Hall hosts Huskies as tournament approaches
Following their series win at Pittsburgh, Seton Hall has won six of their last seven games and now have two series left in the regular season. On Thursday, the Pirates will travel to Connecticut to face the Huskies in an afternoon doubleheader. Head coach Ray Vander May credited the team’s slow start to playing multiple road games earlier in the season.”We’ve just improved from the beginning of the year to the end of the year,” Vander May said. “In the beginning of the year you play all of your games away, there’s no magical secret to it.”Connecticut comes into the series following two road series losses against both Syracuse and Providence.Ranked tenth in the conference is Connecticut. Despite the difference in rankings, both teams have overall records of 19-24.The Pirates are 15-33 all time against the Huskies.The Huskies have only won one series against an in-conference opponent this year. They took two out of three games against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights earlier this month in a series at Piscataway. Last season, Connecticut swept a doubleheader against the Hall. The Pirates were outscored in both games by a combined total of 13-5.Connecticut’s offense has been led by junior middle infielder Julianne Towers. She is leading the Huskies in almost every offense category, with nine home runs, 26 RBI’s, and a .349 batting average. Towers is also leading the team in doubles with 13.On top of that, Towers is fourth in the Big East in slugging percentage with a .639 mark, and fifth in the conference with 52 hits.On the mound, freshman pitcher Kiki Saveriano has been the dominant force for Connecticut. She is eighth in the Big East with a 2.40 ERA, tenth with a .234 opposing batting average, and is tied for eighth with Seton Hall’s Ashley Forsyth with 11 wins.”The Connecticut games are big,” Vander May said. “I look one game at a time and one series at a time. The Big East takes precedence over everything.”Following their doubleheader on Thursday, the Pirates will return home for their final Big East series of the season against the Providence Friars this weekend. The Friars come into the series currently ranked directly under the Pirates in the conference standings in seventh place with a 7-9 record, having played just one less game than the Hall.Providence travels to Rhode Island for a quick game before arriving in South Orange. Currently, the Friars have won four of their last six.Junior middle infielder Justine Stratton and sophomore outfielder Michelle Huber have carried the Friars’ offense thus far in the season. Both are ranked one and two in the team categories of batting average, slugging percentage, hits, home runs, and total bases.Sophomore pitcher Alicia Grosso is the team leader in wins with eight, ERA’s with 2.22, and win-loss percentage with .615.Both of these series lead into the Big East Championship, which consists of the top eight teams in the conference. As it currently stands, if the regular season was to end right now, the Pirates would make the tournament. “The Big East is pretty strong this year and has done well out of the conference,” Vander May said. “Especially the top teams, it is very competitive.”Nicholas Parco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.