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Baseball sweeps Villanova in three-game series

The Seton Hall baseball team swept a three-game series against Villanova this weekend. The Pirates won each of the games in disparate fashion: a 1-0 pitcher’s duel on Friday, a 13-2 blowout on Saturday and a 4-1 win on Sunday.

Pitching was the key in the first matchup of the series, as four Pirate pitchers combined to shutout Villanova. Ryan McLinskey got the start and struck out seven hitters in his four innings before Nick Payero replaced him. Payero pitched three scoreless innings in relief and got the win as he was on the mound when the Pirates scored their only run of the day. The Pirates were able to capitalize in this game during the sixth inning, when Will Gale led off with a bunt single. A sac bunt from Jerry Huntzinger and single by Devin Hack sent Gale to third, and Casey Dana’s sac fly sent put the Pirates on top at 1-0. This one run was enough to propel the Pirates to victory; as relief pitchers Zane Probst and Hunter Waldis pitched scoreless eight and ninth innings to keep the Wildcats at bay.

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Photo via SHU Athletics

Saturday’s game saw the Pirates take an early lead as they plated six runs in the second inning. Will Gale, Devin Hack, and Matt Toke had RBI singles in the inning; Jerry Huntzinger had a two-run single and Casey Dana had an RBI double in the frame.

Seton Hall tacked on three more runs in the fourth inning. Collin Sheehan sent Toke and Dana home on a single and Tyler Shedler-McAvoy scored on a wild pitch to give the Pirates a 9-1 lead. Villanova added another run in the fourth to cut it to 9-2 but the Pirates struck for four more runs in the sixth. Will Gale walked in a run, Steve Grober’s single brought home two runs, and Connor Hood added an RBI single of his own in his season debut. Starting pitcher Chris Shine earned the win as the Pirates finished off the Wildcats 13-2 in seven innings.

Villanova got on the board first in Sunday’s finale as a walk lead to an RBI single in the second inning. Steve Grober tied the game at one with an RBI single in the fifth, and Devin Hack gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning with a two out, two run single. Will Gale’s eighth inning single tacked on another run and put the Wildcats away at 4-1. Starting pitcher Dave Festa got the win in the game three, allowing two hits and striking out three in six innings of work.

The Pirates improve to 13-13 and sit atop the Big East at 6-1 with their series sweep against Villanova. They have now won four straight and eight of their last ten games. Seton Hall will travel to Queens, New York next weekend to take on St. John’s University in a four-game series starting Friday at 3 p.m.

Thomas Donnelly can be reached at thomas.donnelly@student.shu.edu.

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