Baseball Minute: Pirates Getting Noticed

Despite this conversation with an umpire, Seton Hall head coach Rob Sheppard and the Pirates had much to be pleased about after last weekend's sweep at No. 22 Arizona.

Despite this conversation with an umpire, Seton Hall head coach Rob Sheppard and the Pirates had much to be pleased about after last weekend's sweep at No. 22 Arizona.

March 4, 2014

Composite Schedule/Results | Statistics (HTML)

NEW YORK, N.Y. – With the annual spring break trips getting underway during the usual stretch of early March, every BIG EAST team has at least one midweek game scheduled this week. Three teams get the schedule started on Tuesday when Creighton, St. John’s and Villanova are in action. Five games dot Wednesday’s schedule and six contests are set for Friday after an off day on Thursday.

Thanks to its 7-2 start and last weekend’s impressive three-game sweep at Arizona, Seton Hall cracked the Collegiate Baseball Top 30 on Monday when the Pirates checked in at No. 22. The Wildcats had been ranked 22nd in last week’s Collegiate Baseball poll before Seton Hall rolled into down and picked up wins of 9-1, 4-2 and 11-2. The Pirates are also receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll released Monday.

Creighton went unbeaten in a three-game series at Charlotte last weekend, but did so with only two victories. That’s because the squads played to a rare 5-all tie after 10 innings in Sunday’s finale. The two programs had agreed before the game to not play beyond the 10th inning because of the Bluejays’ travel plans back to Omaha. Since being swept at Arkansas-Little Rock to open the season, Creighton is 4-1-1 in its last six.

The NCAA released its first statistics report on Monday for games through Sunday, and several players and teams rank highly in several categories. Villanova’s Kevin Jewitt, who leads the BIG EAST with a .455 batting average, is 41st in the country. Seton Hall’s Sal Annunziata is 40th in the nation with five doubles and 43rd in doubles per game (0.56). He’s the BIG EAST leader in both. Elsewhere, Seton Hall’s D.J. Ruhlman and Xavier’s Mitch Elliott are tied for 31st in the NCAA with a BIG EAST-leading six steals apiece, while Pirate Josh Prevost is fourth in the country with three wins and one off the NCAA lead. Among the team categories, Seton Hall leads the BIG EAST and ranks 32nd in batting average (.303), 20th in runs per game (7.7) and 50th in total runs (69).



One of two teams making its BIG EAST debut in 2014, the Creighton Bluejays were named slim favorites in the preseason baseball poll conducted by the seven head coaches in February. Creighton captured a poll-topping 32 points with two first-place votes to edge out Seton Hall’s 31 points and two first-place votes. St. John’s captured three first-place nods and took third in the poll with 29 points. Xavier (21 points), Georgetown (12), Butler (11) and Villanova (11) rounded out the rest. Creighton also swept the major preseason awards with Tommy Strunc earning the Pitcher of the Year nod and Mike Gerber the Player of the Year award.

The decisive game of the 2014 BIG EAST Baseball Championship will air nationally on FOX Sports 1, as announced in February. It’s one of four BIG EAST spring championships FS1 will air, including men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse and softball. The BIG EAST Baseball Championship will take place at MCU Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., May 23-25.

In addition to the championship game, FOX Sports also has plans to air two regular-season BIG EAST contests this spring. St. John’s is set to host Butler on April 12 on FOX Sports 2, while slim preseason favorite Creighton visits the Red Storm on May 11 on FOX Sports 1. CBS Sports Network has agreed to air four additional BIG EAST baseball games and the Bluejays will play in three of them. Creighton hosts Iowa on April 23 at 7:30 p.m., and six days later welcomes Nebraska for a 7:30 p.m. tilt, both on CBS SN. The network will also air Creighton hosting Seton Hall in the third game of a three-game series on Sunday, May 4 at 1 p.m., and the Pirates hosting St. John’s on Thursday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m.