The baseball team will begin their defense of their 2011 Big East Championship Title as the No. 3 seed in this year’s Big East Championship.
The Pirates (33-22, 17-10 Big East) clinched the No. 3 seed in the double-elimination tournament with a 5-4 victory in the rubber match of their series against the St. John’s Red Storm this past weekend.
The first obstacle of the Pirates’ title defense is No. 6 seed and in-state rival Rutgers on Wednesday. In March, the Pirates dropped two out of three to the Scarlet Knights.
Junior Jon Prosinski, probable starter for the opening game of the Big East Championship, won the only game of the series for the Pirates against Rutgers.
Prosinski shut down the Scarlet Knights, the second ranked offensive team in the Big East, by throwing nine shutout innings and in the process lifting the Pirates to a 3-0 win.
The Pirates could not keep the Rutgers bats at bay during the remainder of the series, however. The Pirates pitching staff would allow 19 runs over the next two games.
The game against Rutgers will be an offensive-minded team against a pitching and defensive-minded team.
The Scarlet Knights are an offensive threat, placing second in the Big East in batting average, slugging percentage and runs scored.
The Pirates, however, rank third in the Big East in earned run average, second in strikeouts, and third in fielding percentage.
For the next game, to take place on Thursday, the Pirates will play either No. 2 St. John’s or No. 7 Notre Dame, depending on the result of both games.
The Pirates took a series on the road at St. John’s this past weekend, including two extra inning games.
Probable starter for the second game, junior Ryan Harvey, gave up four runs on 11 hits in six innings of work against St. John’s on Friday.
Harvey was not credited with a decision, because senior Benny Mejia gave up the game-winning run in the 12th inning.
The Pirates defeated St. John’s, 4-2, to win the 2011 Big East Championship.
In early April, the Pirates swept Notre Dame for the team’s first Big East Series win of the season.
In the game Harvey pitched against Notre Dame, he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. Harvey did not earn the win, as Seton Hall scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
Against the other teams in the Big East Championship, the Pirates hold an 11-7 advantage.
The Pirates have won the season series against every team in the tournament except for losses to No. 5 Connecticut, No. 6 Rutgers and No. 4 USF-who the Pirates didn’t play.
At neutral sites this season, the Pirates have a record of 4-5.
The Pirates game against Rutgers will be the first game of the Big East Championship, beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
If the Pirates win, their next game will be at 1p.m. on Thursday against the winner of the St. John’s and Notre Dame game.
Should the Pirates lose, they will play the loser of St. John’s and Notre Dame in an elimination game at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Both games will be at Bright Field House in Clearwater Fla.
Check thesetonain.com for game recaps of Pirates games in the Big East Championship.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at Thomas.email@example.com