Baseball 2009 Preview

2008 Skyline Champs
2008 Skyline Champs

Baseball 2009 Preview

- Rams look to continue recent success into 2009 -

Farmingdale, N.Y. - Coming off their first-ever Skyline Conference Baseball Championship in 2008, the Rams and fourth year head coach Keith Osik bring back a core of starters for the 2009 campaign. Farmingdale State finished with a 26-18 record last season, as seven Rams received All-Conference honors, four were named All-Region and one received a Gold Glove Award. Five of last years seven All-Conference selections are back to lead the squad.

Senior pitcher Tom Heeman (Valley Stream, N.Y./Hewlett), an All-Conference selection the past three years and Third Team-All Region in 2008, posted a 6-4 record, a 2.07 ERA and team-leading 59 strikeouts. Heeman, who started his career in the outfield, moved into the starting rotation last season and finished the year ranked 8th in the Nation for Walks Allowed per Nine Innings (0.9) and 33rd for earned run average.

Junior pitcher Billy Garofalo (Patchogue, N.Y./Patchogue-Medford), a First Team All-Skyline selection and Third Team All-Region relief pitcher, appeared in 25 games and finished with a team and conference-leading 1.88 earned run average, while holding opposing batters to a .214 average. Garofalo recorded a school-record seven saves last year, ranking him 16th in the Nation for Saves.

Senior shortstop Brian Benvenuto (Dix Hills, N.Y./Hills West), last year's Skyline Tournament MVP, led the team in hits (53) and RBI's (32), while batting .390 in the third spot in the lineup last year. He was named First Team All-Skyline and Second Team All-Region. He finished in fourth place in the Conference for on-base percentage (.485) and fifth place for batting average.

Junior outfielder Mike Labrozzi (Sag Harbor, N.Y./Pierson), the Rams clean-up hitter, was named First Team All-Skyline and Second Team All-Region. Labrozzi led the team with a .393 batting average, and also led in doubles (11), triples (4) and homeruns (2). Among the conference, Labrozzi finished second in the Conference for triples, third for slugging percentage (.616) and fourth for batting average.

Junior catcher Zak Nersesian (Nyack, N.Y./Nyack), who was named Second-Team All-Skyline and received the ABCA/Rawling's New York Region Gold Glove Award, batted .317 last season. He finished the year with 159 putouts, 20 assists and 2 errors with a .989 fielding percentage.

With a top heavy roster of seven seniors, 12 juniors and just 11 underclassmen, the Rams will strive for an even better showing and a chance to put their team on the map with their toughest schedule yet. The 2009 schedule features contests against four of's Top-25 teams including Cortland State (#1), Kean (#7), Southern Maine (#10) and Eastern Connecticut (#13)

The Rams open up their season against New Jersey City University on February 21st with single games on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The team will then head to Orlando, Florida for the fourth season in a row to play seven games at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. This year's spring break schedule features two games against Clark (Mass.), Gwynedd-Mercy (Pa.) and Rose-Hulman (Ind.), along with one game against Point Park (Pa.).

After the spring trip, Farmingdale returns to host the 1st Annual FSC Northeast Invitational and will play Southern Maine and Eastern Connecticue. The Rams play 19-of-31 games on their home field throughout the regular season. To view the complete schedule, click HERE.