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Baseball's Early Success

As basketball season winds down, baseball season has begun and our Pirates are seeing historic early success. It is important to note that northeast baseball programs typically have a significant disadvantage. Cold and inclement weather often forces these schools to play a vast majority of their early season games on the road and practices are usually confined to indoor facilities. These disadvantages make our early season success all the more impressive. Led by head coach Rob Sheppard, the baseball team has won seven of its first nine games, its best start to a season since 1987. They have won six in a row, and most recently, completed a three-game sweep of 22nd-ranked Arizona in Tucson. Their impressive run has resulted in national attention as they were ranked #22 in Monday's Collegiate Baseball Top-30 national rankings.

Although individual accolades are numerous, it's important to note the pitching of senior Josh Prevost. The 6-foot-8 right-hander has won all three of his starts and has twice already been named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week.

This weekend the Pirates are at James Madison University. If you can't make it to Harrisonburg, Virginia, be sure to follow the program's live twitter feed during all three games... @SHUBaseball.

Historic Swimming & Diving Championships

I would like to take a moment to send special congratulations to our swimming & diving program which represented the University in tremendous fashion at the 2014 BIG EAST Championships last month. Our Pirates first made school history at the diving meet, as Gabby Signorelli and Ben Mitchell each won a pair of conference titles, becoming the first Seton Hall divers ever to win a BIG EAST championship. Gabby and Ben were also named the Most Outstanding Divers of the meet. Our diving coach PJ Hughes, a proud Seton Hall alum, was named Diving Coach of the Year to wrap up what was a spectacular weekend for The Hall at Villanova.

Our swimmers continued to re-write the school record books in the pool. Kerrie Kolackovsky was named Co-Most Outstanding Female Swimmer of the meet after capturing gold medals in two individual events and earning silver in another. JC Logan also earned gold on the men's side and overall, the program brought home seven conference championships and a total of 15 team members combined to collect 40 All-BIG EAST honors.

I would like to thank our head coach, Ron Farina, and his staff as well as all of the members of the program for their hard work and dedication throughout the season. For those not familiar, our swimmers and divers are very proud to be Pirates and I want to say that their accomplishments are a source of pride for our department and the University.

Women's Basketball's Strong Season

Under the leadership of first-year head coach Tony Bozzella our women's basketball team recently completed one of its most successful regular seasons in recent history and is carrying a lot of momentum heading into the postseason.

At 17-12 the team will post a winning record for the first time since 2008-09 and its eight BIG EAST wins are the most since back in 2006-07. All of that success on the court carried with it a number of individual accolades. Ka-Deidre Simmons was named First-Team All-BIG EAST, our first player to earn first-team all-conference recognition since 1996. Tabatha Richardson-Smith received Second-Team All-BIG EAST honors and was named the conference's Most Improved Player, while redshirt freshman Sidney Cook came back from an injury to land on the All-Freshman team.

I could not be happier with the direction our women's basketball program is heading as evidenced by all of the success they experienced this season. I hope to see a lot of fans wearing Seton Hall blue out in Chicago this weekend to cheer the team on in the BIG EAST Tournament.

BIG EAST Tournament

With the 2014 BIG EAST Tournament just around the corner I wanted to remind Pirate fans of events that will be hosted by Pirate Blue during Championship Week in New York City. The Grand Havana Room will be the site of the Seton Hall Athletics fundraiser on Tuesday, March 11 from 6 - 8:30 p.m. which is hosted by our very own Joseph Abruzzese '69. Head Coach Kevin Willard and I look forward to an evening of food and drinks with our Pirate Blue faithful on the eve of the Tournament at one of Manhattan's most exclusive venues. Contact Jay Judge from the Pirate Blue office for more details at 973-275-2202 or via email jay.judge@shu.edu.

The Pirate Blue Athletic Fund will also be hosting a BIG EAST Tournament reception on Wednesday, March 12 from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. at Hudson Station Bar and Grill located at 440 9th Avenue (between 34th and 35th Streets) in Manhattan. It is $40 per person to attend and includes open bar and hors d'oeuvres. Reserve your spot today by clicking here or call the Pirate Blue Office at 973-761-9154. We look forward to gathering all of our Pirates fans together again for what is always a great event!

Senior Days for Men's & Women's Basketball

With the regular season drawing to a close for our men's and women's basketball teams, this past week provided us with the opportunity to recognize our senior student-athletes for their contributions during their time at Seton Hall.

On Monday night head coach Kevin Willard in a pregame ceremony at the Prudential Center honored the five members of his senior class, Kevin Lynch, Fuquan Edwin, Aaron Geramipoor, Brian Oliver and Eugene Teague prior to a 71-62 win over Xavier. Tuesday the women's basketball team ended their regular season with a 62-50 victory against Xavier as Janee Johnson, Breanna Jones and Elaine Swaby were recognized by head coach Tony Bozzella before the game.

I want to thank each of these tremendous student-athletes for their commitment to Seton Hall University and wish them the best of luck over the remaining months of the academic semester and in their future as Seton Hall graduates and representatives of the University. Once a Pirate, always a Pirate.

Pirate Pride Challenge

The Pirate Pride Challenge is off to a successful start in its new bracket-style format for the 2014 fundraising competition between current and former student-athletes with all proceeds benefiting their respective athletic teams. The first round concluded over the weekend and we were thrilled with the overall support so far. The baseball, volleyball, men's basketball, golf, softball and women's soccer teams each advanced to the next round, while the remaining six programs that did not win the opening round still have a chance to stay alive in the 'Wild Card Region'. All former student-athletes who have yet to make a donation are encouraged to support your respective program with a minimum donation of $25. Current student-athletes can make an initial donation of $1 to participate in the challenge. Make sure you visit PiratePrideChallenge.com to follow the competition and learn more how you can support your team today!