It took nearly the entire first month of the season, but Seton Hall is finally rounding into the form that propelled the Pirates to the Big East Championship game a year ago.
In February, Seton Hall began its season with a trip down to Florida that did not go as planned. The Pirates entered the campaign with high expectations based on their run at the end of last season, but were floored by the competition they faced in Port Charlotte. Ohio State had Seton Hall’s number throughout the three-game set and swept the Pirates in a pair of nail-biters.
The poor start carried over to Seton Hall’s next set of games, as the Pirates dropped two in a row to an inferior Fairleigh Dickinson team and Dayton, both of which were run-one games. Seton Hall finally got over the hump with a win over Virginia, but had to settle for a series split, as the final two games of the weekend were cancelled due to inclement weather. With momentum halted, a sweep at the hands of Florida International ensued and consecutive losses to Kansas and Saint Joseph’s following a drubbing of Bucknell dropped the Pirates to 3-11.
Following a series split against Harvard, the tide began to turn in Seton Hall’s favor. Since falling to 4-12 on March 16, the Pirates have strung together five straight wins in impressive fashion. The offense has caught fire, posting double-digit scores in three games over that span. Seton Hall’s pitching has also started to come into form, as Ricky DeVito has reaffirmed his spot at the top of the starting rotation and the back end has been bolstered by a handful of freshmen arms who are acclimating to the college game.
The competition Seton Hall has played lately has been less than stellar, there’s no denying that. The strength of schedule has likely contributed to the winning streak, but the way the Pirates are winning games is what stands out. After a rocky start, Seton Hall is finally firing on all cylinders at the most opportune of times. Big East Play is right around the corner, and if the Pirates want to have any chance at getting back to the conference tournament, they’ll have to figure out a way to fend off the likes of St. John’s, Creighton, Georgetown and Butler. Beating up on lesser competition to get the ball rolling is the first step in doing so.
Seton Hall had plenty of voids to fill heading into this season. Given the youth and inexperience on the roster, it was always going to take time for Rob Shepard’s squad to come around. Nobody envisioned a 4-12 start to the season, but the important thing is that it seems like the Pirates have finally figured it out. Now, the focus shifts to sustaining that success and dialing in against Big East opponents when the stakes are the highest.
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.