The Seton Hall baseball team looks to build off an 8-4 win over Wagner on Wednesday as the Pirates welcome NYIT for a non-conference weekend set beginning Friday.
The Pirates (22-7) aim for different results from last weekend after dropping two of three in their Big East opening series to sub-.500 Butler.
A pair of newcomers powered the Hall to Wednesday’s bounce-back win over Wagner, as freshman shortstop Joe Poduslenko (3-for-4, two RBIs) and pitcher Anthony Pacillo (six IP, three runs) set the tone.
Following three scoreless frames from Pacillo, who has asserted himself as the blue and white’s midweek starter, Seton Hall’s bats revved up.
Poduslenko brought in fellow freshman Mikael-Ali Mogues with an RBI single to start the barrage. Two batters later, sophomore center fielder Derek Jenkins ripped a two-run single back up the middle to bring in two more. The Pirates remained active on the basepaths, as Jenkins took off for third and came around to score.
That was one of four steals on the day for head coach Rob Sheppard’s Pirates, who lead the Big East with 64 steals on the season, a mark that is nearly 20 ahead of the rest of the pack. While Wagner got a run back in the fourth, junior catcher Alex Falconi jumped on a 2-0 pitch to lead off the inning.
Falconi ripped a line drive on a rope. With the wind not blowing in hard, Wagner outfielders Chris Smith and Shaun Flynn watched the ball fly over the wall.
The home run was Falconi’s first of the sea- son, bringing a blow to Wagner after the Seahawks tried to start cutting into the deficit in the top half. Smith remembered what Falconi did, answering him with a two-run shot for Wagner in the sixth. Pacillo’s day came to a close with three innings to play, as the freshman earned his third win of the season.
“Weekday games are just as important as the weekend,” Pacillo said. “I’ve loved my freshman season, and having veterans like Josh (Prevost) and Dan Ditusa on the staff has been great.”
Any remaining doubts of a blue and white win were removed when stretch time arrived in South Orange.
After sophomore center fielder Zack Wei- gel walked, junior third baseman Kyle Grimm blasted an RBI double that skipped off the left-center field wall. Grimm came around to score as the Pirates made the most of their three outs.
Freshman pitcher Zach Prendergast gave the Pirates two innings of relief work while only surrendering one run and sophomore right-hander Steve Lombardi sealed the game in the 9th with a scoreless inning.
The Pirates will play three games in two days, with Saturday featuring a doubleheader against NYIT. Right-hander and seven-time Big East Weekly Award winner Josh Prevost will toe the rubber on Friday to begin the weekend set.
“The focus was to try and look at the little things in practice this week,” Falconi said. “We tried to get too big at Butler. We need to take care of business this weekend.”
The senior allowed six runs, four of which were earned, and walked a season-high three batters as the Pirates played from behind quickly and fell 6-1 on Friday in Prevost’s first loss of the season.
The Bears come in at 1-24 and have lost ten in a row.
The Hall, which tops the Big East in batting average (.313), slugging percentage (.420) and on-base percentage (.394), will look to attack an NYIT pitching staff that currently holds an ERA of 8.35.
“Teams aren’t trying to pitch us inside,” Mogues said.
“We’re looking for pitchers to make that mistake, and we’re ready for it.”
The Pirates will get junior first baseman Sal Annunziata back after serving his one-game suspension on Wednesday that resulted from an ejection over the weekend at Butler. Junior D.J. Ruhlman is out for this weekend nursing a shoulder injury for precautionary reasons.
“We don’t want to drop any games that we shouldn’t,” Pacillo added.
“NYIT is just like any other team; we have to play our game.” First pitch between the Pirates and Bears is slated for 4 p.m. at Owen T. Carroll Field.
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