Lack of pitching key in loss
The Pirates’ rally fell short when they left the tying run on third base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 7-6 loss to Wagner on Wednesday at Owen T. Carroll Field.
Seton Hall (13-17) trailed 7-4 going into the inning before senior outfielder Michael Rogers walked and senior outfielder Chris Spanguolo singled to put runners at first and second.
Junior catcher Frank Esposito followed with a RBI single to cut the deficit to 7-5, and junior Sean Gusrang’s sacrifice fly made it a one-run game.
But junior A.J. Rusbarsky ended the game on a fly ball to center field with Esposito stranded as the tying run on base.
Head coach Bob Sheppard said he was proud of his team’s ability to fight back from deficits.
“The guys have done a really good job of showing some resilience, coming from behind and coming back,” Sheppard said. “It started last week with our game against Farleigh Dickinson University when we came from behind and won and the walk-off win on Sunday well. It is stepping in the right direction; you’ve got to be proud of guys battling through adversity.”
Starting pitcher freshman Rick Mangione could not make it out of the first inning, allowing two earned runs in two thirds of an inning on four hits, one walk, one hit batsman and a wild pitch.
Freshman Greg Terhune took Mangione’s place and provided the team solid relief until the sixth inning.
In the inning, Terhune allowed three runs with two outs and took the loss.
Senior Matt Singer finished the game allowing two runs, one earned, in three and two-thirds innings.
“We need to get better starts from our pitchers during the week,” Sheppard said.
Freshman outfielder Scott Kalamar got the Pirates on the board with a RBI double in the second inning and later scored on a wild pitch that tied the score at 2-2.
Senior second baseman Chris Fontenelli and freshman third baseman Giuseppe Papaccio each had an RBI in the sixth inning to almost tie the game back up.
However, Rogers made the final out with the bases loaded.
Wagner (13-13) received a solid start from their starting pitcher, freshman Christian Rautenstrauch, who pitched five and two thirds innings allowing four runs, three earned.
Wagner’s leadoff hitter, senior outfielder Damian Csakai, led the team with two RBI’s.
Sophomore third baseman Tommy Higgins had the RBI single in the sixth inning that put Wagner ahead for good.
Sheppard did not point out any single turning point in the game.
“We had some opportunities to score some runs,” Sheppard said. “But I think it was just when you play one run games you, there are a few points in the game where you stop and say you could have done this you could have done that, there’s no specific incident.”
The loss concludes a stretch of games that has seen the Pirates go only 2-3.
Seton Hall fell to Rider 8-7 on Tuesday before the loss to Wagner.
Despite a five run third inning in which Gusrang hit his second home run of the season, Rider’s offense was too much for the Hall’s pitching.
Sheppard said his team now has plenty of experience in close games.
“I think we’ve been battling hard, it’s been really tight,” Sheppard said. “I think the guys have shown some resiliency to keep on battling back all the way to the last out. You’ve got to be putting in an effort for that and guys are doing that. We won by one Sunday, we lost by one yesterday and today, so we just have to keep battling hard.”
After a 10-9 loss to Big East rival Cincinnati on Friday, Seton Hall rallied to win the next two games of the series 4-1 and 4-3 (11 innings), respectively.
The Pirates will be back in action Friday in a return to Big East play against Notre Dame. The game starts at 6 p.m. at Owen T. Carroll Field.
Joshua Jongsma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.