South Orange, N.J. – The Seton Hall baseball team broke a scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the sixth inning on Saturday afternoon and never looked back, defeating Villanova, 2-1, for its sixth straight in-conference win.
For most of the game, both teams showed tremendous effort in pitching, with only six hits registered between the sides. Pirates right-hander Ricky DeVito pitched a six-inning game, allowing only three hits during his time on the mound. After pitching a career-best eight inning shutout en–route to earning Big East Pitcher of the Week, the sophomore DeVito secured his third win of the season, as he fanned nine batters.
Renee Nunez/Staff Photographer
Leading off in the bottom of the sixth inning, third baseman Sebastiano Santorelli exhilarated the dugout with a double to right field. Two pitches later, shortstop Al Molina struck a ball to right field that gave The Hall its first run and lead in the game.
Right-fielder Ryan Ramiz joined the hitting shortly after, as his perfectly-placed bunt enabled him to reach first base safely and advance Molina to second. Centerfielder Tyler Shedler-McAvoy then doubled the Pirate lead, driving in another run with his double down the left-field line.
Seton Hall Head Coach Rob Sheppard spoke to how crucial the timely hit by Santorelli was for the team, and how it enabled the Pirates to gain momentum in the game.
“We were floundering a little and weren’t create much of an offense, he was the first leadoff hitter on base for us in an inning,” Sheppard said. “Usually, if we were getting guys on, it was with an out or two. Sometimes when you get the opposing pitcher into the stretch, he pitches a little different. Santorelli was able to recognize that and get us going in the game.”
After giving up a run in the top of the eighth inning, Seton Hall needed composure to secure the victory, and got just that from closer Matt Leon. Leon earned his seventh save of the season and 11th of his career, as he now is tied for fourth all-time in Seton Hall baseball history in saves.
The Hall is now 7-1 in conference play, its best start since 1995. The team will look to sweep Villanova in the final game of its three-game series, on Sunday, April 29. The opening pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.
Evando Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Thompsev.