The Seton Hall Pirates softball team will conclude its regular season this weekend in a three-game series against the Georgetown Hoyas at Mike Sheppard, Sr. Field.
The Pirates are coming off of a loss in their non-conference finale against Hofstra. Prior to that the blue and white came away with a series win against Butler taking two of three from the Bulldogs.
With a record of 22-26 and 8-9 in Big East play Seton Hall will face a Georgetown team with a record of 14-30 and 4-12 in conference play. Despite Georgetown being at the bottom of the conference head coach Paige Smith will prepare her team as she would for any other opponent.
“You can’t take anyone too lightly in our conference, and I think you’ll notice that by the fact that with the exception of the top two teams everyone is jumbled in the middle.”
One player in particular that coach Smith noted that they would have to game plan for is Georgetown starting pitcher Megan Hyson.
“They have a senior pitcher in Hyson who is always a force to deal with…She’s a good rise ball pitcher, she likes to keep people off balance a little bit by throwing some off-speed stuff outside, not so much of a change up more of a curve ball,” she said.
Coach Smith has confidence in her offense’s ability and will look for them to get ahead early. Seniors Danielle DeStaso and Sara Haefeli will look to make an impact in this series as they have all season. DeStaso is batting .331 on the season with 11 homeruns to go along with her 10-12 record in 33 appearances on the mound for the Pirates. Haefeli is hitting .303 on the year to go with 13 home runs that is good for third in the Big East. Junior utility player Yasmin Harrell leads the Big East in hits with 55 and boasts a .337 batting average.
However it is a freshman that is rewriting the record books in South Orange.
Freshman phenom Alexis Walkden has already broken the Seton Hall single season home run record with 20 on the year. Walkden leads the Big East in home runs, RBI, runs scored, and total bases.
“I know which pitches I like to hit so I just go up looking for a pitch that I can make solid contact on obviously not for a home run, base hits are always what you look for,” she said.
Walkden mentioned that her individual accolades are just a part of the team’s success.
“I think we’ve been doing fantastic. We’ve had some tough losses against some tough teams, but all together we’ve come through when we really needed to and my individual play just helped accomplish that.”
There is a lot at stake for Seton Hall in their regular season series finale. The Pirates currently sit third in the Big East standings and just a half-game ahead of Butler and Villanova who are tied for fourth place. The top four teams in the Big East standings qualify for the 2015 Big East Tournament and the Hall control their own destiny.
It will be the final home stand for the graduating seniors. They will be honored on Senior Day on Sunday May, 3. Coach Smith had praise for the group.
“They’ve been playing well all year. They are the heart and soul of the team… They’ve been awesome to watch.”
The series against Georgetown will begin on Saturday, May 2 with a double header. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m with game two set to start at 2:30 p.m. The regular season finale will be on Sunday, May 3 starting at 12 p.m.
Matthew Zeigafuse can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @mattzeigafuse