Rams Fall to Rensselaer in Heartbreaking Loss

Tom Heeman
Tom Heeman

Rams Fall to Rensselaer in Heartbreaking Loss

#3 Rensselaer - 7, #6 Farmingdale State - 6

Auburn, N.Y. - The sixth-seeded Farmingdale State Rams (26-17) fell in their first game of the NCAA Division III baseball regional tournament hosted by Itchaca College at Auburn's Falcon Park. The third-seeded Rensselaer Red Hawks (34-10) rallied for a 7-6 win over the Rams on Wednesday night, winning on a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth. The Red Hawks advanced to play seventh-seeded Ohio Wesleyan, who defeated second-seeded Ithaca on Wednesday night 5-3, on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. The Rams will face Ithaca in an elimination game today, Thursday, May 15th at 1:15 p.m.

Farmingdale State held a 2-0 lead after three innings, started off by a Frank Italiano single up the middle to get a man on base. After being advanced over to second by sophomore Steve Campbell, senior Luis Feliciano reached on an error for two men on with one out. Junior shortstop Brian Benvenuto walked for a bases loaded situation with sophomore DH Mike Labrozzi at the plate. Labrozzi hit a sacrifice fly to center for the first run of the game, before freshman Kevin Curtis singled to second to bring Feliciano home for the 2-0 Farmingdale edge.

Rensselaer answered back with a three-run fourth inning on five hits and one error, to pull ahead 3-2.

In the sixth, the Rams rallied back with three runs. Sophomore Frank Ennis led off the inning with a single to right and was brought home with an RBI triple by sophomore Don Moscatelli. Moscatelli scored the second run of the inning on a RBI groundout by sophomore Zak Nersesian for the 4-3 Farmingdale lead and Benvenuto would bring in the third run with a fielder's choice RBI, scoring Italiano from third base...5-3 Rams after six innings of play.

With the rain coming down hard, the game was stopped for a 51-minute rain delay with the Rams leading 5-3 in the middle of the seventh, but Rensselaer scored three seventh-inning runs, to take a 6-5 lead. Sophomore closer Billy Garofalo was called upon in the bottom of the eighth, where he faced three batters and struck out two, to hold Rensselaer at 6-5.

Farmingdale rallied to tie it at 6-6 in the top of the ninth, taking advantage of Rensselaer’s fourth infield error of the game. Pinch-hitter Anthony Mazzilli reached on a one-out error and pinch-runner sophomore Ray Levan moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Curtis.

But Rensselaer was not finished yet, as sophomore Patrick Reardon singled with one out in the top of the ninth, bringing home junior Mike Giacoia, who was pinch-running for junior third baseman Jim Devine (who singled with one out). Giacoia moved to second on a single by senior right fielder Dan Valentine before Reardon’s game-winning single.

Reardon finished with four hits, including a double. His fourth hit of the night made a winner out of junior Andrew Novick, who threw 3.2 innings of one-hit relief.

Junior right-hander Tom Heeman (Valley Stream, N.Y./Hewlett) went 6.1 innings, allowing four runs and striking out five. Freshman Drew Dallanegra faced four batters in 0.1 innings and junior Mike Gionesi went 0.1 innings, facing two batters to retire Rensselaer in the seventh. Garofalo suffered just his second loss of the season, going 1.1 innings on four hits and two K's.

Curtis finished 3-for-5 with two RBI's to lead the Rams.