After being rained out on Saturday afternoon, the Seton Hall baseball team showed no signs of rust as it defeated Villanova in the first game of its Mother’s Day doubleheader by the score of 2-0. Due to time constraints, the game was only seven innings long.
For the Pirates, starting pitcher Cullen Dana went the distance and earned a complete game shutout. Dana featured an impressive stat line, as he allowed a mere four hits, struck out eight batters and had only one walk which came in the first inning.
Seton Hall was able to get the offense going in the second inning, as Al Molina drew a walk and Mike Alescio singled to right field to start the inning. The Pirates then used sacrifice bunts to their advantage twice, first moving Molina and Alescio into scoring position and then to bring Molina home. On the squeeze play, Mike Caputo picked up the RBI.
Dana threw a one-two-three inning in the bottom of the second, allowing for the top of the Pirates order to quickly get back in the batter’s box. Ryan Ramiz reached base for the second time on the day to start the inning, drawing a leadoff walk against Villanova starting pitcher Hunter Schryver. Ramiz then used his speed to steal second base two batters later.
With two outs in the third and Ramiz in scoring position, Matt Toke gave Seton Hall some insurance by driving home Ramiz with a single to center field. The run gave the Pirates a two-score cushion, which proved to be more than enough for Dana.
The Wildcats did challenge Dana in the bottom of the third, but their attack was thwarted, albeit in an odd manner. The first two Villanova batters, Timothy Lilly and David Gulati, both singled off Dana. However, Lilly was picked off at first and Gulati was caught stealing before the Wildcats could do any damage. Dana then got the final batter of the inning to ground out to first. It was an unconventional inning for Dana and the Pirates, but not one that will receive any complaints.
The third inning marked the end of the scoring in the game, although Seton Hall came close to extending its lead on multiple occasions.
The result puts the Pirates one win away from clinching their seventh consecutive Big East Tournament berth. The four-team tournament which begins on May 25 in Omaha, Neb. already had the top three seeds: Creighton, St. John’s, and Xavier locked in going into the day.
Kevin Kopf can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @KMKTNF.