Split with St. John's not enough for Big East TitleDate: May 27, 2018
By Chris Russo
Seton Hall needed to beat St. John’s twice, and though they hammered the Red Storm 19-2 in game one, they dropped game two by the score of 7-1.
In game one, the Pirates surprised by using Noah Thompson in a spot start. Thompson rose above expectations by throwing a season-high three and two-thirds innings, and allowing only one run on two hits. Andrew Politi gained the victory in relief by throwing a shutout three and a third innings and escaping a bases loaded jam in the fourth.
St. John’s Michael LoPresti rolled through two innings, but surrendered an RBI single to Rob Dadona in the third to open the scoring. Dadona would drive in two more with a single off Joe LaSorsa in the fourth, making it 4-0 after a Del Castillo RBI single.
In the bottom of the fourth, Anthony Brocato hit an RBI single, but Robert Boselli III was ejected after running over Mike Alescio trying to score from second, suspending him for game two.
The Pirates poured it on late with home runs by Del Castillo and Casey Dana, and a three-run triple by Ryan Rami as part of a four-RBI game. Dylan Verdonk allowed a run in the ninth, but closed out the game, 19-2.
Rather than starting Shane McCarthy on two days’ rest, Coach Rob Sheppard opted to pitch Ricky DeVito on one days’ rest. DeVito got the loss by throwing two innings of one-run ball, but his counterpart was the focus of the story.
St. John’s opted to go with Jeff Belge, who started the night having started only half the appearances of DeVito, and posted a 2.51 ERA. He stunned everyone by pitching the game of his life.
Belge did not allow a hit until Ramiz singled in the seventh inning. He let up only two hits over eight plus innings for the victory.
The Red Storm struck first with an RBI single by John Valente in the second. Before the play, home plate umpire Rick Allen made a questionable balk call on a slight movement by DeVito, moving the eventual run-scorer up a base. The Johnnies scored two in the fifth, and Josh Shaw hit a grand slam in the sixth to ice it.
Mike Alescio, Al Molina, Andrew Politi, and Matt Toke were all named to the All-Tournament Team. The Pirates finished the season with an overall record of 31-19-1.
Chris Russo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org