MORAGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's baseball team travels to Surprise, Arizona to participate in the 10th annual Coca-Cola College Baseball Classic co-hosted by Arizona State starting Thursday. Saint Mary's will play four games taking on Oregon State, Saint Louis, Northern Illinois and Arizona State.
The tournament is a classic format, the Gaels open play against the Beavers on Thursday, March 1 at 10 a.m. PT. Saint Mary's will then play at 3:00 p.m. three consecutive days, taking on Saint Louis on Friday, Northern Illinois on Saturday and wrapping up the classic against Arizona State.
Saint Mary's enters the weekend with an overall record of 5-3 after losing yesterday's contest against San Jose State at home. As a team, SMC is off to a hot start at the plate. The Gaels are hitting .263 with 71 hits, 34 runs, 16 extra base hits, 31 RBI and 94 total bases. Compared to the first eight games last year when the Gaels were hitting .209 with 11 runs scored, 54 hits, 10 extra base hits, 10 RBI and 67 total bases.
SMC has five players hitting over .300 to start the year. Senior first baseman Troy Channing leads the team with a .367 batting average, he also leads the team in runs scored (five), hits (11), doubles (four), RBI (six) and total bases (15).
On the mound the Gaels boast a staff ERA of 2.10, in 73.0 innings pitched the Gaels have allowed 68 hits, 17 earned runs with 25 walks compared to 66 strike outs. In seven of the eight games this season a Saint Mary's starting pitcher has thrown a quality start, meaning they've gone at least six innings pitched while allowing three earned runs or less.
Junior starter Martin Agosta takes the ball for the Gaels on Thursday; he is 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA in 2012. In his last start he earned the win going eight complete innings, scattering seven hits, allowing one earned run while striking out six and not issuing a walk. Senior starting pitcher Kyle Barraclough moved up to fourth all-time with 227 strike outs when he recorded nine in the loss to BYU last Friday, he is also sixth all-time with 17 wins.
Thursday's game against Oregon State will be a home coming for six members of the Gaels squad. Darian Ramage, Chris Murphy, Kurt Jahnke, Bryce Greager, Mark Anderson and Steven Kane all call the Grand Canyon State home.
Oregon State is 5-3 this season. Offensively the Beavers are being led by freshman stand out Michael Conforto. He leads the team with a .500 batting average, two home runs, seven RBI, and a .938 slugging percentage all over six games. The Beavers will start sophomore lefty Ben Wetzler; he is 2-0 with a 7.84 ERA in two starts this season. All-time Oregon State owns a 4-2-1 record against the Gaels. The last time these two teams faced Saint Mary's defeated the defending National Champions 4-1 on February 24, 2007.
Saint Louis is also off to a 5-3 start. The Billiken's are hitting .306 as a team with three home runs and 45 driven in. Leading the team is Alex Kelly who in eight games has 14 hits, 10 runs scored, two home runs and five RBI. On the mound, Saint Louis boasts a 3.70 staff ERA, right hand pitcher Alex Alemann takes the ball for the Billiken's, he is 1-0 with a 0.68 ERA on the year. Friday's contest will be the first ever meeting between the Gaels and Saint Louis.
Northern Illinois enters this weekend with an overall record of 0-7. As a team, the Huskies are hitting .217 with 51 hits in 235 at bats. Leading the squad is Alex Klonowski who is hitting .286 with eight hits in 28 at bats, he also had one home run and four runs driven in. On the bump, NIU has a staff ERA of 7.76 they have allowed 50 earned runs in 58.0 innings pitched. Saturday's starter is lefty Tom Barry who is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA. The Gaels are 2-0 all time against the Huskies, the last time these two teams faced; SMC defeated Northern Illinois 5-2 on March 1, 2006.
Arizona State enters the week with a 5-1 record and is ranked No. 11 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. They are hitting .383 with 26 extra base hits including eight home runs. Leading the team is senior Abe Ruiz who is hitting .500, in 22 at bats he has clubbed three home runs and is slugging 1.045. On the mound the Sun Devils boast a 1.50 staff ERA. Throwing for ASU on Sunday is right hand pitcher Darin Gillies who is 0-1 with 3.38 ERA. All-time Arizona State is 5-2 against the Gaels. SMC won the last match up between these two teams, 6-4, in 2001 at Packard Stadium.
Live statistics will only be available for the Oregon State and Arizona State games, to view the live stats click on the baseball schedule page at www.SMCGaels.com. There will be no official Saint Mary's radio broadcast, however, Oregon State and Arizona State will have a live radio broadcast that is available for a fee, a link to the radio broadcast for those two games will also be available on the baseball schedule page.