Rams Capture First-Ever Skyline Baseball Championship; Advance to NCAA Tournament

2008 Skyline Champs
2008 Skyline Champs

Rams Capture First-Ever Skyline Baseball Championship; Advance to NCAA Tournament

Skyline Baseball Championship
Game 1: Mount Saint Vincent – 1, Farmingdale State – 0
Game 2: Farmingdale State – 8, Mount Saint Vincent – 4

Farmingdale, N.Y. – The Farmingdale State College Rams captured their first-ever Skyline Conference Baseball Championship today, with an 8-4 victory over third seeded Mount Saint Vincent. The Rams were the top seed in the double-elimination tournament, going 3-1 over the three days to improve to a 26-14 overall record this season. With the win, Farmingdale State received an automatic bid to the Division III NCAA Baseball Championships.

The Rams advanced to the Championship game with a First Round bye, a 4-0 win in the Second Round over #4 Mount Saint Mary and a 10-5 win over #2 St. Joseph’s in the Third Round. In today’s Championship, Farmingdale State faced #3 Mount Saint Vincent, who fell in the Second Round to St. Joe’s, before eliminating Mount Saint Mary and St. Joe’s in the Third Round for a chance at the Championship.

In the first game of the day, senior right-hander Jesse Scott (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) pitched six scoreless innings for the Rams, allowing just four hits with no walks. Junior right-hander Tom Heeman (Valley Stream, N.Y./Hewlett) relieved Scott in the seventh, and allowed the only run of the game on a hit batter with the bases loaded and two outs. Senior right-hander Jon O’Leary (Bohemia, N.Y./Connetquot) pitched a complete game shutout for the Dolphins, allowing eight hits with two strikeouts.

Due to the double-elimination format, the two teams met again to decide a Champion. In game two, Farmingdale erased a 2-1 Mount Saint Vincent lead, tying the game in the bottom half of the fifth inning when senior third basemen Luis Feliciano (Bronx, N.Y./Park West) scored on a two-out wild pitch.

The Rams took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth scoring four runs. Freshman first basemen Kevin Curtis (Riverhead, N.Y./Riverhead) started the inning with a single to right, and scored as the next batter, sophomore outfielder Frank Ennis (Commack, N.Y./Commack), doubled to left center. Ennis came around to score on a one-out RBI by sophomore catcher Zak Nersesian (Nyack, N.Y./Nyack). Junior outfielder Rich Gili (Manorville, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) had an RBI single, scoring Nersesian, and scored the fourth run of the inning on an error on the second basemen during a first and third situation.

Mount Saint Vincent closed the gap scoring two runs in the top of the seventh inning, but Farmingdale answered right back scoring two of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Junior right-hander Alex Urgiles (Brooklyn, N.Y./Xaverian) pitched a scoreless one and a third innings, and sophomore closer Billy Garofalo (Patchogue, N.Y./Patchogue-Medford) a scoreless ninth. Junior left-hander Mike Gionesi (Bellmore, N.Y./Mepham) got the win for Farmingdale, pitching a solid six innings and allowing only three runs scored.

Junior Brian Benvenuto (Dix Hills, N.Y./Hills West) was named the Tournament MVP after hitting .563 in the four playoff games and playing great defense from his shortstop position.

The NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament selections and pairings are announced on Sunday, May 11th. The Regionals are held at sites to be determined from May 14th – 19th. There are eight regional sites in the double-elimination format; the winner of those eight sites will advance to the double-elimination National Championship in Appleton, Wisconsin.