April 30, 2011
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa —Driven. Confident. Coachable. Even-keeled. Those are some of the adjectives University of Iowa baseball head coach Jack Dahm used to describe sophomore Matt Dermody.
Dermody has emerged into one of Iowa’s most consistent starter this season. He has been dealing his last five outings, going seven-plus innings in four of his five starts, including throwing his first complete game against Indiana and going eight and two thirds against Michigan the last two weekends.
With a weekend rotation already established last season, Dermody saw a majority of his freshman starts during mid-week nonconference games. Pitching coach Chris Maliszewski believes his performances against Nebraska and Purdue in a Big Ten Tournament elimination game were turning points for the southpaw.
“Those were big games in terms of a confidence level knowing he can go out and really beat significant competition,” said Maliszewski. “I think those starts really set him on course to have the success he’s had this year.”
Dermody has posted impressive numbers in 2011. He ranks first on the team in strikeouts (55) and wins (4). The Norwalk, Iowa, native ranks second in the Big Ten in strikeouts (25) and tied for second in innings pitched in conference games (29.2). Dermody credits his success to having early command.
“Matt’s a special kid and we hope to have him for a long time. I know he’s destined for bigger and better things because of his work ethic, mentality and talent level is very high.”
Assistant coach Chris Maliszewski
“Getting first pitch strikes and being aggressive early in the count has been my approach,” Dermody said. “I rely a lot on my fastball, but I like my curve ball a lot too. I’ll use a change-up as well, which is good to keep the batters off balance.”
Maliszewski has been impressed with Dermody’s development and work ethic.
“From a talent level, he’s almost as good as we have,” said Maliszewski. “The experience and mentality of belief in himself has really been able to set him apart these last five outings. By far and away, he very well might be our hardest worker.”
Growing up in central Iowa, Dermody had several offers from various Southeastern Conference and Big 12 schools but he always knew where he wanted to continue his education and play collegiate baseball.
“I’ve always been a Hawkeye,” said Dermody. “I’ve always wanted to come here and help this program win.”
As a senior in high school, Dermody made national headlines when he became the first pitcher in Iowa history to strikeout all 18 batters faced in a six-inning perfect game. Dermody has never gloated about the accomplishment and his humble personality is a trait that is enduring to his coaches.
“That was something that he never got big-headed or bragged about,” said Maliszewski. “I don’t know if a lot of his teammates know he even did that in high school.”
“That’s in the past, and I don’t think about it too much now,” said Dermody about the perfect game.
Maliszewski and the Hawkeyes are glad to have one of the best southpaws in the conference take the mound every weekend.
“Matt’s a special kid and we hope to have him for a long time,” Maliszewski said. “I know he’s destined for bigger and better things because of his work ethic, mentality and talent level is very high.”
Dahm admires how Dermody carries himself, and handles success and adversity on the mound.
“Matt has developed a quiet confidence,” said Dahm. “He has learned how to pitch through difficult situations and handles success with class. He reminds me of a big leaguer in how he handles himself.”
Iowa has lost a number of close games, but Dermody believes the team is close to turning the corner.
“We’re going to click here real soon, I can just feel it,” said Dermody. “We’ve been on the other end of so many close games, and I can feel that we are going to get over this hump.”
Dermody takes to the mound for his 11th start of the year later today when Iowa plays the middle game of a three-game set at Minnesota. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Target Field.