Oct. 6, 2012
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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 — With more than half of the University of Iowa baseball team’s roster consisting of first or second year players, UI head coach Jack Dahm is using fall ball to get back to the basics.
“With so many young players, we really slowed up fall baseball and got back to not taking anything for granted in terms of teaching,” said Dahm, who is entering his 10th year the Hawkeye head coach. “We really slowed it up the first week with basic fundamentals, which has allowed our freshmen to pick up some things.”
Twenty of the team’s 31 players on the roster are underclassmen, including nine true freshmen and 11 sophomores. Dahm is excited about athleticism on the Hawkeye roster and the growth the players have made since last spring.
“The nice thing about our returning players is they have all gotten better over the summer,” said Dahm. “If you look at the improvements of Nick Day, Eric Toole, Jake Yacinich and Taylor Zeutenhorst, and all our position players, I think we’ve made some nice progress from last spring to this fall.”
“We approached the game with a sense of confidence, and I like the way we swung the bats. This is a very athletic team, and we’re going to be able to score runs a couple of different ways. Last year we were more athletic with all those freshmen out there. Now they’re a year older, strong and wiser, and they’re going to be able to do things a little better on the field.”
UI head coach Jack Dahm
The Hawkeyes grew over the summer by sending 16 players to compete in six various collegiate summer leagues. Junior Jake Mangler was a Prospect League All-Star after batting .320 with 13 doubles for the Hannibal Cavement. Toole led the Petersburg Generals in batting average (.317), on-base percentage (.393) and steals (17), Day hit for the cycle for the Quincy Gems, and sophomores Andrew Hedrick (Northwoods League) and Anthony Torres (Southern California Collegiate Baseball League) were all-star selections.
Iowa opened its fall ball season with a 12-3 victory over Black Hawk College on Sept. 30 at Duane Banks Field. Dahm liked the team’s approach and offensive production in the victory, as the team pounded out 15 hits with four Hawkeyes tallying multi-hit games.
“We approached the game with a sense of confidence, and I like the way we swung the bats,” said Dahm. “This is a very athletic team, and we’re going to be able to score runs a couple of different ways.
“Last year we were more athletic with all those freshmen out there. Now they’re a year older, strong and wiser, and they’re going to be able to do things a little better on the field.”
Dahm says the team has made progress since the start of fall ball practice.
“Over the last week, we’ve gotten a lot better,” he said. “We have made steady progress on the field, in the weight room and displayed a work ethic we need to have in order to be successful.”
Dahm is looking for the same approach out of the Hawkeyes during this weekend’s two-game series at Creighton.
“Our guys approached the field expecting to win (against Black Hawk),” said Dahm. “We need to walk in with that same confidence this weekend against a very good team that plays hard. I want to see our guys respond to that, not get out-played nor out-hustled, and continue to get better.”
Today’s game against Creighton is set to begin at 11:30 a.m., while Sunday’s finale is set for 10 a.m. Both games will be held at the CU Sports Complex.