2012 Baseball Season Preview
SWARTHMORE, Pa. - The 2011 season was a rollercoaster ride for the Swarthmore baseball team. The Garnet won 20 games for the second year in a row for the first time in program history -- including a historic sweep of national powerhouse Johns Hopkins -- but missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker. In 2012, the team looks to rebound from its 2011 finish and continue the team's multi-year streak of success and improvement.
Even though the 2011 team graduated seven seniors, the Garnet return a core of key contributors who will be looking to improve. Four All-Centennial honorees remain on the roster - junior outfielder Rory McTear, a second-team selection, hit .350 last year and cracked the Conference top five in runs scored; sophomore designated hitter Nicko Burnett put up an impressive .389/.500/.528 triple slash last season and was one of only two freshmen to be named All-Conference in 2011; senior catcher Mike Waterhouse, an honorable mention, hit .386 and led the team with 49 hits, breaking Swarthmore's career hits record in the process; and senior second baseman Anthony Montalbano, named to the All-Conference team for the third straight season, led the team with .538 slugging percentage.
Senior first baseman Michael Cameron and senior third baseman Spencer Ross will provide significant contributions from the corner spots; Cameron led the team with three home runs last year while sporting a .504 slugging percentage, and Ross has proven a steady defensive hand at third. Junior outfielder Tim Kwilos looks to improve on a sophomore season in which he posted a .410 on-base percentage. Senior catcher and designated hitter Matt Lamb hit .361 in limited action last season, and senior Miles Santo hopes to return from a 2011 injury. With the graduation of former starting shortstop Thomas Nakamura '11, sophomore Nick Constantino will be given the opportunity to showcase his talent at shortstop. The team will also look to replace the production of Ben Schneiderman '11, who hit .302 and played a capable center field in his senior season.
The Garnet also returns a pitching rotation that looks to take strides in 2012. Senior Ignacio Rodriguez served as the team's ace last season, sporting a 5-1 record with a 3.45 ERA and highlighted by a 2-0 shutout of Johns Hopkins and a 10-strikeout performance against SUNY-IT. Senior Zach Weiner provided solid innings for the Garnet, collecting four wins and a respectable 4.50 ERA. Sophomore Grant Johnson put up a 2.19 ERA in 24.2 innings in his freshman season and will start regularly in 2012, and junior closer Ramsey Walker will follow up a sophomore year in which he broke the Garnet's single-season saves record. Senior Kyle Crawford will continue to get significant playing time, and junior Sean Mangus and senior Adam Hardy will round out the bullpen.
A crop of 11 freshmen will also help the Garnet in its push towards a Centennial title. New to the lineup are Dylan Jeffers, Brian Kaissi, Trevor Shepherd, Danny McMahon, Zach Powell, Joseph Rizzo, Gregory Cox and Scoop Ruxin. First-year pitchers include Luke Alventosa, Colton Aho and Samer Nashed.
The Garnet will open the 2012 season with a doubleheader at Catholic University on Saturday, February 26. The spring break trip to Arizona begins on March 3, with games scheduled against Pitt-Bradford, Bethany Lutheran, St. John's (Minn.) and, Presentation. Swats returns home on March 10 and play a game at Penn St. Brandywine on March 11 (3:00 PM).
On March 27, Swarthmore travels to Haverford for its Centennial Conference opener (3:30). The team's schedule is highlighted by a home game against Tri-Co rival Haverford (March 30), a doubleheader on the road against Centennial Conference Champion Johns Hopkins (April 7, 12:30PM and 3:30 PM), and a Senior Day doubleheader against Franklin & Marshall (April 21, 12:30 PM and 3:30 PM).