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Senior core off to hot start for baseball team

Almost a full two weeks into the baseball season, the Pirates have split their first six games to begin the 2020 campaign, going 3-3 with blowout victories over Illinois and Milwaukee and a walk-off loss to No. 20 Wake Forest. Seton Hall is now gearing up for a road trip to California, with seven games in nine days against USC, Fresno State, and Saint Mary’s.

Despite the season being young, the returners for the Pirates have already made their impact. Most notable of the bunch has been Connor Hood. Hood, who was named Big East Player of the Week the first week of the season and leads the team with a .407 batting average. The senior’s 11 hits are almost double of those tied for second with six. Hood has driven in a team-high eight runs and 13 total bases. Although his hitting has been valuable, his versatility in the field has also been a benefit to the tam, as Hood has the ability to field three different positions.

Photo via SHU Athletics

Matt Toke, a member of the 2019 All-Big East Second Team, has played a pivotal role in the lineup. With a .333 batting average and a team-leading .538 on base percentage for any player with at least five plate appearances, Toke has demonstrated the ability to come through with his hitting and plate discipline. Batting out of the three spot for the Pirates, Toke has been as reliable as anyone else on the lineup card.

Another senior who will have a major impact on the outcome of the season is last year All-Big East First Team member Tyler Shedler-McAvoy. Although not off to a start he hoped for with his hitting, Shedler-McAvoy has been a presence on the basepaths.

Creating offense by getting on the basepaths, Shedler-McAvoy has the second most walks on the team, allowing him to be a havoc for opposing pitchers, as he is tied for the team lead in stolen bases. His elusiveness has transmitted to scoring eight runs this season, the most on the unit.

On the mound, senior ace Noah Thompson has produced to begin the year. Two starts into the season, Thompson has posted a 2.31 ERA while registering a batting average against of .244. The primary pitcher on the staff, Thompson leads the team in innings pitched as well so far in his final season.

One player showcasing his talent is freshman Devin Hack. Hack has hit .357 and is tied for the team led in extra base hits. Hack’s on base percentage of .500 is also tied for second highest on the team, with his strikeouts being the lowest for any player to have over five at-bats. On a team led by experience, the freshman from Sommerville, New Jersey has displayed that he has a place in the program.

Led with a senior core of multiple preseason Big East First-Team members, along with bright spots from underclassmen, this year’s team will look to bounce-back in a major way for 2020. Experience from the plate and pitching rubber will be key for this year’s team to succeed, and based on the start to this year, the high hopes should continue.

Robert Fallo can be reached at Find him on Twitter @robert_ fallo.

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