After a rough start to the season, Seton Hall (0-3) looked to bounce back in Friday’s doubleheader against Michigan (2-2) and Florida International (5-0) in Miami.
Seton Hall took on Michigan in their first game of the doubleheader. The Pirates started the game with junior RHP Chris Shine, while the Wolverines sent out junior RHP Cameron Weston.
The Pirates jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after an RBI single from junior Mark McNelly allowed junior Devin Hack to find home plate. However, Michigan responded with a two out triple from junior Tito Flores that scored junior Jimmy Obertop and graduate student Matt Frey, putting the Wolverines up 2-1 to conclude the first inning.
The Pirates had an opportunity to score in the second inning as freshmen Jedier Hernandez stepped up at bat with the bases loaded. However, Michigan’s Joe Stewart made a beautiful double play, catching Jedier Hernandez’s flyball and gunning down Seton Hall’s Zack Sylvester at home. The Wolverines thus remained in front 2-1.
Michigan started the third inning off strong as junior Clark Elliot hit his third home run of the season, extending the Wolverines’ lead 3-1. The Pirates had another opportunity to score in the fourth inning with the bases loaded. However, Clark Elliot flied out Seton Hall sophomore Will Gale for the third out, and the Pirates could not plate a run.
Unfortunately for Seton Hall, Michigan’s scoring run continued. In the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded for Michigan, senior Riley Bertram hit a one out double that scored Matt Frey, his second run of the game, and graduate student Alex Fedje-Johnson. Trailing 5-1, the Pirates made a change at pitcher as Chris Shine, having given up five runs and one walk, was relieved for sophomore RHP Drew Conover. However, Michigan would later tack on another run thanks to a sacrifice fly from Clark Elliot, putting the Wolverines ahead 6-1.
In the fifth inning, Michigan would make a pitching change of their own, calling on junior RHP Noah Rennard to relieve Cameron Weston, who finished the game with seven strikeouts. Drew Conover pitched a scoreless fifth inning for the Pirates, while senior Steve Grober added a run in the top of the sixth to cut the Wolverines’ lead down 6-2.
However, Seton Hall would not plate another run in the game, while Michigan added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and would go on to win 8-2. Devin Mack had a season high three hits and two doubles for Seton Hall. With this loss, the Pirates dropped to 0-4 on the season, while the Wolverines improved to 3-2.
After a disappointing loss to Michigan, Seton Hall looked to bounce back in their second game of the doubleheader against Florida International. Graduate student RHP Hunter Waldis made his second career start on the mound for the Pirates, while the Golden Panthers sent out sophomore RHP Patrick Pridgen.
Neither squad could get their respective offenses going as both Waldis and Pridgen got off to strong starts. With two outs in the top of the third inning, Seton Hall had an opportunity to gain momentum, having two runners on basepaths, senior Justin Scotto on first and junior Devin Hack on second. However, Patrick Pridgen struck out junior Mark McNelly, and so the Pirates remained scoreless.
Through the next two innings, Hunter Waldis kept Florida International off the scoreboard and totaled four strike outs in the game before being relieved for freshman RHP Daniel Frontera in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Later in the inning, Frontera committed an error on an infield hit by Dante Girardi that put the Florida International sophomore in scoring position. Redshirt sophomore Robert Sotolongo then hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Girardi to cross home plate for the game’s only score.
The Pirates were unable to respond as Patrick Pridgen struck out two more Seton Hall batters in the seventh inning before junior RHP Carlos Lequerica took over. Pridgen finished the game with a career high 13 strikeouts as Florida International would go on to win 1-0.
With two consecutive losses in the doubleheader, the Pirates fall to 0-5 on the season, while the Golden Panthers improve to 6-0. This was the first of a two-game series for Seton Hall and Florida International, meaning that the Pirates will have another opportunity to hand the Golden Panthers their first loss of the season on Sunday Feb. 27 at 1 p.m.
JP Colello can be reached at email@example.com.