The Seton Hall softball team will return to Essex County Mike Sheppard, Sr. Field this Saturday as they begin a three-game series against their Big East rival Connecticut Huskies.
The Pirates enter the series with a 4-11 conference record and a 16-25 record overall. The team lost their last game to the University of South Florida Bulls on Tuesday.
Despite the loss to USF, the team recently hit a stride, taking the first games against Syracuse which set offensive records for the Hall.
The 16 runs scored against the Orange in the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday set a school record for most runs scored ever in a Big East game and tied the school’s single game record for runs in any game.
First-year head coach Paige Smith said that teams usually take three to four years to get used to a new coach but she feels the team has already adapted.
“We’re hitting our stride now,” Smith said. “It took the girls getting to the point that their used to the plan and executing it.”
One area that coach Smith feels the team has improved is hitting.
“They (opposing teams) can’t just worry about one hitter anymore,” Smith said. “We don’t just have one hitter hitting .300, we have multiple. It’s hard to prepare for us.”
Junior Maria DeLuca has been hitting well lately for the Pirates, smashing her 5th home run of the season against USF on Tuesday and recently being named to the Big East honor roll for hitting .467 last week.
The Huskies enter the series against Seton Hall with a Big East record of 6-10 and a 22-22 record overall. The Huskies recently swept a series against St. John’s University which was followed by two consecutive losses to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The Huskies are led by senior outfielder Marissa Guches who comes in with a .357 batting average along with 46 hits, and 4 home runs, and 31 runs batted in.
On Tuesday, the Huskies dropped a doubleheader to Notre Dame by a combined score of 17-1.
Connecticut will be playing a single game against Albany on Thursday at home.
“We are going to be really well prepared,” said sophomore pitcher Danielle DeStaso. “I think we will come out and get the wins we need.”
Despite their Big East record, Smith said she believes the team will be a challenge for the Huskies this weekend.
“I feel great as a team going into this weekend,” Smith said. “I feel like we might be making UConn a little bit nervous. We’re turning heads.”
The Pirates will begin their series against the Huskies this Saturday with a double-header. First pitch is set for noon. The series will finish on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Courtney Hnasko can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.