Feb. 8, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – – The University of Iowa baseball team kicked off its season Monday night at the second annual Steak Fry. The event gave Hawkeye fans a chance to meet the team, get photos and autographs of their favorite Hawkeye, enjoy a nice meal and support the Iowa baseball program by bidding on donated sports memorabilia items.
Head Coach Jack Dahm was all smiles Monday night as he introduced his team to the community.
“It was a great turnout tonight,” said the eighth-year Iowa head coach. “We’ve had great support over the last seven-eight years from the community. This is a great event for Hawkeye fans and families to enjoy. There were a lot of kids here tonight getting autographs and photos with the players.”
Zach McCool is one of seven seniors on this year’s squad and is looking forward to the start of the year.
“This event is a great way to get fans excited about the season,” said the starting third baseman. “We look at this as a way to get us rolling and kickoff the season. The first week of practice has gone well; we’re getting better every day. The pitchers are throwing strikes and our defense is playing well right now. We’re excited to get started next weekend.”
Pitcher Patrick Lala is in his first season with the Black and Gold, and was impressed with the turnout and support.
“This is great,” said Lala. “This is an awesome event for all our fans to come out and meet the team, and for us to have a good meal, meet the fans who come to our games and cheer us on.”
Like McCool, Lala said the first week of practice went well and the intensity level has been extremely high each day.
“We are super pumped to get down to Florida next weekend and to be able to play games outside,” added Lala. “The coaches are pushing us hard and everyone is striving to be the best.”
Coach Dahm is proud of his players’ hard work in practice and extra time they give off the field in the community.
“Our guys do such a good job in the community,” said Dahm. “This event is another example of their commitment and passion to the program, and the community.”
Iowa returns seven starters and 10 pitchers from a team that won 11 of its last 14 games to finish third in the Big Ten and ultimately finish runner-up at the Big Ten Tournament a year ago.
The Hawkeyes play on the road in Florida, Mississippi, Kansas and Texas the first month of the season before returning to Iowa City to warmer weather and opening play at Duane Banks Field March 25 against Western Illinois. Iowa is front-loaded with Big Ten home games starting April 1 against Michigan State. Three of Iowa’s first four Big Ten sets will be in Iowa City and Coach Dahm said getting off to a good start is crucial to having a successful season.
Adults can purchase season tickets for only $25 for a reserved seat and $15 for general admission, while UI students and children get in free.
“We need you in the stands again this year,” Dahm said to the crowd Monday night. “Playing in front of a packed house at Duane Banks Field really energizes our guys. We truly appreciate all the support you have given us. If you come out and watch our guys play, I guarantee you will enjoy the way they play. They’re going to play hard and battle.”
To see exclusive video from last night’s Steak Fry, become an Iowa Baseball facebook friend at facebook.com/iowabaseball. The facebook page will be the place to visit after every game this season for exclusive postgame videos with Coach and players.