The Seton Hall softball team looks to build on a split doubleheader versus Villanova as they hit the road ito play the Long Island University Blackbirds at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday in Brooklyn, New York.The Pirates are 4-10 on the road this season, while the Blackbirds are a perfect 4-0.LIU has proved to be a tough non-conference opponent for Seton Hall, beating them in four out of their last five contests. The lone Seton Hall win came last season in a come from behind performance which they wound up winning, 3-2. “They are a tough looking opponent on paper,” head coach Ray Vander May said. “We’ve fared well against them in the past. In order to beat them it comes down to pitching.”Vander May said he will pitch junior Katie Stilwell and freshman Hannah Hill in the doubleheader to give them some innings to help with their mechanics as well as hitting their spots. Stilwell is 3-7 with a 4.96 earned run average and Hill is 0-2 with a 9.00 earned run average. Stilwell and Hill will face an aggressive LIU offense that is batting .280 for the season.The Blackbird offense is potent with six players having 12 or more RBIs on the season. “We can’t overlook them,” senior pitcher Ashley Forsyth said. “We need to pitch our game. We’re working on getting ahead in counts.”Seton Hall will need a strong performance at the plate to compete with the LIU pitching staff’s 2.78 ERA. The Blackbirds are led by senior Blaine Porter’s 15-5 record and 2.47 ERA. After the doubleheader, the Pirates plays host to the Georgetown Hoyas for a three game series this weekend. Game times are slated for noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. on Sunday. The Hall has not lost to the Hoyas in the past two seasons, posting a 3-0 record. They have outscored Georgetown 17-3 in the three contests. “We need our pitching, hitting and fielding to come together,” Forsyth said. “There are natural ups and downs of a season but were improving each day. We are confident in where we are.” Georgetown’s pitching staff and their 3.30 ERA looks to slow down the improving Seton Hall offense that has outscored their opponents 17-8 in their last five games. The Hall is led by sophomores Kristen Kaelin and Nicole Loewenstein. Kaelin is batting .349 with three home runs and 20 RBIs. Loewenstein is equally impressive with a .338 batting average with five homers and 20 RBIs. “What’s happened is we’re not getting the big hit when we need it,” Vander May said. “That’s when people write about you. That’s when people remember you.”The Pirates will look to Forsyth to limit the production from Georgetown’s two biggest threats sophomore pitcher/third baseman Mackensey Carter and senior infielder Demetria Cipriano. Carter is batting .377 with two homers and 19 RBIs while Cipriano is batting .375 with 24 RBIs. Georgetown is currently ranked fifth in the Big East while Seton Hall is twelth. Colin Rajala can be reached at email@example.com.
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