It was a rough weekend for the Seton Hall baseball team, as they were swept in a weekend series against conference foe Xavier after losing both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader each by a score of 10-6.
After a loss on a rainy Friday night at Owen T. Carroll Field, the Pirates entered Saturday looking to pick up two important wins against Xavier, a team currently above them in the Big East standings.
In game one of the doubleheader, the Musketeers touched Pirates starter Zach Prendergast up for two runs in the first inning. However, the Pirates would answer with 5 runs over the next three innings to take a 5-2 lead.
Joe Poduslenko and Derek Jenkins had a two-run single and a two-run double, respectively, to carry the Pirates offense in the early going.
Things began to come apart in the fourth inning, where Xavier plated four runs to take a 6-5 lead. Xavier did the same damage in the fifth inning as the put up four more runs, all of which were charged to Pirates reliever Zach Schellenger, who struggled to throw strikes as he walked two batters and hit two batters as well.
The Pirates would add one more run in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Matt Fortin, but lefty reliever Brad Kirschner was able to shut down the Seton Hall offense out of the bullpen for Xavier. Kirschner logged 6.2 innings of relief for the Musketeers to end the game, giving up one run and striking out six while picking up his fourth win of the season in Xavier’s 10-6 victory.
Zach Prendergast took the loss for the Pirates, dropping his record to 4-6 on the year.
Game two of the doubleheader was more of the same, as Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead after three innings. The Musketeers were able to chase Pirates starter Matt Leon from the game after just 1.2 innings.
The score remained the same until the seventh inning, when the Pirates offense tried to mount a late comeback. The Pirates scored two runs in the seventh on RBI singles from Brett Fontenelli and Mike Caputo, and added on three more runs in the eighth to make it a 9-5 game entering the 9th. Xavier and Seton Hall each put up runs in their half of the 9th as Xavier won game two, also by a score of 10-6.
“I just think overall we didn’t play well enough to win. A lot of credit has to go to Xavier coming here to sweep us,” head coach Rob Sheppard said postgame.
Pitching was a problem in both ends of the doubleheader for the Pirates, as neither starter was able to reach the 5th inning, however, Coach Sheppard was not ready to place all the blame on the pitchers for the back to back losses.
“When you’re not doing your job in the field and you can’t help your pitchers then that creates additional opportunities for the other team and that’s what we did. I think over the weekend we left 27 guys on base. Averaged 9 runners on base and if you’re not driving them in you’re not scoring runs. It was a combination of everything.”
The Pirates now drop to 5-7 in conference play and will play a midweek home game this Wednesday against Rider before they welcome in St. John’s next weekend for an important three-game series. Coach Sheppard will try to keep his squad focused as the season winds down.
“We can’t look forward to St. John’s. We gotta get ourselves going in the right direction and maybe start at practice and carry it over to the game against Rider. Once we start feeling good about ourselves again then we can start to prepare ourselves for St. John’s.”
Matthew Ambrose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org