CLEARWATER, FLA. - The Seton Hall baseball team was forced to play catch-up all game long, and in the end, was edged by Notre Dame, 4-3, eliminating the Pirates from the 2012 BIG EAST Championship.
Seton Hall (34-24) starter Jose Lopez (Cranbury, N.J.) went five innings, giving up three runs, just one of which was earned, while striking out three and walking two. Lopez took the loss and falls to 3-2 on the season.
The Pirates' lack of timely hitting and shaky defense were at fault this afternoon. Normally a very sure-handed defensive club, Seton hall committed three errors that contributed to three Notre Dame runs.
In the second inning, Lopez was his own worst enemy. After Trey Mancini reached on catcher's interference, Lopez issued a walk to Joe Hudson. Then, when Alex Robinson dropped down a sacrifice bunt, Lopez threw wide of Michael Betz (Mine Hill, N.J.) at first, scoring Mancini with the first run of the game. Two batters later Mac Hudgins's RBI single made it 2-0 Notre Dame.
Seton Hall would get a run back in the top of the third. With one out, sophomore Zack Granite (Staten Island, N.Y.) roped a stand-up triple off the wall in right field. Junior Mike Genovese (Livingston, N.J.) followed with a hard single to center to score Granite with the Pirates' first run.
Trailing 3-1, senior Will Walsh (New Milford, N.J.) drilled a one-out triple to right centerfield, and Giuseppe Papaccio (Nutley, N.J.) scored Walsh with an RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth to cut the Irish lead in half.
Notre Dame (30-26) however, scored another important insurance run in the bottom of the seventh on a fielder choice by catcher Joe Hudson to give them a 4-2 lead.
In the top of the eighth, the Pirates would rally again. Granite, always the catalyst for Seton Hall, singled to lead off the inning, and after a steal and a ground out moved him to third, Papaccio recorded his second RBI of the game with a single to left field, cutting Notre Dame's lead to 4-3. But with the tying run just 90 feet away, Seton Hall would strand two runners in the eighth and head to the ninth trailing.
Kyle Grimm (Bergenfield, N.J.) singled to lead off the ninth, and made it into scoring position on a ground out, but ultimately was stranded at second base.
Seton Hall out-hit Notre Dame 10-to-6, but couldn't put enough of the hits together to translate them into runs. Granite, Genovese and Papaccio all had two hits apiece for the Pirates.
Junior Greg Terhune (Washington, N.J.) pitched admirably in relief of Lopez. The 6-foot-5 lefty threw the final three innings, giving up just two hits and one run.