It hasn’t taken junior Seton Hall starting pitcher Shane McCarthy long to cement himself as one of the best pitchers in the Big East. He led the conference in innings pitched (102.0) and strikeouts (84) last season, won six games and held opponents to a .229 batting average.
At times, he was perfect for the Pirates.
On April 15 at Owen T. Carroll Field, McCarthy tossed the first perfect game in SHU and Big East history, needing just 88 pitches to retire 27 consecutive batters, eight coming on strikeouts.
“The night of the perfect game my focus was to stay pitch to pitch instead of thinking too far ahead into the next inning,” McCarthy said. “The feeling after the 27th out was one that I will never forget, I’m honored to be a part of a sliver of Seton Hall history.”
McCarthy dominated in conference play as well, starting seven games and recording a 2-2 record, 1.41 ERA, opposing average of just .213 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 35-10 in 51 innings pitched. He credited the “family atmosphere” and the collective determination of the group for his success at The Hall.
“Knowing that your teammates love the game as much as you do and want to get better every day is huge for personal growth,” McCarthy said. “Between our culture, teammates and hardworking coaches, the program has only pushed me in the right direction.”
After his successful season last year, where he was named the Big East pitcher of the week multiple times, McCarthy was also named to the All-Big East First Team and the ACBA All-Region Second Team.
His performances also attracted attention from the Cape Cod summer league, one of the best collegiate summer baseball programs in the country. It’s partially funded by Major League Baseball, and has seen many future MLB players come through its ranks. McCarthy pitched for the Harwich Mariners, facing off against some of the top talent in the nation.
“This past summer on the Cape was unbelievable,” McCarthy said. “Facing the best college bats in the country allowed me to learn plenty about myself and things to improve on.”
In seven games, all starts, McCarthy went 1-2 with 25 strikeouts and an impressive 2.74 ERA in 39.1 innings pitched. Pitching in that kind of a league as a sophomore and still having a very successful season is impressive, and allowed for some learning opportunities for Seton Hall’s ace.
“One thing I learned was pitchers can get punished on the Cape when they do not have their best stuff or their best mix of pitches,” McCarthy said. “Rarely did a pitcher get away with a mistake all summer long.”
As the Pirates’ No.1 pitcher, there will be some pressure and expectations on McCarthy as he looks to guide the team to the top of the Big East this year.
“We are returning the majority of our pitching staff which will aim to pick up where we left off last season and continue to improve,” McCarthy said. “Personally, my goal each time I take the mound is to put my team in the best position to win. Our team will be competitive all year long. We expect a successful season ahead.”
Bobby Bevilacqua can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @rpb725.