Swarthmore Baseball On A Roll In 2018

The Garnet are 19-6 and tied for first in the Centennial Conference.

Matt Leon
April 12, 2018 - 3:46 pm
There's been lots to celebrate at Swarthmore this season as the Garnet are 19-6 this season.

Credit: Swarthmore College Athletics

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SWARTHMORE, PA (KYW Newsradio) - The 2018 season has been a good one so far for the Division III Swarthmore College Garnet.

Heading into a Friday home game with Muhlenberg, the Garnet are 19-6 and tied for first in the Centennial Conference with a 6-1 league mark. The team has already surpassed last season's win total when they finished 16-22. 

But head coach Matt Midkiff says a lot of the seeds of this season's success were planted in 2017.

"Last year we had a really young group," Midkiff tells KYW Newsradio, "and even though early on in the season we weren't getting the wins that we were looking for, we just tried to work on the process and continuing to get better and working hard. Those guys have grown up pretty quickly. Last year was one of my most fun seasons to coach, even though our record was one of the worst that I've had. It was just a lot of fun to work with those guys, help them grow and teach and I think we're seeing the benefits of that this year."

The Garnet started the season winning four straight at home and then they traveled to the Pacific Northwest during spring break. Midkiff says that trip was really important.

"We went to Washington and Oregon and my goal was to toughen us up a little bit," he says. "Everybody loves to go to Florida [to play early games] and lay on the beach, but we did a lot of traveling out there and played some really good teams. We were the visiting team in all ten games that we played and so the way that we responded during that trip and then subsequently after we got back, kind of showed me that these guys were tough and have what it takes I think to make a run."

Swarthmore is averaging more than eight runs a game this season and Midkiff says that is no accident.

"We've got a lot of guys that are contributing and just guys that are really buying into the approach that we're teaching and the philosophy that we're trying to implement and they are talented enough to do it," Midkiff says. "I think that's why we've had the success that we've had so far."

Midkiff says they are getting contributions up and down the lineup.

"[Sophomore outfielder] AJ Liu is a leadoff hitter for us," he says. "Very advanced baseball IQ kind of guy. [Sophomore] Cole Beeker, first baseman, three-hitter for us. [Junior outfielder] Charlie Levitt who is I think 109 pounds soaking wet, just set our single-season home run record with seven."

In addition to the home runs, Levitt is hitting .329 this season, while Liu check in at .304 and Beeker at .290.

On the mound, the pitching staff is anchored by a pair of ace starters,

"We have a sophomore, [left-hander] Sawyer Lake, who is our #1 starter," Midkiff says. "He was the rookie of the year in the conference last year from Texas. He's been fantastic. He's a Saturday guy for us as well as [junior right-hander] Ricky Conti from California. A lefty-righty combo and they've been really good on the weekend."

Lake is 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA while Conti is 5-2 with a 2.86 earned run average.

Swarthmore's game on Friday with Muhlenberg gets underway at 3:30pm.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.