SHU baseball looks to take a swing at the birds

The Seton Hall baseball team looks to climb in the Big East rankings as they take on the visiting Louisville Cardinals in a three game series, which starts this Thursday and runs through Saturday at Owen T. Carroll Field.

The Pirates currently sit in ninth place out of 12 teams in the Big East with an overall record of 20-21 and a conference record of 7-11. They are a half game back of the eight-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the last spot in the Big East Tournament.

The Louisville Cardinals are considered to be a perennial powerhouse since joining the Big East in 2005, winning two out of the last three Big East Tournaments. The Cardinals are in third place currently with an overall record of 25-18 and a conference record of 11-7.

Seton Hall has not beaten Louisville in a three game series since the 2008-2009 season when the Pirates took the first two games of the series before dropping the third game in 17 innings.

Seton Hall holds an 8-6 record at home on the season while Louisville is 7-9 on the road this season.

The three game series looks to be a battle of two of the best pitching squads in the Big East. Seton Hall and Louisville rank third and fourth in the Big East in overall team earned run averages at 2.98 and 3.03, respectively. Both teams hold their opponents to a .245 batting average, tied for second best in the conference.

Seton Hall leads the conference in strikeouts per nine innings, averaging 7.44 on the season.

Seton Hall is led by senior Joe DiRocco, who is a perfect 6-0 on the season with a team-leading ERA of 1.62. Opponents are batting .212 against the right hander in eleven games this season.

DiRocco will be expected to pitch late into the game for the Pirates. He is averaging seven innings per start on the season while pitching two complete games, second best in conference.

The support cast for DiRocco is led by sophomore Jon Prosinski. Prosinski is only 3-4 on the season but carries an ERA of 2.65, good enough for ninth best in the Big East. He has held opponents to a .241 batting average while striking out over five batters per nine innings.

The Pirates pitching staff will look to shut down and limit juniors Ryan Wright and Stewart James to win the series.

James is the power hitter of the Cardinals one-two punch. He is seventh in the Big East in RBIs with a team-leading 38. James is the conference leader in homeruns with 10.

Wright leads the team with a .331 batting average, 55 hits and 34 runs. Wright also shows long ball strength recording seven home runs and tallying 35 RBIs.

The Cardinals will look to answer Di Rocco and Prosinski with their own one-two punch. The Cardinals pitching staff is led by sophomore Justin Amlung, the Big East leader in wins and win percentage at 8-0. Amlung holds the fourth best ERA in conference at 1.64 and the third best opponent’s batting average at .191.

Amlung will be helped by junior Derek Self, who comes in primarily as a closer, occasionally pitching longer relief. Self is 2-1 in 16 appearances this season with only two starts. Self has the second best ERA in the Big East at 1.49.

The Pirates will look to their bats to battle against the tough Louisville pitching staff. The Pirates are led by senior Sean Gusrang. Gusrang is batting .307 on the season while leading the team in home runs, three, and runs batted in, 22.

Seton Hall will need quality at bats from sophomore Mike Genovese, who is leading the team with a .320 average. Genovese has helped the Pirates this season by recording 21 RBIs and scoring 15 runs.

Colin Rajala can be reached at colin.rajala@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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