Seton Hall’s baseball team knew that it would have to adjust in both location and in replacing the talent that they lost en route to a runner-up finish in the Big East.
Reliable hitters like breakout infielder Rob Dadona, catcher Mike Alescio, rightfielder Ryan Ramiz and shortstop Al Molina all had batting averages above .300.
In one of the more bizarre situations, where the team will virtually play all of its games away from home, the Pirates have to find answers for problems that could potentially derail the season.
Aside from fellow freshman infielder Steve Grober, who was recently named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll, Alex Clyde has put up impressive numbers in early action.
“I think my teammates trust me, they trust me and my partner Steve Grober,” Clyde said. “It is very hard to fill a senior’s role like that and it’s been challenging at times, knowing what they expect from you or how you will perform in games. As we play it is getting easier and easier.”
Molina, whom Clyde replaced, left behind a much-needed presence in the Seton Hall infield and quality hitting.
Clyde, a freshman second baseman and shortstop, has acclimated his self into college baseball almost seamlessly. In 20 games, Clyde is batting .241, has 14 hits, and 11 RBIs – the only thing left for Clyde is the coveted first home run. The lanky, 6-foot-1 New Jersey native is playing as if he was a top-of-the-order veteran.
Coming out of Old Tappan, Clyde captained his high school twice and led them to a pair of conference titles and added three first team all-league selections to his name in the process. While Clyde enjoyed averages of .438 and .300 in his last two seasons, he has noticed the many challenges at the college level.
“It’s got to be pitching,” Clyde said. “Pitching in New Jersey is high 70’s, mid 80’s. In college it’s 90’s every weekend and it’s hard to adjust to, especially with off-speed pitches and change-ups. I am more of a defensive player than a hitter but my first ground ball was something very special to me because it was a lot harder. After getting it, the rest just flowed.”
Clyde leads a highly touted freshman class that oozes with potential if they can put things together. He set out the goal of a Big East title before the season started is excited about the potential of Seton Hall’s team this year, despite the setbacks.
“I just have to stay loose and not let anything affect me as far as striking out or anything like that, just play on.” Clyde said. “Let the game decide what happens and just play my game.”
Evando Thompson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Thompsev.