The Pirates (14-10, 1-1) kicked off Big East play on Saturday afternoon against Villanova (12-9, 1-1). After a thrilling win in the front end of the doubleheader, they were unable to complete the sweep and had to settle for a split.
Villanova got off to a fast start, loading the bases against starting pitcher Lauren Fischer, but Fischer was able to work out of the bases-loaded jam with back-to-back strikeouts. Despite her first-inning Houdini act, Villanova was able to get to Fischer for a two-run home run in the top of the second inning to give it the early lead.
After Villanova got another run in the third, sophomore shortstop Ragen Reddick got the Pirates on the board with a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning. Seton Hall continued to play long ball in the fourth when Darby Pandolfo came through with her third home run of the year to cut Villanova’s lead to one.
Seton Hall continued its assault on Villanova in the bottom of the fifth when Destini Peck drove home Alexis Walkden with a RBI double to tie the game at three.
Villanova was able to take back the lead in the top of the seventh, but Walkden answered back with a solo shot in the bottom of the inning to tie the game and send it to extras tied at four.
The Wildcats plated a run in the eighth, but again Seton Hall was able to tie the game behind a solo home run, this one coming from Noel Lent.
Villanova took the lead yet again in the top of the tenth, but it wasn’t meant to be for the Wildcats as Fischer hit a walk-off three-run homer to give Seton Hall an 8-6 victory.
“We’re really good aggressive hitters,” head coach Paige Smith said after the game. “We waited for a good pitch to hit and we continued to do what we do, we hit.”
Offense was much more difficult to come by in the second game as Villanova jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, which turned out to be too much for Seton Hall to overcome as the Wildcats held on for an 8-2 victory.
“We expected the momentum to naturally carry itself over into game two, but we didn’t work hard enough to keep the momentum,” Smith said.
According to Smith, the Pirates will have six pitchers available for Sunday’s rubber game, which is scheduled to take place at 12 p.m., weather permitting.
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.