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The Seton Hall softball and baseball teams will head to Florida for warmer weather this weekend. Softball will head to Tampa to take part in the USF Invitational while the baseball team will be down in Miami for a four-game series against Florida International. The baseball team will be looking to ride the momentum that was gained this past weekend when it bounced out of an 0-2 hole to split the series with No. 15 Missouri. Mikael-Ali Mogues broke out in the series after sitting behind Sal Annunziata for much of the last two seasons. Mogues had two of the Pirates’ four hits in Game 1 of the series and had a hit in all four games. The junior batted .636 and reached base 13 times, including three doubles, and finished with two RBI. The performance was good enough to earn Mogues Big East Player of the Week. “He was aggressive,” head coach Rob Sheppard said. “He really took advantage of his opportunities. He was a guy who sat the first two years behind Sal Annunziata. Like so many guys before him, once he got his opportunity, he took advantage of it.”
The Pirates will also look to ride the arm of junior Zach Prendergast, whose stellar performance on Sunday helped lift SHU over the Tigers in 9-1 fashion. Prendergast allowed just one earned run while striking out eight and walking only one. The Pirates will be taking on the reigning C-USA champions in FIU, which was swept by No. 24 Ole Miss last weekend. The first pitch of the series is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26.
“It will be another good challenge for us early in the season,” Sheppard said. “They were a regional team and it is a good challenge for us, especially early in the season to play these teams down south.” The softball team will be led by reigning Big East Player of the week Yasmin Harrell as it looks to improve on its impressive early 8-2 record. Harrell went 9-for-19 in SHU’s 4-1 week in Conway, S.C.
The team will take on Eastern Michigan in its first game on Friday before taking on Big East foe Villanova in Game 2 of a double-header. The Pirates will have a double-header on Saturday, too. They will take on Georgia State in Game 1. Their next two opponents will be announced during the tournament.
Eastern Michigan sits at 4-6 currently after starting the season 0-5 at the Troy University Tournament. The Eagles have had a three-pitcher rotation so far, with Nicolle Miranda getting the most starts in the circle and holding a 2-4 record. Villanova is 1-4 and coming off an 11-0 rout of Siena on Feb. 21. That does not mean the Pirates are taking these teams lightly heading into the third week of the season, according to head coach Paige Smith. “We actually do not talk a lot about the other teams,” Smith said. “We are off to such a great start that we just need to focus on having our own goal.” Freshman standout Madison Strunk has led the Hall in the cir- cle this year, holding a 5-2 record and a 3.18 ERA in nine appearances. Strunk has four complete games so far and has earned one shutout. “We just know she is going to dominate,” Smith said. “I swear she is 18 going on 30. She is smart and mature. But I am excited to see the rest of the pitching staff step up and take away some of the innings from her.” Kevin Huebler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Hueblerkevin.