Dermody and defense don't falter in Hawkeye baseball's first game


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The Iowa baseball team knew it had a difficult weekend ahead before facing off against Kansas State, which has the No. 3 offense in the country.

But the Hawkeyes didn’t let that intimidate them and managed to hold the Wildcats to a single run in a 6-1 victory on April 12. It was the second game of Kansas State’s season that it was limited to 1 run; it’s a team that averages nearly 7 runs a game.

The Wildcats had a team batting average of .330 entering the series.

“It starts on the mound with the job Matt Dermody did against an outstanding offense,” Iowa head coach Jack Dahm said. “He kept them at bay and got in a good rhythm, and then we were able to come up with some clutch hits.”

The senior pitcher threw six innings and only allowed 5 hits, 1 run, and 2 walks, improving his record to 6-1. He struck out five of the 25 batters he faced.

“Derm has been pitching like that all year,” pitcher Nick Hibbing said. “He goes out there with a different mentality. It’s really hard to hit when he goes on his game. He likes to go into those games and take over.”

Dahm said Dermody set the tone of the game and that translated into a stronger performance from the fielders. The defense never faltered.

“I think when Derm goes out there, everybody wants to win for him,” Hibbing said. “… But we know that our defense is good, and the defense knows that we think they’re good, and then everybody starts to get on the same page.”

Iowa showed signs of the team it could be capable of being when its defense is intact. The victory was the first game for the Hawkeyes to go error-free since Feb. 23, when they defeated New Mexico, 6-2.

“A lot of that was the tone that Dermody set,” Dahm said. “Our guys weren’t back on our heels. We were aggressive and made some good defensive plays. When a pitcher is throwing strikes and pounding the strike zone, you get a little tempo to what you’re doing.”

Hibbing, who relieved Dermody in the seventh inning, was credited with the save. In the final three innings, the sophomore limited the Wildcats to 2 hits, 0 runs, and 1 walk, and he had 3 strikeouts.

“It was a good team performance, just all-in-all,” sophomore Taylor Kaufman said. “We came ready to play. Derm pitched his butt off. We just really came together as a team and wanted to stick it to a good offensive team in Kansas State.”

But the Black and Gold did not carry that momentum into their final two contests against the Wildcats, allowing them to accumulate 16 runs on 31 hits. Iowa lost both, falling 11-4 on April 13 and 5-3 Sunday.

“Not saying our mindset changed throughout the weekend, but I think maybe we lost focus throughout those games,” Kaufman said. “That was just the difference … That first game though, if we could play like that all the time, we’d be a real tough team to beat.”

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