The Seton Hall softball team took two games on Sunday to take a three-game series over Big East rival Villanova at Mike Sheppard Sr. Field.
The Pirates were propelled to two straight victories by a duo of California natives in Hailey Arteaga and Destini Peck, as well as Nevada native Jaden Tate. Seton Hall won game one by a final of 7-6 on a walk off, three-run home run to center by Tate. The Pirates then held off the Wildcats, 11-9, in game two.
Arteaga had an RBI single in the first inning of game one and a home run to center field in the sixth inning of game two that provided insurance and all but sealed the victory. Peck added a key two-run double in the first inning of game two and Tate had an RBI single in the third.
The turning point in the second game came from Janae Barracato, who hit a grand slam off the wall and out of the park. Barracato’s blast turned a tied game into a 10-6 Pirates lead in the third inning.
Game one also saw an excellent pitching performance by Seton Hall starter Madison Strunk, who limited a Villanova offense that exploded for 16 runs the day prior. Strunk struck out six Wildcats in six innings of work.
Jill Cancela/Staff Photographer
Adding to Strunk, the game was a tense, defensive battle that featured numerous spectacular diving catches until the sixth, when Seton Hall scored two runs off of Villanova reliever Sara Kennedy to take a 4-2 lead. Villanova got two runners on base in the top of the seventh, which prompted Paige Smith to pull Strunk in favor of Camp, who allowed four runs to score but limited the damage at 6-4.
In the bottom of the seventh, Darby Pandolfo drew a one-out walk and Baylee Allender was hit by a pitch before Tate’s blast ended matters.
Game two went back and forth in the early innings and completely changed on Barracato’s home run. After Barracato’s blast, Seton Hall weathered the storm and held Villanova to three runs over four innings to secure the victory.
Mo Sobel got the start and gave up five runs in two innings of work. Head relieved her and threw three innings, giving up four runs. Camp finished things off from there, playing the role of closer and holding Villanova to just two hits over two innings.
“When we make errors it’s because were scared,” Smith said. “You want to play defense but not do it defensively. We were a little bit more in charge (defensively) today.”
Smith added that she was impressed with her team’s ability to bounce back after a poor performance.
“This team is awesome,” Smith said. “I think that they really believe. It’s fun to see how they’ve connected and just will each other in.”
The Pirates hit the road for a clash with Fairfield on March 26 before a key three-game series with Big East competitor DePaul next weekend.
Matthew Collins can be reached at email@example.com.