Keys to SHU baseball hitting their stride

The good news for the Seton Hall baseball team is that the Pirates enter the third weekend of Big East play with a 4-2 record in the league and will host three of their final four league series.

The bad news?

The Hall’s offense has been on and off, and the Pirates are looking for better starting pitching.

While it was a midweek contest that really doesn’t impact SHU at this point, Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Monmouth was another display of the Pirates’ offensive woes. The team left 11 on base as a whole and could not take advantage of a strong eight-inning performance from left-hander Anthony Pacillo.

Over the weekend at St. John’s, the Pirates’ offensive inconsistencies were present on Friday and Saturday. The opportunities were on the table both days for SHU, but the team only combined for 11 hits and five runs. While Seton Hall scored four runs in Saturday’s loss, they only compiled six hits. The floodgates opened in Sunday’s 19-4 victory, but the bats just can’t seem to figure themselves out.

Only one everyday player for the Pirates, Kyle Grimm, is hitting over .300. The key to regain an offensive rhythm is for the dynamic duo of power hitters D.J. Ruhlman and Sal Annunziata to start rolling. While they have combined for seven home runs this season, the two have struck out 56 times.

While the bullpen offered a bright spot last weekend, the starting rotation struggled on Friday and Saturday. Sophomore Zach Prendergast and freshman Shane McCarthy went just four and three innings, respectively, in each of their starts.

The tough transition for this year’s team is that there really is not a dominant ace in the rotation. Big East Preseason Co-Pitcher of the Year Luke Cahill made three starts early on in the season but has not been able to live up to the hype.

This weekend, Butler will pay a visit to Owen T. Carroll Field. The Bulldogs did not play in Big East action last week, but were swept in the first weekend of April by St. John’s. For a Seton Hall offense that is ailing, this weekend may be just what the doctor ordered as Butler boasts the worst team earned run average in the Big East at 5.62.

But, for what the Bulldogs lack in pitching, they make up for with the bats. Butler leads the conference with a team batting average of .283. This weekend’s showdown will feature a battle between two infielders who know how to get it done at the plate and with the leather. While Grimm leads the Pirates with a batting average of .367, Butler second baseman Cole Malloy is fourth in the Big East, hitting .368.

Friday night’s game gets underway at 6 p.m. at Owen T. Carroll Field. Follow @SetonianSports for the in-game updates.

Author: John Fanta

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