The Seton Hall softball team will host the University of Pittsburgh this weekend at Mike Sheppard Sr. Field as the Pirates get ready for the final part of their schedule.
Seton Hall is coming off a win against Siena College and a split doubleheader against Marist College. The Pirates (13-19) have just one win in conference play this season, but are looking to pick up a few more down the stretch as 14 of their last 17 games are against Big East teams.
“These next few games are huge,” first-year head coach Paige Smith said. “Right now we’re just focusing on getting ourselves into the top half of the Big East because once you get to the tournament it’s really anybody’s game.”
Senior shortstop Brittany Hammer and freshman outfielder Yasmin Harrell continue to lead the offensive attack for the Hall. Hammer and Harrell are batting a team-leading .343 and .349 respectively. Hammer has scored 20 runs to go along with 36 hits and 11 RBI on the season, while Harrell has 21 runs, 37 hits and is 18 for 20 stealing bases.
Sophomore slugger Danielle DeStaso leads the Pirates with six home runs, 25 RBI and a whopping .554 slugging percentage. DeStaso attributes her success at the plate to her clear-minded approach to every at bat.
“I have to go up to the plate with a clear mind and know just to see the ball and hit it,” DeStaso said.
DeStaso also serves as the ace of the pitching staff for the Pirates, sporting an 11-8 record and a 3.23 ERA. This year she has thrown seven complete games including a ten-inning effort against Marist College last weekend. DeStaso threw 168 pitches and struck out 14 batters to pick up the win.
The Panthers (14-20) have been struggling as of late, dropping their last seven games in which they have scored a total of five runs. Pittsburgh has a doubleheader against Penn State University on Wednesday before they make the trip to South Orange this weekend.
Freshman outfielder Tori Nirschl leads the Panthers with a .309 batting average, 25 runs, 34 hits and eight home runs. Senior catcher Holly Stevens batting .283 with seven home runs, 23 RBI and 12 walks.
Sophomore pitchers Savannah King (6-11) and Alexa Larkin (7-9) have split the workload on the mound for Pittsburgh. Between the two of them, they have combined for 20 complete games on the season.
“This week we are going to work on driving the outside pitch for extra bases because it seems like their ace likes to live out there,” Smith said.
The Pirates will also be working on executing in high-pressure situations in attempts to decrease their runners left on base, Smith said.
The two teams will meet for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 13 starting at noon. They will then conclude the series on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Mike Romano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.