After completing its first three-game series sweep of the season this past weekend against Butler, the Seton Hall baseball team failed to extend its winning ways on Tuesday, as the Pirates were defeated by the NJIT Highlanders, 10-4, at Owen T. Carroll Field.
Dylan Verdonk got the start for the Hall, following a one-inning outing on April 18 against Monmouth that left him frustrated. In that outing, the junior Verdonk allowed three earned runs and four hits. In what was his first start of the season on Tuesday, Verdonk endured similar struggles.
Highlanders leftfielder Jesse Uttendorfer led off the top of the second inning with a double, followed by a single from Matt Cocciadiferro. With two runners on base for NJIT, Michael Anastasia made the most of his at-bat and drilled a three-run homerun to right field, giving NJIT a 3-0 lead. With the bases clean, David Marcano sparked another run-scoring chance with a walk and stolen base. Justin Etts then drove Marcano in with a single to left field to take a 4-0 lead.
The Pirates retaliated in the bottom of the second, with a triple by Ryan Ramiz that scored Mike Alescio. Ramiz later scored on a passed ball by NJIT catcher Paul Franzoni.
The Highlanders tacked on two more runs in the third and fourth inning, before breaking the game open in the sixth inning, against Seton Hall freshman right-hander Sean Miller.
Miller was the fourth pitcher that Seton Hall used during the game, a game in which the Pirates, ultimately, went through seven different arms to get through the nine frames. The first five pitches thrown by Miller were called for balls, as he walked and gave up a double to the two batters he faced, before getting pulled from the game.
Ryan McLinskey entered in relief for Miller and gave up a two-run single to Marcano, which scored the inherited baserunners from the freshman. In the following at bat, Uttendorfer smashed the ball off of the top of Rob Dadona’s glove at second, and the hit scored Marcano.
The most batters the Hall had at the plate in one inning was limited to six, and Chris Villa’s solo-shot in the fifth frame was one of few sparks in the Pirates’ offense throughout the game.
Seton Hall head coach Rob Sheppard conceded after the game that both the defense and pitching had a part to play in the letdown performance.
“There were some plays that might have not been called errors, but I think we could have done a better job defensively to back up the pitching, but, a couple of those guys were way too hittable,” Sheppard said.
The head coach also said that, looking forward, consistency will be one of the biggest challenges.
“Anytime, in any part of the season, you need to be consistent,” Sheppard said. “We played really well this weekend for three games, and then today we just didn’t show up the same way, so, you just want to be consistent Monday through Sunday, and that’s what we got to do.”
The Pirate’s next game will be on Friday, April 27, the first game of a three-game weekend home series against Villanova.
Andrea Keppler can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @keppler_andrea.