South Orange, N.J. – The Seton Hall baseball team opened its weekend series against Villanova on Friday with an 8-2 win at Owen T. Carroll Field, improving its Big East record to 6-1, three wins back, but even on losses, with the first place St. John’s Red Storm.
A combination of strong pitching and stellar hitting propelled Seton Hall to victory. On the mound, Pirates starter Shane McCarthy pitching five strong innings, before Andrew Politi closed out the remaining four with nine strikeouts and completely hitless innings.
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“Any time your starter gives you a chance to win the game, that’s a quality start,” head coach Rob Sheppard said. “Shane did a great job of fighting through the first five innings and then Andrew just shut the door, he didn’t give them an opportunity to create anything.”
Meanwhile, at the plate, Ryan Ramiz led an offense that had 16 hits, with the senior going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Christian Del Castillo also had three hits, while Casey Dana, Mike Alescio, Tyler Shedler-McAvoy and Rob Dadona had two.
The first inning was the only time Villanova was able to get on the board, scoring two runs off a Tyler Bruno double that scored Josh Kim and David Gulati.
The second inning provided the start of Seton Hall’s offensive outpouring, which began when Alescio was propelled home by Ramiz’s double down the line in left. Dana then collected his 18th RBI, with a bunt-single that scored Ramiz and tied the game at 2-2.
Both teams struggled to get runners in and the score remained tied for three innings. Politi took over the mound for the sixth inning, relieving McCarthy, who had allowed only two runs on five hits, but was not eligible for the win. Politi quickly struck out three Villanova batters, foreshadowing what the day would be like for the veteran pitcher.
Seton Hall began to find offense in the bottom of the sixth, with Ramiz involved again. The senior Ramiz singled, before Shedler-McAvoy and Dana were walked. With the bases loaded, Del Castillo came through with a two-RBI single to left field. The inning ended with the Pirates on top, 4-2.
The Pirate’s offense continued to impress in the seventh inning, tacking on three more runs to make the score 7-2. Alescio got on base with a single to center field, before stealing second to put himself in scoring position for a Seton Hall offense that was in a rhythm. Shedler-McAvoy kept the runs going with a single, followed by expert base-running to score on a single from Dana. Connor Hood ended the inning with an RBI, putting the Pirates in a comfortable five-run advantage heading into the top of the eighth.
Another quick inning defensively left the Pirates with a big lead, which grew in the bottom half of the inning. Sebastiano Santorelli doubled to right field, while Al Molina reached first base after getting walked. With two on, Ramiz registered his third hit and second RBI of the day, as Santorelli scored on his single. The Pirates came out of the eighth inning with an 8-2 lead over the Wildcats, a lead they closed out in the ninth.
After the win, Sheppard stated consistency on offense as a key for the Pirates in this series.
“We have got to come out with a strong offensive attack and be consistent with that,” Sheppard said.
The Pirates will look to keep pace at the top of the Big East when they take the field for game two of their three-game series with Villanova. First pitch is on Saturday, April 28, at 1 p.m.
Brittany Tomore can be reached at Brittany.firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BrittTomore.