Critical BIG EAST Series With Seton Hall Looms For Xavier Baseball

Vinny Nittoli has the BIG EAST's second-best ERA (1.62).

Vinny Nittoli has the BIG EAST's second-best ERA (1.62).

May 8, 2014

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

CINCINNATI - A weekend series at Seton Hall for Xavier baseball will have ramifications in the BIG EAST Conference standings. The two teams, which are knotted at 7-5 in league play, sit tied for third.

Both Xavier (24-21) and Seton Hall (33-11) will attempt to rebound after dropping weekend series against St. John's and Creighton, respectively, last weekend. The Red Storm and Bluejays are atop the league standings at 10-2, while XU and SHU are three games behind in third.

St. John's and Creighton each need just one win to secure spots in the four-team BIG EAST Tournament, and the winner between the Xavier and Seton Hall series will put themselves in the driver's seat for a spot in the championship.

The Musketeers have been led this season by dual-threat Vinny Nittoli, designated hitter Derek Hasenbeck, outfielder/first baseman Joe Forney, catcher Daniel Rizzie, and shortstop Andre Jernigan. First baseman Bo Slemons, third baseman Stephen Schoettmer and centerfielder Brian Bruening have been coming on strong in BIG EAST play.

Nittoli paces Xavier's pitching staff, amassing a 5-2 record with the league's second-best ERA (1.62). Scott Klever (5-4) leads the Musketeers with 76.2 innings pitched and sports a 3.76 ERA. Adam Hall is Xavier's third weekend starter and Brad Kirschner anchors the bullpen.

Seton Hall is led by the league's best pitching staff, which includes Preseason All-BIG EAST honoree Josh Prevost. Prevost is a remarkable 10-1 on the year with a 1.53 ERA in 94 innings. The Hall holds the conference's top team ERA at 2.98.

The two teams will face off in South Orange, N.J., on Friday night at 6 p.m. before closing the series with a Saturday doubleheader set to being at 1 p.m. Seton Hall will provide a video stream and live stats of the contests on its official website,