One week after being swept by Notre Dame, the Seton Hall baseball team lost two out of three on the road to No. 11 Louisville. The Pirates lost the first two games of the series before scratching out a victory in the series finale.
In game three, Seton Hall was led by sophomore Will Walsh’s two RBIs and went on to win 8-6, snapping their eight game winless streak.
Walsh started a two out rally in the second inning by drawing a walk from Louisville starter Gabriel Shaw.
He proceeded to steal second base and scored on Chris Fontinelli’s RBI single.
Later in the inning, Pirates’ centerfielder Michael Rogers came through with an RBI single of his own to stretch the team’s lead to 2-0.
In the fourth inning, the Pirates struck again with an RBI groundout from first baseman Chris Spagnuolo and an RBI triple from catcher Frank Esposito.
Louisville did not score until the fifth inning, when Stewart Ijames launched his second home run of the series to cut the Pirate lead to 4-1.
In the sixth inning, the Cardinals cut the deficit to 4-2 when designated hitter Jeff Arnold scored on a wild pitch from starting pitcher Jon Prosinski. Freshman Ed Ras came into to relieve Prosinski and got the Cardinals to ground into a double play to end the inning.
The Pirates’ bats put together a four-run inning in the seventh. Walsh and freshman Giuseppe Papaccio each hit RBI singles and Walsh later scored on a wild pitch, giving the Pirates an 8-2 lead.
The eight runs were the most scored in a Seton Hall win since they tallied nine in a victory of Monmouth on March 24.
“Hitting is contagious,” head coach Rob Sheppard said. “Guys start to feel good about themselves, and I think it’ll definitely carry over to the next series.”
Senior pitcher Matt Singer gave up a two-run homer to second baseman Kyle Grieshaber and was relieved by freshman Mike Genovese.
However, Genovese game up a solo home run to the first batter he faced (Stallings) and the Pirates’ lead was cut to 8-5.
After the Hall failed to score in the top of the eighth, Genovese gave up his second home run of the game to shortstop Adam Duvall, and was promptly replaced by pitcher Ricky Mangione, who combined with pitcher Benny Mejia to close out the game.
It was Mejia’s first save of the season. Prosinski picked up the win for the Pirates, working through 5.1 innings, only allowing two runs. The Pirates improved to 4-11 in Big East play, while the Cardinals dropped to 11-4 in conference action.
In game two, the Pirates were unable to muster enough offense to back freshman starting pitcher Frank Morris, and Seton Hall fell to the Cardinals 3-1.
The Cardinals struck first in the bottom of the first inning, when after a walk to Duvall and a single by Clark, Wright was able to lift a sacrifice fly to right that scored Duvall.
The Pirates were able to respond in the fourth inning, when junior A.J.
Rusbarsky scored on sophomore Reid Pulford’s first career hit.
In the next inning, Morris ran into trouble, giving up back-to-back solo home runs to Phil Wunderlich and Stewart Ijames.
“They got pitches they could hit,” Sheppard said. “They’ve got a tough lineup, and they’re No. 11 in the country for a reason.”
In the ninth, the Pirates were able to get the tying run to the plate with one out but failed to score off of Louisville closer Neil Holland.
Morris received his fourth loss of the season despite throwing a complete game.
“Frank (Morris) did a tremendous job this weekend,” Sheppard said. “It’s great to have freshman have an impact for you, especially in conference weekends.”
In game one, the Pirates were turned back late by the Cardinals and fell by a final score of 4-2. Joe Dirocco took the loss despite pitching into the eighth inning.
“It’s good to get a quality start from your number one pitcher. It really sets the tone for the weekend,” Sheppard said.
In the eighth, with the score tied 2-2, Dirocco surrendered a one-out triple to Louisville senior Andrew Clark.
Then Wright hit a ground ball to second baseman Chris Fontinelli, who threw home to Esposito. Clark raced home from third and collided with Esposito, knocking the ball out and scoring the go-ahead run for the Cardinals. They would stretch the lead to 4-2 on an RBI double by third baseman Phil Wunderlich.
The Pirates were scheduled to face off against in-state rival Monmouth on Tuesday, but the game was postponed due to poor field conditions.
The Pirates return to action on Friday as they travel down to Tampa to play a three-game series with the University of South Florida
David Rind can be reached at email@example.com.