With the regular season winding down, the softball team swings into sixth place in the Big East with their series win against Pittsburgh.
The Pirates split the double-header with the Panthers (24-20, 8-8) on Saturday.
Seton Hall dropped the opening game 2-1 to the Panthers, but had a chance to score.
Junior Nalin Bennett hit a double, and moved to third base after a sacrifice hit by sophomore Kristen Kaelin.
Pittsburgh walked junior Brittany Schillizzi and the Pirates loaded the bases with only one out after freshman Brittany Hammer reached first base via fielder’s choice.
Sophomore Nicole Loewenstein hit a groundball to third, but the Panthers forced an out at home for the second out.
Before you knew it, the inning and the game ended with a strike out.
“Even though we lost the first game against Pitt, it was a very close game,” Hammer said. “I think we just kept that momentum throughout the weekend.”
Seton Hall rallied back in the second game on Saturday, winning 8-2.
In the third inning, the Pirates scored three runs after Kaelin hit a two-run homer to left field.
Pittsburgh bounced back in the bottom of the fifth inning by scoring on a solo homerun to cut the deficit to three.
“It made it really intense,” Hammer said. “We’d get runs and then all of a sudden, they’d come back and score a couple runs to cancel it out. It just kept us on our toes. We could never really just sit back and coast through the game. We had to keep going the whole way through, making sure we got runs, like insurance runs, each inning.”
The Pirates put the game out of reach for the Panthers in the top of the sixth when junior Jamie Gates blasted a three-run homer, making the score 8-1.
Pittsburgh delivered a late rally, but it was not enough. Seton Hall won 8-2.
In the deciding game on Sunday, the Pirates (19-24, 8-9) had their mind set on winning from the first pitch.
In the first inning, Seton Hall loaded the bases, but the Panthers delivered a force out at home to keep the Pirates off the scoreboard.
That is, until Hammer stepped up to the plate and hit a single to bring Bennett home.
Pittsburgh, however, was able to tie the score in the bottom of the second.
The fourth inning is when Seton Hall really stepped up to the plate.
The Pirates loaded the bases and were able to score five runs in that inning.
Once again, the Panthers rallied back, but Schillizzi’s solo homerun in the fifth and senior Danielle Zanzalari’s pitching in the seventh inning closed the game in favor of Seton Hall, 7-5.
“All through the order, we had clutch hits,” Hammer said. “Whenever we loaded the bases, we had runners in scoring positions. It seemed like a different girl came through with the hit.”
Seton Hall looks to continue its rise in conference standings when they face Connecticut in a double header at 2 and 5 p.m. Thursday in Storrs, Conn.
Krissy Wrobel can be reached at email@example.com.