Baseball ready for cellar dwellers
Following a failed attempt at a ninth inning comeback against Wagner College, the Seton Hall baseball team will look at Notre Dame this weekend as a chance to move forward.
“We’ve been battling hard,” head coach Rob Sheppard said. “The games have been really tight.”
Notre Dame (11-19) most recently beat Chicago State 6-4 on Tuesday after going 2-1 last weekend in a series against Rutgers.
The seniors of the Fighting Irish came through for all of the offense against Chicago State. Infielder Ryan Connolly, first baseman Casey Martin and outfielder Brayden Ashdown, combined to drive in all six runs.
A two-RBI double from Ashdown put the Irish up by two in the fifth inning, a lead that was insurmountable for the trailing Cougars in the remainder of the game.
Ashdown also smacked a two-out RBI base hit in the third inning, which gave him a career-tying three RBIs and seven in his last five games.
After the Cougars scored three times in the top of the fifth, Notre Dame delivered the three hits consecutively to regain and preserve the lead.
In Notre Dame’s five games prior to the one against Chicago state, they have been led by Connolly and Frank Desico in the hitting category. Connolly has maintained a .450 average while Desico achieved a .429 average.
Connolly and infielder Mick Doyle both lead the team with two home runs so far this season.
Desico entered the Rutgers series with a team-best five-game hitting streak. As of April 12, Martin and Connolly are both batting .354.
After pitching 45.1 innings, Brian Dupra (2-2) has an earned runs average of 5.56. Steve Sabatino has an earned run average of 6.57 after 38.1 innings pitched.
For the Pirates, senior Michael Rogers leads with a .320 batting average.
Junior A.J. Rubarsky has 16 RBIs on the season and is hitting .252 with a slugging percentage of .426.
Red shirt senior Chris Fontenelli is hitting .278 and Frank Esposito has 13 RBIs thus far this season.
Red shirt sophomore pitcher Benny Mejia is 2-1 on the season with an ERA of 3.50.
Junior Joe DiRocco (4-3) has seen the most time on the mound with 43 innings pitched and an ERA of 4.40.
Freshman Jon Prosinski is 1-2 with an ERA of 3.68 after pitching 36.2 innings.
Notre Dame comes is 11-19 overall, 3-6 at home, 3-7 on the road, 5-6 in neutral territory, and 2-7 in the Big East.
The Fighting Irish opened their season by sweeping Mississippi State Valley in a three-game series on the road. They went 4-2 in their next 6 games, with wins coming against Penn State and Stetson.
They also recorded victories against Bradley, Gonzaga, Ball State, Georgetown (going 1-2 in series), Oakland, Rutgers, and Chicago State.
Seton Hall is 11-6 at home, 1-9 on the road, 1-2 on neutral sites, and 3-7 in the conference.
The Pirates lost their first five games of the season before they notched a win against Northwestern on Feb. 28. Their other wins include games against William & Mary, NJIT (one in seven innings), Stony Brook, Iona, CCSU, Monmouth, West Virginia, Army, Farleigh Dickinson, and Cincinnati.
“The guys have shown some resilience to keep battling back all the way to the last out,” he said.
Gabrielle Kiger can be reached at email@example.com.