Pirates became opponents on Cape
Three players from the Seton Hall baseball team competed in the most prestigious collegiate summer league this offseason and look to bring the lessons they learned there back to the Pirates.
Junior Brian Gilbert, Jose Lopez and Ryan Sullivan spent some of last summer playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League, which is considered by baseball analysts as the best collegiate summer league in the country.
Many major leaguers played on the Cape while in college, including Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey and Seton Hall alumnus Craig Biggio.
Gilbert played the whole summer on the Cape, while Lopez and Sullivan were called up from other leagues mid-season. Both Gilbert and Lopez played for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, while Sullivan played for the Wareham Gatemen.
The two teams were the most successful teams in the league, with the Red Sox winning the Cape League Championship over the Gatemen.
“Just knowing that no matter what happened that Seton Hall was bringing home a Cape championship on either side, that was cool for the school and cool all together,” Sullivan said.
Gilbert finished the season with a 2-1 record, one save and a 6.57 ERA. In one outing in the playoffs he pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts and a walk.
“The previous school ball season I didn’t really pitch that well, so going up there I was playing with the best of the best, I didn’t know how I was going to fair out,” Gilbert said. “Then I got up there and I had a really good outing and another really good outing and I saw that I could pitch against these guys, I can compete with the best of the best.”
Sullivan went .237 on the season with 11 runs and four RBIs. In the playoffs he batted .217 with three runs.
Lopez went 1-1 in three outings with three strikeouts and a 10.80 ERA.
Gilbert said he thinks that the summer will help his play this season. It also helped to redefine his role in the pitching staff this season, after starting for most of last season.
He came out of the bullpen for the Red Sox, and has been the closer for the Pirates so far this season. After a rough season for the Pirates last year, and with the uncertainty of his role with the Red Sox in the beginning of the season, Gilbert said he built a lot of confidence through his performance against the best players in the nation.
“Granted I had a few outings there where I did struggle, but those outings made me stronger and allowed me to pitch smarter, become a better baseball player,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert said he took advantage of the time with his temporary teammates and listened to their measures for success.
“Just the experience with those guys made me a better player, better person,” Gilbert said.
Seton Hall will send Gilbert and Lopez back up there this upcoming summer, along with Sal Annunziata and Zack Granite.
Brandon Biskobing can be reached at Brandon.firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be found on Twitter @WSOU_Bisko.