At a university that just spent millions on a new pitching lab and baseball facilities, junior pitcher Morgan McSweeney looks to build on a storied history of pitchers at Wake Forest.
Rated one of the top pitchers from New England coming out of high school, he finished his senior season with five complete games in seven starts, going 5-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 40 innings. McSweeney then immediately made a splash at Wake Forest as a freshman, making 25 appearances as a rookie. He started once as a true freshman and struck out 48 batters with 18 walks in 36 innings. His 12 strikeouts per nine innings ranks fourth in program history for a season. He did allow just one home run, and some of his highlights include two shutout frames in the NCAA Super Regional at Florida and striking out five batters twice versus Davidson and Elon.
McSweeney’s sophomore year saw him climb the ranks from the bullpen to the Saturday stater. He finished the year with a 4.44 ERA and 66 batters struck out in 73 innings. His best game of the season came at Boston College, where he had six shutout frames with 11 strikeouts. He was on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list heading into the season. Now, with plenty of turnover in the roster, McSweeney looks to be a leader on the mound as one of the most veteran pitchers one the team.
Samantha Wexler: Walk me through last year’s season; how did the team feel about it and what did you all take away to build on?
Morgan McSweeney: I think overall, we were disappointed with our performance last season. Even though we were extremely talented, we just couldn’t find the chemistry to string together wins. This past season was humbling for all of us and motivated us as a group to take our preparation to the next level to get back and to exceed our success from 2018.
SW: All of the new facilities that just opened look absolutely immaculate; how will those help with the future of Wake Forest baseball?
MM: The new facilities have undoubtedly propelled Wake Forest to the top of college baseball. There aren’t many professional organizations that can compete with our facilities, let alone other college baseball programs. With the addition of our new facilities, Wake Forest baseball is one of the premiere programs in the country for player development and will be a top choice for many recruits.
SW: How will the pitching lab help with development and injury prevention in the preseason and throughout the season?
MM: The addition of the pitching lab has revolutionized our approach to pitching development. The data and feedback we have access to is not only vital in making sure our pitchers stay healthy and on the field but also in helping develop our mechanics so we can efficiently maximize our energy and get the most out of our bodies.
SW: What newcomers are particularly making a splash this year, and how are they contributing to all sides of the team?
MM: We have a ton of exciting new faces this season. Our freshman class is by far the most talented I have seen in my three years here, and a lot of them have opportunities to make really important contributions this season. We also added two second-semester freshmen, who have been outstanding additions to our team chemistry, and a transfer, Reese Robinson, who has a huge arm and is going to add serious depth to our pitching staff.
SW: There has been a very high standard of play under this coaching staff, what in particular do they bring to the program?
MM: Our coaches expect a lot out of us and are awesome at giving us all the tools we need to be successful. They have built a culture where we expect to compete for trophies every single season. Every day they teach us new ways to improve both as men and as baseball players. And obviously, their track record of player development speaks for itself.