Pressure on as Hall fights to make playoffs
The Seton Hall baseball team will look to keep its playoff hopes alive this weekend as it opens up a three game series against Big East foe Pittsburgh on Friday at Owen T. Carroll Field. The Pirates, at 16-24-1 (5-13), find themselves tied for ninth place in conference and three games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Big East tournament.The Hall only has nine games remaining against Big East opponents. The team managed just eight runs in their three previous games in Tampa against the University of South Florida. “It feels good to get some momentum going and to get guys feeling good about themselves,” head coach Rob Sheppard said. “Especially going into a conference weekend.” The win snapped a two game skid for the Pirates who will have their work cut out for them in the coming weeks. Seton Hall will continue what is to be an eight-game home-stand this weekend when they host Pittsburgh. The Panthers come into the weekend ranked third in the Big East with a 13-4 record and have won seven of their last eight games in the conference. Their past wins include sweeps at Villanova and West Virginia respectively. In those contests Pittsburgh averaged an incredible eleven runs per game. As a team the Panthers lead the Big East in team batting average, on-base percentage, total bases, runs scored, RBIs, doubles and total bases. Their .370 team batting average is more than 30 points greater than the next closest competitor. Junior infielder Joe Leonard leads Pitt and the Big East with a .452 average and 57 RBIs. Cory Brownsten and John Schultz also crack the Big East’s top 10 in batting average at .394 and .392 respectively. The vaunted Panthers line-up will put Terhune, recently named Big East Pitcher of the Week junior Joe DiRocco and the rest of the Pirates staff to the test this weekend. As a staff, the Hall has yielded an ERA of only 4.26, good enough for fourth in the Big East. The bats will also need to continue to heat up for Seton Hall as senior Michael Rogers is the only everyday player hitting above .300 (.324). Friday marks a pivotal point in the season for the Pirates as their playoff hopes hang in the balance. From the Pitt series the team will take on in-state rival Rutgers in another weekend series.They round out their home-stand with a game against Fordham. The Pirates, however, are not looking ahead. “We have to stay focused and just play one game at a time,” Sheppard said. “We have to take care of our own stuff.” The Pirates will begin that on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Zachary Cziryak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.