Baseball wins Big East Championship
Winning the Big East Conference tournament for the first time since 2001, the Seton Hall baseball team earns a spot in the NCAA Tournament with a 4-2 win over the St. John’s Red Storm.
In the conference tournament the Pirates went undefeated in four games to bring their record to 33-23 on the seasons and extended the Hall’s winning streak to eight.
At the beginning of the season the baseball team was picked to finish in 11 place out of 12 teams in the Big East conference preseason coaches’ poll, but finished the regular season in fifth place.
Starting on the mound for the Pirates in the championship game was senior Joe DiRocco who has been the ace of the pitching staff all season. DiRocco pitched six innings allowing only one run while recording four strikeouts.
In relief the Hall’s bullpen allowed one run through three innings of work, with sophomore Ryan Harvey picking up the save.
The offense for the Pirates went as freshman Zack Granite went, as the lead-off batter reached base in each of his first three at-bats with a hit and two walks.
In each of those plate appearance Granite was the led off batter in the inning and ended up scoring a run.
The Hall took the lead in the bottom of the first inning and held it the rest of the way. Granite singled up the middle to start the inning and moved to second with sophomore Mike Genovese laying down a sacrifice bunt. Senior Sean Gusrang brought in Granite with a double down the right field line giving the Hall a 1-0 lead.
The Pirates extended their lead to 2-0 in the third inning with Granite walking to start the inning and stealing second base with Genovese batting. After Genovese poped out, Gusrang advanced Granite to third with a long out to center field. Granite would score on a wild pitch by St. John’s sophomore Kyle Hanson.
With DiRocco pitching, the Red Storm loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the fifth inning and scored their first run on a sacrifice fly to left field which scored freshman Kevin Grove from third. However, DiRocco got sophomore Pat Talbut to ground into a double play to end the inning, allowing only the one run.
In the Pirates half of the inning Granite once again led off the inning drawing a walk, and advanced to third on a balk and another Genovese sacrifice bunt. With Granite standing on third, the Hall loaded the bases with one out on a Gusrang walk and junior Dale Anderson being hit by a pitch.
After a pop out from sophomore Giuseppe Papaccio, senior AJ Rusbarsky hit a single to junior Joe Panik at short, to score Granite but the throw from Panik to first got past senior Paul Karmas to allow Gusrang to make the score 4-1.
In the eighth inning, the Red Storm cut the Hall’s led in half on a two out single to leftfield off the bat of freshman Rowan Wick, but that would be all St. John’s would be able to get, with Harvey recording a strikeout to end the inning.
Harvey finished the game on the mound getting sophomore Robert Case to ground out to second base with runners on second and third to end the game.
The win assures the Pirates a spot as one of the 64 teams that make the NCAA Tournament field. The Hall will be placed in a four team regional, which will be announced on Monday, May 30 at 12:30 on ESPN. The tournament begins play on Friday, June 3.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org