Defeating nationally-ranked teams such as Miami (no. 8), Oklahoma State (no. 11), and Ohio State (no. 25), will get you votes in the national polls.
Amassing a school-record of 37 victories and advancing to the Atlantic 10 championship game by way of downing top-seeded Dayton by seven runs will keep you in the national spotlight.
This is what the 2009 Rams accomplished while putting together what is arguably the best season in Rhode Island baseball history. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to secure one of the coveted at-large bids into the 64-team NCAA tournament.
However, despite seeing their dream come to an abrupt end, what the Rams did this past season was enough to keep people talking. And to win Head Coach Jim Foster recognition as the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association’s Division I Coach of the Year (see story on page 8).Nick Greenwood, Oliver Palmer, Dan Rhault, and Eric Smith were named NEIBA All-Stars. Rhault, the A-10 Player of the Year, also was an ECAC First Team All-Star as well as an honorable mention on the All-Ping! Baseball National Team. Greenwood was an ABCA All-Northeast Region selection and became the first Atlantic 10 baseball player to earn the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Perhaps most impressive was the respect the Rams were shown in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft with a program-best with four student-athletes hearing their names called.
Smith became URI’s highest-ever MLB draft pick, the first since 2006, when he was selected 60th overall (second round) by the Arizona Diamondbacks. “It was unreal hearing my name announced,” Smith recalled. “It obviously was a dream come true—and an honor to be able to represent the URI program like this.”
Greenwood was next, going to the San Diego Padres in the 14th round (414th overall) followed by Rhault (Tampa Bay Rays, 799th overall, 26th round), and Luke Demko (San Francisco Giants, 867th overall, 29th round).
“URI baseball is a family,” Greenwood explained. “It was nice to be able to share the experience of being drafted with three of my teammates, but the excitement around it all—that’s something that belongs to each and every one of the guys. Everything we accomplished we did together as a team. The pride we all have in this program is impossible to describe.”
At press time, Smith was playing for the Missoula Osprey while Greenwood was in the Eugene Emeralds’ rotation and Rhault was on Princeton Rays’ active roster. Demko was with the Newark Bears, a member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball that is not affiliated with Major League Baseball.
Foster Recieves Honorable Mention for National Coach of the Year
Head Baseball Coach Jim Foster has been recognized by CollegeBaseballInsider.com as an honorable mention selection for the organization’s national Coach of the Year award. A native of Warwick, R.I., Foster has amassed 125 victories in just four years at the helm of the URI program. He has produced five MLB draft picks—including four this past season—and boasts the program’s highest-ever selection as junior Eric Smith was picked 60th overall in the second round of the 2009 draft. Foster also was named the 2009 New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association Division I Coach of the Year in voting conducted among the association’s 17 Division I head coaches.