The 2019 Seton Hall baseball season was plagued by a sluggish opening month, but the Pirates have warmed up rapidly in the last week. The team has won eight of its last nine games, beating local foes including NJIT, Iona, Wagner, and Monmouth.
Fueling this hot streak has been the timely hitting of familiar contributors, such as Matt Toke and Jerry Huntzinger, and the emergence of freshman Alex Clyde. However, the main reason for the sudden hot streak is low earned run averages put together by the Pirates’ pitching staff.
During the streak, the Pirates have pitched two shutouts and held Monmouth to two runs and Fairleigh Dickinson to one. This stinginess is a 180 degree turn from the early days of the season in which the Pirates allowed seven runs apiece to Kansas and St. Joseph’s and 10 runs to Florida International.
Five Pirate pitchers have an ERA under three as of March 30. Ace Ricky DeVito has a stellar ERA of 1.71, including throwing seven innings of shutout ball against Wagner on March 23. Freshman David Festa, a Verona native who pitched for Seton Hall Prep last spring, has a 2.38 ERA and got the win against Monmouth on March 24 by throwing four innings of shutout ball in relief of Noah Thompson.
Reliever Sean Miller and closer Corey Sawyer have also fulfilled their roles as stoppers. Miller has a 1.69 ERA and Sawyer has a 2.03 with three saves as of the end of the month. Brennan O’Neill, a freshman from Morristown, picked up the win against NJIT last week with six innings of scoreless work.
O’Neill has a 2.41 ERA on the season. O’Neill is further tied for the team lead in wins with two.
The highlight of Seton Hall’s pitching staff was a combined no-hitter against Iona on March 30. Thompson got the start and pitched two perfect innings before he was pulled for Tyler Burnham. Burnham bridged the gap effectively, pitching 3.2 hitless innings and striking out four Iona batters.
From there, Nick Payero went 1.1 innings and struck out three and Hunter Waldis and the Miller each pitched hitless innings to finish off Seton Hall’s first no-hitter since Zach Prendergast threw one against Villanova in 2017.
The scalding stretch for Seton Hall’s pitching staff has given the team new hope for a successful spring on the diamond. If the pitchers continue their hot streak and the ERA’s continue to drop, Seton Hall baseball could be in line to contend for a Big East title in 2019.
Matthew Collins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Matt98533108.