Following their 20-23 campaign last season, the Seton Hall softball team opened the season with a competitive two-day double-header at the Black & Gold Invitational at Southern Mississippi on Friday, sustaining two losses against the Samford Bulldogs and the host Golden Eagles.
The opening match against Samford started strong for the Pirates as pitcher Shelby Smith struck out two in the top of the first inning. She struck two more through the second inning, which combined with the avoidance of runs, led the visiting defense to a good position.
The third inning was a swift, runless affair in which the sides pushed lightly against each other. The main leader of the Seton Hall offense was sophomore Taylor Hill, who had managed to make it to second in the bottom of the third before she was caught stealing.
The closest Seton Hall got to scoring was when junior Kelsey Carr made it on base and senior Miranda Arruda entered to pinch run. The lone run of the match was made by Sanford’s captain Logan Champion, which ultimately pushed the Pirates to a 1-0 loss.
Carr pitched eight innings, allowed just two hits and threw a career-high ten strikeouts in her first appearance since May 8, 2021.
The second game of the doubleheader was a tense matchup against the host team, the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. During the first inning, senior Ashly Colonetta was able to get a hit, soon to be nullified by Southern Mississippi.
Colonetta remained at the front of the batting order in the second, third and fourth innings, which were all quick and decisive for the Golden Eagles. By now, the runless match was heating up, and it seemed like the hosts were in line to score.
By the sixth and seventh innings, the two teams were taking full swings at each other. The first run came at the ninth inning by way of senior Taylor Soanes after senior Abby Wingo reached third in the same play. The hosts soon retaliated with a double and ended up handing the Hall their second loss of the day.
Day two of the Black & Gold Tournament came to a halt with the cancellation of the second matchup between Seton Hall and Samford due to the weather, though the Southern Mississippi game was still played.
Southern Mississippi walked away with another victory over the Pirates thanks to a foul-out to left field, which led to a Maria Smith score for a 1-0 lead in the first inning. A Hannah Borden single to left center scored Smith again and also allowed Caroline Worrell to sneak home to seal their 3-0 victory against the Pirates.
The Hall falls to 0-3 following the Black & Gold Tournament and will return to action on Feb. 17 when they play in the Presbyterian Invitational.