South Orange, N.J. – The Seton Hall softball team dropped the first two games of its Big East-opening series against DePaul on Saturday, 3-2 and 6-1, at Mike Sheppard Sr. Field.
Reganne Camp got the ball for the Pirates in the first matchup, pitching all seven innings while giving up two earned runs and striking out four. The sophomore held the Blue Devils to just five hits on the afternoon, while stranding eight runners on base.
“Camp’s best part of her game is her mental game,” head coach Paige Smith said. “Anytime something goes wrong, whether it was a pitch that she believes she missed, or a play that we should of made, she immediately says, ‘I’ve got you.’ It’s the coolest thing, because, you just know she’s going to put the whole team on her back and just get after it.”
Seton Hall struck immediately in the first game, with leadoff hitter Janae Barracato knocking a home run over the right field wall in her first Big East at-bat. The Pirates then tacked on their second run of the inning, and their final run of the game, with a Hailey Arteaga single that scored Payton Beaver.
Despite taking the early lead, the Pirates could not hold on, as the Blue Demons scored runs in the top of the second, fourth, and sixth inning, to pull out the 3-2 victory.
It was DePaul’s turn to score first in the second half of the doubleheader, as with two outs and a runner on first in the second inning, Skylor Hilger got the Blue Demons on the board with a two-run home run off of Seton Hall starter Madison Strunk.
After DePaul scratched across one more run in the inning, Strunk settled down and kept the lead at three. Strunk finished the day with five innings pitched and three earned runs.
Combined with the final six innings from the first game, Seton Hall struggled to produce offense, as the Pirates were held scoreless for 11 consecutive innings.
“We have to swing at strikes,” Smith said. “I’m baffled, because, we had one of our best practices of the year yesterday and don’t swing at pitches out of the zone in practice.”
Barracato did not have to wait long for her second Big East home run, as the freshman again provided a powerful spark, hitting a solo shot to cut the DePaul lead to 6-1. It was Barracto’s fourth home run of the season.
“The thing that I love about [Barracato] is that she’s always adjusting,” Smith said. She had a couple bad at-bats in both games, but she waits and pounces when she gets a pitch she wants. She shows maturity well-beyond a freshman.
Despite the two setbacks today, Smith is eager to get back on the field tomorrow for the team’s series finale against DePaul.
“We’re a young team and we’re making some immature decisions right now,” Smith said. “I’m really excited about tomorrow because the thing about immaturity is that you can only go up from there.”
The Pirates will look to get their first conference win tomorrow, with first pitch against the Blue Demons set for 11 a.m.
Nick Santoriello can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NickSantoriello.