Softball aims to stay perfect in conference play
Coming off a Big East opening series sweep over Providence, the Seton Hall softball team hits the road this weekend for a three- game set with Villanova.
The Pirates (9-20) outscored the Friars over the weekend, 23- 8, and look to continue their latest offensive surge behind junior Danielle DeStaso. She hit .700, tallying her fourth home run of the season and garnering a spot on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll.
Following the Pirates’ 5-0 victory in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, DeStaso earned a victory on the rubber for the Pirates, throwing five innings while only three Friars came across to score in what turned out to be an 11-3 Seton Hall victory.
While DeStaso made her presence felt throughout the weekend, Seton Hall was also led by senior pitcher Jen Metzger in the circle. She allowed just one run in 4.2 innings in Sunday’s 7-5 triumph. For head coach Paige Smith’s Pirates, it was the first conference opening series sweep since 2005 and the first sweep in league play in four years.
Villanova will be coming off a doubleheader against Quinnipiac on Thursday, as the Wildcats stand at 8-15 after being swept over the weekend by the George- town Hoyas.
Villanova managed to fall be- hind 7-1 and 9-1 in each of the first two games. The Wildcats have nobody hitting over .300 for them, with sophomore outfielder Shea Palmer hitting .273 and slugging .291.
“We’re not letting pitchers control our at-bats,” Seton Hall lead- off hitter and right fielder Yasmin Harrell said after the Pirates’ sweep over the weekend. “This offense’s aggressiveness has been great, and our pitching has gotten better with leads.”
Harrell is hitting .365 on the season and has 11 of the Pirates’ 31 steals on the season. On the defensive side, a difference maker for the blue and white has been sophomore center fielder Sara Haefeli. Haefeli has 29 outfield putouts with two defensive assists and just one error.
“Her move to being the leader of our outfield has been so critical,” Smith said.
After only recording six wins in nonconference play, the Pirates stressed how rewarding and relieving it is to carry momentum into Villanova.
“Just having a clean slate is huge,” Harrell said. “We can throw out some of the lows, which I think will be good for us in the long run.”
Saturday’s doubleheader at Villanova begins at noon with game two following.
The Pirates play the Wildcats in the series finale Sunday at noon, looking to keep the Big East surge rolling.
John Fanta can be reached at email@example.com.