 mark with five home runs and 36 RBIs.

On the hill the Waves sport a 3.46 team ERA. Paul Coleman (6-5) leads all starters with a 2.76 ERA. Barry Enright holds a 10-1 record in 15 starts and a 3.76 ERA. Pepperdine has a solid pen led by reliever Brian Ozols. In 17 appearances, Ozols has a 1.96 ERA and 16 Ks in 23 innings. Brett Hunter leads the team with seven saves and has a 2.68 ERA in 21 appearances.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's seniors Orben Frederick and Preston Young put together a good week for the Gaels. In five games, Frederick batted .450 (9-for-20) to lead the team and added two doubles, four runs and five RBIs. Young continued to hit the long ball for SMC as he added three in five games including two in one game. Young finished the week batting an even .400 (8-for-20) and added a team-leading nine RBIs and 18 total bases. He also slugged .900 and scored four runs.

Historic Season: With the doubleheader sweep over Patten University, Saint Mary's secured its best season since 1991. It has been 15 years since the Gaels have finished .500 or above and in his third season head coach Jedd Soto brings a winner back to Moraga. In each season during the Soto era the Gaels have improved by six wins and since Soto took over the program Saint Mary's has improved by 12 victories.

Senior Send-off: The series against Pepperdine could mark the last time that 13 seniors suit up for Saint Mary's. The outfield duo of Sam Carter and Preston Young along with infielders Orben Frederick, Delaney Gallagher, Mike Harris, Adam Hicks, Jake Sanders, and Tyler Selden could see their last action at the Guisto. Pitchers Joel Fountain, Corey Madden and Ian Farmer could potentially make their last starts while Dan Lewis and Chris Mezzavilla will make their last appearances. All seniors will be recognized at the baseball banquet on Sunday, May 14.

Bash Brothers: Saint Mary's senior outfielders Preston Young and Sam Carter joined rare company in the SMC annals. The duo are the first teammates since Curt Cannedy and Albert Richmond (1977) of the Galloping Gaels `Tower of Power' to belt double-digit home runs apiece. Carter has smashed a career-high 10 on the season while Young has 12. Young now has 27 on his career which ranks second all-time while Carter sits in fourth all-time with 24.

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 227. James Mouton is atop the list with 274. Gallagher also moved into third in total bases with 324, tallying six 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 50 which moved him into second all-time at 132. James Mouton is the all-time leader with 147. The single season record is 57 by Chris Gaeckle who accomplished the feat in 1985.

The Home Run King: Senior Outfielder Preston Young trails Santa Clara's Eric Newton by only one home run for the West Coast Conference home run crown. Newton has hit 13 while Young sits at 12. During conference action Young also trails Newton by one jack as the Bronco has drilled six and Young has hit five.

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 two 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. Senior Dan Lewis was named Co-Pitcher of the Month for April.

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.