McCarthy, Politi Combine to Stifle VillanovaDate: April 28, 2018
By: Jose Feliciano
The Seton Hall baseball team (6-1 Big East, 18-15-1 Overall) won their fifth straight Big East game with an 8-2 victory against the Villanova Wildcats. The Pirate offense saw through Villanova's pitching as they piled on 16 hits in the win while Andrew Politi stifled the Villanova offense with four innings of shutout ball.
Seton Hall starting pitcher Shane McCarthy struggled in the first inning, something he has been prone to do this season, as Villanova scored two to start the ballgame. The Wildcats had the bases loaded four hitters into the game as McCarthy hit two of the first three batters he faced. Villanova right fielder Tyler Bruno then hit a two-run single through the hole to right field to give the Wildcats the lead.
The Pirate offense struck in the second inning as Mike Alescio started a rally with a single to left. Ryan Ramiz then scorched a double a double down the line to left to drive home Alescio and cut the lead in half. Tyler Shedler-McAvoy then bunted Ramiz over to third on a sacrifice for Casey Dana, Seton Hall's team leader in home runs to the plate. Rob Shepard continued to play small ball even with the power-hitting freshman at the plate as he called for a safety squeeze. The play worked perfectly for the Pirates as Ramiz came around to score while Dana reached first and was credited with a single. He was left stranded at first but the Pirates were able to tie the ballgame at two.
After Politi came on in relief of McCarthy and struck out the side, the bats woke up again in the bottom of the sixth. Ramiz hit a swinging bunt towards third base for an infield single. Shedler-McAvoy and Dana then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases for Christian Del Castillo. Del Castillo pulled through as he blooped a single to left to bring home Ramiz and Shedler-McAvoy to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead. Shedler-McAvoy slid in safe on the throw from left as the throw itself beat Shedler-McAvoy to the plate but he managed to slide under the tag to barely score the run.
Seton Hall rallied again in the next inning on three RBI singles from the bats of Shedler-McAvoy, Dana, and Connor Hood to increase Seton Hall's lead to 7-2. They added another run in the next inning on another RBI single, this time from Ryan Ramiz.
Shane McCarthy after his rocky first inning settled down afterward and pitched four more scoreless innings. Along with his five innings of work he gave up five hits, two runs (both earned), one walk, and struck out five.
Politi was lights out in relief as he shut down the Wildcats in four hitless innings of relief. He struck out nine, earned his third win of the season, and improved to 3-4 on the season.
"Andrew shut the door," said Head Coach Rob Shepard on Politi, "He didn't give any opportunities to create anything and did a tremendous job."
The offense had a field day as seven of the eight runs the Pirates scored today were on RBI singles.
"The offense did a really nice job sustaining an attack," Coach Sheppard said. "Early on in the second inning is when we had a couple of big hits to tie the score and then we had the ability to add to it later in the game."
Jose Feliciano is an Assistant Sports Director at 89.5 FM WSOU. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.