This past weekend, the Seton Hall softball team kicked off its season at the Marucci Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev.
The Pirates beat Southern Utah, 2-1, in the first of the two games on Friday. Southern Utah got on the board first with a home run in the second inning by Kendall Kapitzke to take the lead 1-0, but the Pirates retaliated with a solo shot by Hailey Arteaga two innings later to tie up the game at one run apiece.
On the mound, the Pirates turned to Reganne Camp for the start. She fell into her groove after giving up the Thunderbirds’ only run and ended the day with seven strikeouts in just over four innings.
Kelsey Gumm was dealing for the Pirates in her first collegiate game and entered the game in the bottom of the fifth with two runners on and ended the inning by stranding the bases loaded.
Destini Peck eventually drove in the go-ahead run for the Pirates with a two-out RBI single which scored Janae Barracato.
Seton Hall fell 7-6 in the second game of the double-header to UNLV after a back-and-forth battle. Despite five Pirates with multiple hits on the game, they were not able to convert on their offensive efforts.
Peck continued to shine in the season-opener and gave the Pirates the lead with a two-run single to left field in the top of the third inning. However, UNLV answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-2 lead.
Arteaga and Emily Supercynski both drove in runs in the top of fifth to tie the game at four apiece, but the Rebels had other plans and broke the game open in the bottom of the frame.
On Saturday, the team faced off against Utah Valley and Long Beach State. The day did not go as expected for the Pirates, though, as they lost, 11-3 and 11-2, respectively.
The first game against Utah Valley started out well for the Pirates, as they led 2-0 after the top of the third inning. Jaden Tate drove in the first run of the game in the second inning on an RBI triple to right field. The next inning, Supercynski singled up the middle to drive in Hailey Arteaga, but things went south for the Pirates after that.
Utah Valley scored two runs in the bottom of the third to tie the game and then three more runs the following inning to make the lead 5-2.
Seton Hall tried to claw back as Peck hit a single to left field in the fifth inning to drive in Arteaga, but that would be the last time the Pirates scored that game. With the Pirates down 5-3 and the game still in reach, Utah Valley exploded for six runs in the sixth inning to run away with the game.
Unlike the first game, the second game did not start out well for the Pirates.
Seton Hall found itself down 2-0 in the second inning before Long Beach State went for five runs in the third inning to extend its lead to 7-0. The Pirates scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the third on a groundout by Barracato.
Long Beach State only scored one run the fourth inning, which Seton Hall matched with a run of its own in the following fifth inning. That inning, Darby Pandolfo doubled to collect the first of two hits on the day for the Pirates. Long Beach State scored two more runs in the sixth inning before the game finally ended, and thus ending a rough day for the Pirates.
The only other Pirate to collect a hit during the game was Baylee Allender.
In the third game of the tournament on Sunday, the team defeated North Dakota, 6-4, to end the classic at 2-3.
The Pirates did not make easy it on themselves, spotting North Dakota four runs in the first inning. Luckily, starting pitcher Camp settled down, holding North Dakota scoreless over the final six innings.
Numerous Pirates hitters helped Camp’s cause. Barracato got the Pirates on the board with an RBI single in the bottom of the third. Arteaga and Supercynski continued the Pirates’ rally, driving in two runs each with singles to put the Pirates on top 5-4. Allender added an insurance run with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth.
Camp deftly evaded trouble in the top of the sixth, striking out a North Dakota batter with the bases loaded to end the threat. She finished the day with a complete game, eight strikeout performance, only allowing one earned run. She also recorded her 21st complete game and became only the 10th pitcher in Seton Hall softball history to record at least 200 strikeouts in her career.
After mixed results in Las Vegas, Nev., the Pirates head to Texas for the North Texas Tournament from Feb. 15 to 17.
Andrea Keppler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @keppler_andrea.
Joseph Ippolito can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @joeippy.
Matthew Collins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.