May 19, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - The Florida Atlantic baseball program salutes seven seniors playing their final home game of their careers on Saturday, May 19. The senior class was the first recruiting class for current Head Coach John McCormack. The group has been a part of two regular-season Sun Belt Conference championships and an appearance in the 2010 Gainesville Regional.
Our first honoree is the Owls' student manager Andy Poole, who graduated earlier this spring with a degree in business. Poole has been a valuable asset to the program since arriving in 2010, assisting the ground crew, organizing postgame meals and charting pitches in the stands at home games. These are important tasks that may go unnoticed by the average fan, but they're greatly appreciated by the players and coaching staff.
Senior pitcher Josh Gonzaga has appeared in 36 games in his two-year career on the mound in Boca Raton. Josh posted a 4-3 record with two saves in 22 appearances last season.
Senior pitcher Mike Tomasi transferred to FAU from Seminole State College and has been a member of the team since 2010. The Boca Raton native made his FAU debut earlier this season, tossing an inning against Princeton.
Senior Alex Hudak has been a standout player in his two years at FAU. The outfielder has been among the top hitters in the Sun Belt Conference, being just a few points shy of winning last year's batting title with a .360 average. He earned second-team All-Sun Belt honors in his first year in the league. Hudak began his senior campaign on a high note, hitting four home runs and earning conference Player of the Week accolades after leading the Owls to a three-game sweep at Alabama. He missed the middle of the season because of an injury, but is rounding back into top-notch form heading into postseason play. The Mount Dora native has batted .338 during his FAU career with eight home runs, 25 doubles and 58 RBIs in just 90 games.
Another fan favorite is senior Ahmed Garcia. His high kick delivery and competitive fire challenge opposing hitters. He started his final season by winning last fall's Iron Owl Award competition. Last July, the left hander became a United States citizen after his family left Cuba when he was 11 years old. After speaking little to no English upon entering America, Garcia has went on to graduate from FAU with a degree in economics. He was honored during this year's commencement ceremony. On the field, Ahmed has appeared in 71 games in his career. He has been a big contributor to the Owls' success this season, posting two victories, two saves and having a career-best 2.51 earned run average.
Our next senior is another mound ace, pitcher Ryan Garton. After coming to Boca Raton as a pitcher and outfielder, Ryan has been a fixture on the FAU pitching staff. He started the third conference game of the 2010 season and has been the Owls' No. 1 starting pitcher ever since. The New Port Richey native has won 21 games in his career, including nine this season. Garton ranks among the league leaders in wins, earned run average, innings and strikeouts. He has played a key role in two conference championship teams.
And finally, the program honors emotional leader, Mike Albaladejo, Abby's love for the game has truly made him a fan favorite during his four years in Boca Raton. His leadership abilities were evident when Mike changed position from catcher - where he had been a three-year starter - to play second base for most of this season. Albaladejo ranks 10th in program history in games played, 11th for games started and will end his career 12th in school history in total at-bats. He has compiled a .303 career batting average, played in 199 games and will record more than 200 hits in his career.