Zeutenhorst Hitting His Stride

May 5, 2011

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 — Taylor Zeutenhorst was selected in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, but instead chose to attend the University of Iowa and play baseball for head coach Jack Dahm.

The freshman outfielder, who was drafted in the 41st round by the Philadelphia Phillies, has been a lifelong Iowa fan and knows he has a great opportunity to play baseball for the Hawkeyes and attend the University of Iowa.

“It is great to get my education here at Iowa and play baseball for the Hawkeyes,” said Zeutenhorst, who is a native of Sheldon, Iowa. “I have been a Hawkeye fan for as long as I can remember.”

Dahm is excited to have the talented freshman in Iowa City.

“Taylor has a ton of talent,” said Dahm. “He has a very bright future and he showed that this past weekend when he came up with two big hits on Saturday with hits to tie the game and give us the lead. He almost hit a ball out of the park Sunday.”

Zeutenhorst has seen more playing time of late, and that coincided with strong performances last week at Minnesota.

The former two-time Iowa all-state honoree collected four hits and five RBI last week. Zeutenhorst went 2-for-2 with three RBI in Saturday’s 12-inning loss at Minnesota. The rookie delivered two clutch RBI singles, both with two outs. The first was a pinch-hit two-RBI single to pull Iowa within one of the Big Ten rival (3-2), while the other gave the Hawkeyes a brief 4-3 advantage in the top of the 10th. He added a two-RBI single in Sunday’s 7-1 win over the Gophers.

Playing in the Big Ten Conference provides student-athletes with a number of unique opportunities that they might not otherwise have. Zeutenhorst was able to enjoy an especially unique chance last weekend.

The Hawkeyes battled their conference rivals at Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins. For Zeutenhorst, this was a special experience, as he has an allegiance to the team.

“It was awesome, kind of like a mini-dream come true,” said Zeutenhorst. “It was cool knowing that some of my favorite players play there.”

The former Sheldon High School standout, who is seeing action in the outfield as a freshman, had his best performances under the big lights.

For Dahm, this comes as no surprise.

“Taylor is such a good athlete,” said the eighth-year Hawkeye head coach. “He is one of the fastest guys on the team, throws the ball 90 miles per hour, to go along with a big league body and big league tools. He has a very bright future.”

Thirty-seven of Dahm’s players have been selected in the MLB Draft. When Zeutenhorst is eligible for the draft next time around, he could see Zeutenhorst’s name called again.

“When he is draft eligible as a junior, I think he has a chance to be someone who can play this game for a long time,” said Dahm. “We had some guys over the weekend at Target Field that you could see playing again at the venue in the near future. He has a lot of work ahead of him, but Taylor can go as far as he wants with the game of baseball.”

Zeutenhorst and the Hawkeyes host Penn State this weekend in their final Big Ten home series of the season. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. on Friday. The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions will also play Saturday at 2:05 p.m. and Sunday at noon. Saturday’s game will be televised live on Big Ten Network (HD).