Pirates look to beat Irish to end April on upswing

After a rocky past three weeks, which saw the Seton Hall baseball team post an 8-8 record, they look to end the month of April on a high note this weekend when they visit the struggling Notre Dame Fighting Irish for a three game series.

The Pirates, with an overall record of 19-19 (6-9),head into South Bend looking to take advantage of the Big East’s least effective offense.

Notre Dame is currently 5-9 in Big East play and has a .235 combined team batting average and reaching base at a clip of .313, both of which are bottoms in the conference.

The Irish make up for their lack of offensive prowess on the mound, however, as they boast the third best team earned run average in the Big East with an even 3.00 ERA to go along with a 1.23 WHIP. As a team, Notre Dame leads the conference in walks allowed, having only walked 80 batters all season which is 38 walks less than the next best team.

The Irish pitching staff is anchored by senior right-hander Brian Dupra, who leads the team with a 2.48 ERA. Despite his 2-4 record, Dupra has only allowed 19 earned runs over 69 innings pitched, while striking out 60 batters and only allowing 18 walks.

Dupra and his rotation mates, fellow seniors Cole Johnson and Todd Miller, have a combined 3.09 ERA over 192.1 innings pitched.

Seton Hall has fared almost identically to Notre Dame this season, having one of the worst three offenses in the Big East while making up for it with the second best team earned run average in conference.

On the mound, the Pirates find solitude in the performances of senior hurler Joe DiRocco, whose 1.64 ERA is fourth best in the Big East. DiRocco leads the team’s starting pitchers in most major pitching categories, including strikeouts, innings pitched, and complete games. Opponents are only hitting .198 off DiRocco this season.

Even with above average team pitching, the bats have failed the Pirates this season. Of the 15 Pirates who have played at least 10 games, only six have a .220 batting average or higher. As a team, Seton Hall only reaches base at an average of .327, nearly 30 points below the conference average.

When the bats struggle it does not go unnoticed in the record column. The Pirates are 6-14 this season when they score three runs or less in a game.

Notre Dame leads the all time series with a record of 30-12, with Seton Hall having lost the last three matchups in a row. Over the last 10 games between the two teams, Seton Hall is 4-6. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:35 pm.

After the three game set in South Bend, the Pirates come home for a non-conference bout with St. Peter’s on Tuesday. The Peacocks, who have lost nine of their last 10 games, are eighth in the MAAC and are 10-20 overall.

Their offense is evenly paced by several players, most notably junior catcher Russ Stupienski, who leads the team with a .351 batting average and a .436 on-base percentage. The Peacocks have a .263 team batting average.

As a team, St. Peter’s pitching has been their downfall this season thus far, as they are in the bottom half of the conference with a 5.02 ERA and a .282 batting average against. Despite their pitching struggles, the Peacocks allow the fewest home runs in the conference with just 10 long balls given up all season.

First pitch on Tuesday at Owen T. Carroll Field is set for 4:00 pm.

John Lopiano can be reached at john.lopiano@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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