Pirates Head to Omaha for Big East TournamentDate: May 24, 2017
By Jose Feliciano
For the seventh straight year, the Seton Hall Pirates will compete in the Big East Conference Baseball Championship in hopes of winning their fourth tournament championship in program history. The Pirates punched their ticket into the tournament in dramatic fashion two Sundays ago as starting pitcher Zach Prendergast (Horsham, PA.) fired a no-hitter against the Villanova Wildcats in the final game of Big East Conference play for the Pirates. The Pirates enter the Big East Tournament as the fourth seed and will battle top seeded Creighton this Thursday in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Creighton Bluejays have dominated the Big East so far this season, going 11-4 in conference play, despite only going 12-19 in non-conference play. The Bluejays took on the Pirates in a three-game series at Owen T. Carroll Field already this season, taking two of the three games for the series win. Each game in that series was decided by one run and each was a low scoring affair, as neither team scored more than six runs in all three games combined.
Creighton is not your prototypical one seed, as they rank in the middle of the pack in the Big East in team batting average and team ERA for the season. Things have turned around in conference play however for the Bluejays, as they rank second only to the Pirates in team ERA.
The Pirates come into the tournament ranked third in Big East play in team batting average. The Pirate offense, while inconsistent throughout the season, has been given new life as hitters such as freshman first baseman Matt Toke (Three Bridges, N.J.) have stepped up and helped the Pirate lineup produce more with runners in scoring position. Senior Matt Fortin (Nashua, N.H.) has also produced well in Big East play this season, hitting .290 in Big East games.
The Pirates will look not only to avenge their series loss to the Bluejays, but also their loss to them in the Big East Tournament last year in the first round. The Bluejays came back in the ninth and won the game in walk-off fashion on a wild pitch.
The tournament style will be double elimination as it has been since the 2014 season. If the Pirates defeat the Bluejays, they would face the winner of the St. John’s and Xavier game. If they were to lose, they would face the loser of that matchup. If they were to win that second game, they would move on to the championship game on Sunday.
The Pirates are 3-6 against the teams in the tournament this year and will look to improve that this Thursday at 7:30 PM when they take on Creighton in Omaha, Nebraska. You can listen to each Seton Hall game on 89.5 FM WSOU.
Jose Feliciano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.