In recent years, it has been Seton Hall’s M.O. to win with pitching, pitching, and more pitching. Just look at the team numbers year after year.
In 2011, led by two starting pitchers (Jon Prosinski and Joe DiRocco) who had ERAs lower than 2.00, the Pirates had a 2.68 team ERA. The 2012 pitching staff had a collective 3.60 ERA, a little higher, but still more than serviceable. The 2013 team, with Prosinski once again a big part of things, had a 3.11 ERA. Spearheaded by Josh Prevost and his 1.65 ERA in 116.1 innings, the 2014 club had a 2.89 ERA. And the last three seasons have seen team ERAs of 3.97, 3.21, and 3.38.
At least on paper, 2018 shouldn’t be any different, thanks to the duo of Shane McCarthy and Cullen Dana in the Seton Hall rotation.
McCarthy has been a big part of each of the last three SHU pitching staffs.
As a freshman in 2015, he pitched in 12 games, starting ten of them. He had a 2.19 ERA, issued only nine walks, and limited opponents to a .222 batting average in 65.2 innings. In 2016, he really developed into a workhorse, throwing 102 innings with a 2.38 ERA, an 84/18 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a .229 opponent batting average. That performance was eye-opening enough that we covered Shane in last year’s countdown (interestingly enough, his entry last year was also with three days to go until opening day).
But his junior season wasn’t quite up to the standard he set over his first two seasons, as he had a career high ERA (5.13), a career low in innings pitched (59.2), a career high in walks (21), a career-high opponent batting average (.315), and he allowed five home runs in 2017 after having allowed only two total home runs to that point of his career.
Given his track record, he was still drafted in the 18th round by the St. Louis Cardinals after the season, but instead of beginning his pro career, he’s coming back for one more season at Seton Hall, and with another season more like his first two, it’s easy to foresee a scenario where he is drafted much higher as a senior.
Over the last two seasons, McCarthy has had quite the running mate in the starting rotation in Cullen Dana. Following in the footsteps of his teammate’s aforementioned incredible freshman campaign, Dana had one of his own in 2016, putting up a 2.75 ERA with 66/24 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a .201 opponent batting average in 72 innings across 13 appearances, 12 of which were starts.
In 2017, he followed that up with a 3.40 ERA, an 81/32 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a .262 opponent batting average in 79.1 innings of work.
Seton Hall’s ability to compete at the top of the Big East and challenge to get back into a regional will have a lot to do with how their offense shakes out after hitting .257/.351/.361 as a team last year, but in McCarthy and Dana, you know they have the weekend arms to get it done.