After recording their 20th win of the season on Tuesday, the baseball team heads into the weekend for a three-game series against the Villanova Wildcats at Owen T. Carroll Field.
The Pirates, with a 20-16 record overall and 7-5 in the Big East, come into the series winners of seven of nine games, including two wins in three games against the then No. 19 Louisville Cardinals last weekend.
Offense has been the story of late for the Pirates, as the team has scored nine runs or more three times during the last nine games.
“We’re seeing the ball a lot better,” junior second baseman Mike Genovese said, after the nine run victory over NYIT. “We’re not swinging at bad pitches.”
Despite the recent offensive surge, the Pirates rank last in the Big East in team batting average, runs scored and RBIs.
Head coach Rob Sheppard said the key to winning the series is to maintain the same game plan that the team has played this season.
“We just got to keep playing our solid baseball. I think that’s what it comes down to,” Sheppard said. “[We have to] play clean fundamental baseball – pitch the ball well, and play defense, and have timely hitting like we did this past weekend. That’s what we strive to do.”
Genovese echoed his coach’s statement about the team’s best chance to win this weekend.
“I think we just have to play our style,” Genovese said. “If we play our style, nobody can beat us”
Pitching has been a strong point for the Pirates this season. The ace in the pitching rotation, junior Jon Prosinski, was named to his third Big East Weekly Honor Roll on Monday for pitching 6.2 innings and allowing only one run against Louisville last weekend.
In Tuesday’s game, the Pirates used seven relief pitchers after junior Greg Terhune could not get out of the second inning.
Shepherd said using seven relief pitchers can be seen positively.
“It gets our guys into game situations,” Sheppard said. “It gives us an opportunity to get some other guys in there and get a chance to face some live hitters.”
The Wildcats, with a record of 19-18, 4-8 in conference, boast the Big East’s leading hitter in senior Tyler Sciacca who is hitting .392. Sciacca is also eighth in the conference with 30 RBIs.
As a team, Villanova ranks second to Louisville in team batting average, hitting .300 through 37 games.
Last season, the Pirates won two out of three games against the Wildcats on the road.
Sheppard said that because the series is at home, it makes the team feel more comfortable.
“You want to play at home. Any time you get a chance to play in front of your own crowd and play on your own field, you’re excited,” Sheppard said. “You want to hold serve at home, and that’s what we try to do, and guys play well on it.”
The Pirates open the series on Friday at Owen T. Carroll Field. First-pitch is set for 6 p.m.
TJ Brennan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.