Walk-off losers

Needing to win their last series against the Cincinnati Bearcats, the Pirates lost two out of three games and fell just short of the 2009 Big East Championship Tournament.

Going into the series against the Bearcats, Seton Hall was ranked seventh in the field of 12, with the top eight teams making the tournament in Clearwater, FL.

The Hall entered play against Cincinnati after taking a series win against their in-state rival Rutgers the weekend prior.

Originally scheduled for May 16, the final game of the regular season for the Hall came as the second game of a doubleheader due to a forecast of inclement weather in Cincinnati.

With the score tied at four in the top of the ninth inning, the Pirates got a lead-off single by Chris Affinito, who was then pinch run for by Ed Brown.

Following a sacrifice bunt and a ground out, Brown reached third with two outs.

Charlie Rivera, who earned the start at first base, hit an RBI single to center to give the Pirates a 5-4 lead.

Pitching in his fourth inning of work, Henry Warner gave up a lead-off double to Lance Durham and an RBI single to center to Cameron Satterwhite, enabling the Bearcats to tie the game.

Despite drawing two walks in the top of the tenth, the Pirates could not score on Cincinnati reliever Jake Geglein.

Matt Singer replaced Warner to pitch the tenth inning for the Hall. After getting the first two outs, Singer gave up consecutive singles to T.J. Jones, Chris Peters and Lance Durham, the latter of which was a game-winner.

This was the second time in the series that the Bearcats won in their last at-bat.

This loss for the Pirates dropped them to ninth in the Big East standings and out of the conference tournament field.

Joe DiRocco made the start for the Pirates in the contest but could not get out of the third inning, giving up four runs on five hits.

Seton Hall had gotten off to a promising start on the afternoon, however. In game one of the doubleheader, the Pirates had a 6-2 lead before Cincinnati evened the score after the sixth inning.

In the top of the eighth, A.J. Rusbarsky led off with a double to left center and Mike Rogers followed with a walk.

They would both score on a Frank Esposito two-run single up the middle, giving the Pirates an 8-6 victory.

Sean Black made the start for the Pirates, throwing 5.2 innings and giving up five earned runs.

Pitching in relief of Black, freshman Collin McGowan earned his first win in his Pirates career, throwing 1.1 innings of one-hit ball.

A day earlier, in game one of the series, Keith Cantwell made his first series opening start of the season.

He received a no-decision in his 6.2 innings of work, giving up only five hits and three runs.

The Pirates took a 4-3 win in the top of the eighth inning on two RBI singles by Esposito and Chris Fontenelli.

In the bottom of the inning, Matt Singer gave up an RBI single to Durham to tie up the game.

After the Pirates were shut down in the top half of the ninth, the Bearcats loaded the bases with one out.

T.J. Jones hit an RBI sacrifice fly to centerfield to win the game for Cincinnati, giving Singer his third loss of the season, after throwing two innings and giving up two runs.

Despite missing the 2009 Big East Tournament, the Pirates still had five players named to the All-Big East team.

Cantwell, also named the NJCBA Co-Pitcher of the Year, and Affinito were named to the All-Big East First team.

Black and Matt Smedberg were named to the All-Big East Second team, and Singer was named to the All-Big East Third team.

This was the highest amount of Pirates named to the All-Big East teams since 1995 when the Pirates also sent five players including future major leaguer Matt Morris.

Seton Hall finished the year with a record of 25-24, 13-14 in conference play.

Timothy LeCras can be reached at timothy.lecras@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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