Hall baseball to face USF in conference series

The Seton Hall baseball team (14-15, 4-5) will continue their Big East Conference play at Owen T. Carroll with a three game series against the University of South Florida starting Friday at 6 p.m.

The Pirates’ most recent conference series was against the Red Storm of St. John’s last weekend. The Pirates lost first two games of the series, but won the final game by a score of 6-3.

“We just need to take it one game at a time,” head coach Rob Sheppard said. “Not to sound cliché, but that’s the truth.”

So far this season, it has been the pitching that has kept the Pirates in most games.

The pitching rotation is led by senior Joe DiRocco, who has posted a 4-0 record in eight appearances this season. His 1.23 ERA is good enough for third in the Big East.

“He has really done a really good job of setting the tone for the rest of the pitchers,” Sheppard said.

“He set the tone for what we expect our starters to do.”

Sophomore infielder, Mike Genovese, leads the Pirates with a .337 batting average. He is tied for the team lead in RBI’s with 14 alongside junior outfielder Dale Anderson.

The University of South Florida comes into the series with a record of 15-16 and a 5-4 record within the Big East Conference with wins against Rutgers, Villanova, and West Virginia.

The Bulls’ pitching ranks first in the Big East in strikeouts, with senior Randy Fontanez’s 48 strikeouts are good enough to rank fourth in the Big East.

Closing pitcher, senior Kevin Quackenbush, has an ERA of 0.96 and 31 strikeouts in 18.2 innings of relief. His six saves rank third in the Big East.

“We just got to an approach from an offensive standpoint to really battle every at bat, especially with two strikes,” Sheppard said.

The Bulls offense if powered by junior first basemen Todd Brazeal, who is hitting .282 on the season. Brazeal leads the team with eight doubles, three home runs, and 25 RBI’s.

Following their series against the Bulls, the Pirates will remain at home for one game against the Bears of the New York Institute of Technology.

The Bears have a record of 6-17 overall and a record of 2-2 against their competition in the East Coast Conference.

Senior infielder, Jeffrey Valdez, is the power to the Bears’ offense. He leads the team with a .376 batting average, four home runs, and 13 RBI’s.

The pitching staff of NYIT is led by sophomore Tom Cardona and freshman John Duggan, who have each posted a 1-3 record to date.

Duggan leads all starters on the team with a 4.25 ERA in five starts. Cardona leads the team with 22 strikeouts in 32 innings.

“We got to continue to play baseball mid-week as well, regardless of who we are playing,” Sheppard said. “We will be ready to play them as well.”

Joe Sorensen can be reached at joseph.sorensen@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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