The Seton Hall softball team heads to Providence this weekend in search of their first Big East series win.
After being swept by Syracuse in three games, the team is using their week off to change practice tactics.
“The girls requested more live pitching in practice,” assistant coach Bob Guerriero said. “We started the season doing this and we were hitting better then, so we are hoping it carries over.”
The Pirates have not been able to do this recently because they only have three healthy pitchers, after losing junior Hannah Hill and sophomore Jen Metzger to injuries this season.
But this may be just the change Seton Hall needs, since Guerriero expressed the team’s biggest area for improvement “remains hitting in the clutch.”
Continuing to be aggressive at the plate is something the coaching staff is stressing to the team.
“The girls went up against an All-American pitcher twice in Syracuse, and I was proud of how they battled against her,” Guerriero said. “If we keep up the aggressive attitude at the plate, we will have much better results in Providence, and hopefully some wins.”
Providence is 4-6 in Big East play.
After winning four straight, including a series sweep of Villanova, the Friars have lost five consecutive games to Pittsburgh and No. 18 South Florida.
Leading the Friars this season is junior Jessie Bryant. Bryant is hitting a team-high .309 while driving in a team-leading 18 RBIs. She has also started every game this season.
Senior Jen Abrams is second on the team with a .287 batting average and leads the team with 20 runs scored but only has a .320 on base percentage.
Providence normally sends one of two pitchers to the circle with senior Alicia Grosso and junior Corinne Clauss starting all but two games this season. Grosso has a 7-12 record with a 3.84 ERA, while Clauss holds a 5-9 record with a 4.01 ERA.
The Hall is depending on the continued efforts of the young pitching staff. According to Guerriero, they have been the reason the team was as competitive as they were in many games.
Freshman pitcher and outfielder Danielle DeStaso continues to be recognized by the coaching staff for her bright future at Seton Hall.
DeStaso is currently tied with senior first baseman Kristen Kaelin with five homeruns.
The other nine rookies have also adjusted well to their roles on the team with the help and mentoring of their experienced teammates.
Guerriero used the example of senior catcher Nicole Loewenstein, sharing her knowledge of managing games and pitchers with the younger catchers on the team, like freshmen Kaylyn Sanbower and Allissa Kerr.
In the last two series matchups with Providence, in the 2010 and 2009 seasons, Seton Hall has a record of 1-4.
“We are taking one game at a time,” Guerriero said. “You’re only as good as your last at bat or your last pitch. You can’t process the situation that much before it becomes detrimental.”
The Pirates will be in back-to-back games, starting at noon, on Saturday. The last game of the series will begin at noon on Sunday.
Stephanie Vedral can be reached at email@example.com.