Swarthmore returns to the college baseball scene
Luke Mutz is expected to lead the offense. | Photo: Swarthmore Athletics
Swarthmore had a good thing going before the pandemic. The club had some outstanding talent and started the 2020 season with a 10-2 record before the shutdown. 

"That roster was strong," head coach Matt Midkiff said. "We had a couple of big wins too, but then everything came to a halt." 

Adding to the disappointment was the fact the university elected not to play baseball last season, namely because of the uncertainty of the pandemic. 

"It was sad because a lot of guys just had their career end so suddenly," Midkiff said. "Some guys never had the proper send-off." 

The roster looks significantly different this year than when the Garnet last were on the field in 2020, but Midkiff contends this group of players is just as skilled. 

"I can't say enough good things about the talent we have now," Midkiff said. "As good as our club was, even going back to our squad in 2018 that went to the College World Series, I think the talent here now is perhaps even better." 

Luke Mutz is one of those talents to watch. The senior infielder carries a career .342 average over 49 games for the Garnet. Michael Sepe is another guy to keep an eye on. The senior infielder was named to the All-Centennial Second Team in 2019 after hitting .336 with 38 RBI's and nine stolen bases. 

"In seasons past, we had a definitive nine that we would go with nearly every day, and now those guys are in law school or working with a big-league team right now," Midkiff said with a laugh. "This group is talented, but it'll take some time for us to piece things together to get guys some experience. 

"What I would say is that our talent and depth right now is as good as it's ever been, but we just don't have that experience under our belt yet to know how these guys are going to perform." 

Swarthmore has 21 pitchers on the opening day roster, but only five have pitched an inning at the college level. 

"It's probably going to look like an assembly line for a lot of reasons," Midkiff said. "The talent is there, but there are some question marks, for sure." 

Senior right-hander Zach Camp is expected to lead the staff. The Georgia native tossed 13 1/3 innings in 2019 and surrendered just one run. He's worked primarily out of the bullpen in his career but is likely to see some time in Midkiff's rotation, especially early on. Behind Camp will be Edward Berry, a first-year right-hander out of Alabama. He also sits in the upper 80's with solid movement on his pitches. 

"He's a really polished pitcher and was named High School Pitcher of the Year during his senior season in Alabama," Midkiff said. "He then went on and had a great year in the Florida League and then went up and pitched in the Northwoods League." 

There could be some early bumps along the way, but the baseball program at Swarthmore appears to be in a good position to move forward. 

The Garnet open the 2022 season with a doubleheader on Saturday against Montclair State in Aberdeen, MD. The club will return home and open the home portion of the schedule on Feb. 26 with a contest against Eastern. 

"We're excited to get things going," Midkiff said. "There's a ton to like here right now."

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