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Softball opens season with tough set of games at Gamecock Invitational

The Seton Hall softball team returned to play for the first time this past weekend since last spring's season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pirates faced stiff competition in No. 16 Duke and No. 18 South Carolina in their return to the diamond but ultimately went 0-5 on the weekend.

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Photo via SHU Athletics

On the First day of the Gamecock Invitational, Seton Hall just came up short after losing 2-3 against Longwood.

During the first four innings, the Pirates looked strong as Freshman pitcher Kelsey Carr did not allow any runs. She also had eight strikeouts in her first collegiate game. Carr gave up three runs in the fifth inning, but Darby Pandolfo responded for the Pirates by hitting a two-run home run.

Pandolfo's home run sparked some momentum for the Pirates, but it ultiamtely wasn't enough as Longwood saw out their 3-2 win. With that home run, Pandolfo moved up to 12th on the all-time program leader list at 18 career home runs.

In the Pirate’s second game of the day against #18 ranked South Carolina, the Gamecocks made a statement as they scored five runs in the first inning. In addition, the Gamecocks gained two runs as the score was 7-0 by the third inning.

The Pirates fought back as they racked up two runs at the top of the third inning. The runs resulted from a few singles and from Hailey Arteaga having a loaded bases walk. Arteaga’s RBI in the third inning was her 109th in a Pirates uniform as she ties Kristen Kaelin for sixth all-time.

Afterward, the Gamecocks tallied two more runs to stretch their lead to 9-2. The Gamecocks secured the win against the Pirates with another two hits in the fifth inning which resulted in a final score of 11-3.

Day two of the Gamecock Invitational would see the Pirates take on both Duke and South Carolina in a double header.

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Photo via SHU Athletics

The Blue Devils scored two runs at the bottom first inning as the Pirates remained scoreless. Pandolfo kept her individual hot streak going as she got another hit, this time a single, in the second inning.

Unfortunately, the Pirates could not counter the Blue Devils as they scored in each of the next four innings. Duke scored a run in both the third and fourth innings and added another four between the fifth and sixth innings. Seton Hall dropped their third game of the tournament 8-0.

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In the Pirates' rematch against South Carolina, the Gamecocks took an early lead as they scored two runs in the second inning and an additional one during the fourth inning.

The Pirates struggled to score during the first five innings until Janae Barracato hit a single to bring Pandolfo home for their first and only run of the game in the sixth inning. Despite keeping South Carolina quiet at the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pirates couldn't find another two runs to at least force extra innings at the top of the seventh inning.

Seton Hall played its final game of the Gamecock Invitational against Duke on Sunday.

Duke scored four runs in the first inning following an additional run in the bottom of the second. In the third inning, Seton Hall’s Shelby Smith hit a single for her first RBI of her collegiate career.

After two innings without a run, Duke added their sixth of the game at the top of the fifth inning. The Pirates only managed one run at the bottom of the third inning and ultimately succumbed to another loss by a 6-1 scoreline.

Despite the tough run of games, the softball team have gotten themselves back into the swing of competitive softball against two of the top programs in the country. They are scheduled to play their next set of game on Saturday, Mar. 6 when they host Fordham for a double header.

Grant Tokarski can be reached at grant.tokarski@student.shu.edu.

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