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DiBenedetto, Baseball Walk-Off on Villanova

Joe DiBenedetto

April 26, 2014

Final Stats

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Junior D.J. Ruhlman (Belle Mead, N.J.) scored on a throwing error in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Seton Hall baseball team to a 6-5, come-from-behind victory over Villanova on Saturday.

With one out and runners on first and second, Joe Poduslenko (Glen Mills, Pa.) hit a grounder between second and third base. Villanova's shortstop Eric Lowe fielded the slow roller and fed second baseman Todd Czinege for one out. In an effort to turn the inning-ending double play, Czinege then threw high of first base and Ruhlman rounded third and scored easily with the winning run.

Seton Hall (30-9, 5-3) trailed for the entire game until the winning run was scored. Nova struck for three unearned runs in the top of the first inning off Pirate starter Anthony Elia (Flanders, N.J.). The Pirates got two back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI triple by Ruhlman and an RBI ground out by Sal Annunziata (Bronx, N.Y.), but the Wildcats kept the slim advantage.

Villanova extended its lead to 4-2 on a run off reliever Ryan Testani (Shelton, Conn.) in the top of the second.

The Pirates cut the lead to 4-3 on an RBI single by Zack Weigel (Oak Park, Ill.). With two runners on and Annunziata at the plate, Seton Hall appeared ready to tie the game, but Weigel was picked off to end the inning. In all, the Pirates left 12 men on base.

Meanwhile, the Seton Hall bullpen was getting the job done. Zack Prendergast (Horsham, Pa.) pitched three hitless innings, while striking out three, to keep the game close.

In the top of the seventh inning, Villanova scratched across a run off Steve Lombardi (Saddle River, N.J.), but the Pirates would not be outdone in the bottom of the inning. Weigel walked to leadoff and advanced to second on an infield single by Annunziata with one out. Both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. With two outs, Kyle Grimm (Bergenfield, N.J.) singled to right field to score both runners and tie the game at five.

The game would remain tied at five thanks in large part to the effort of Seton Hall's fifth pitcher of the day, Joe DiBenedetto (Staten Island, N.Y.). The freshman left-hander was called on to get the final two outs of the seventh inning and proceed to pitch four more perfect innings. DiBenedetto retired all 14 batters he faced and struck out a career-high five of them. He earned the victory to improve to 2-0.

Annunziata and Ruhlman led a 10-hit offensive attack with two-hits apiece. Weigel reached base a team-high five times going 1-for-2 with two walks, two hit-by-pitches, an RBI and two runs scored.

Seton Hall will return to action tomorrow for the finale of the three-game series against BIG EAST rival Villanova at Owen T. Carroll Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.