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Iowa baseball looks to put the past behind them again

BY TOMMY REINKING | APRIL 30, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa baseball team has needed a short term memory often this season.

After another series defeat at the hands of another Big Ten opponent, the Hawkeyes must once again leave the past behind them and search for more victories. The team dropped two out of three to Minnesota over this past weekend.

“We just have to forget about it,” outfielder Eric Toole said. “I’ll wake up in the morning, get some lifting in, and go to the game [today] ready to play.”

Iowa has won two or more games in a row only three times this season. Its longest winning streak was a mere three games from March 8-10. Since that streak, the Hawkeyes have gone 9-16, although they have won three of their last six.

In comparison, the squad has had six losing streaks of two games or more this season with the longest being four games from March 23-31. Iowa hasn’t won a single series this season. The Hawkeyes have lost two of three games to six foes and been swept by one.

The “day after” in which the team works on issues after a loss has become an all too familiar routine for the club.

“We just move on,” catcher Keith Brand said. “We just have to come in and get our swings in and get refocused before Wisconsin-Milwaukee comes into town.”

The time the team got between the losses to Minnesota and the matchup against Wisconsin-Milwaukee today was short. The 9-5 loss occurred on Sunday, lift day for the team was Monday, and the squad takes to Banks Field at 6:05 p.m. today.

The possibility of players still having the loss fresh in their memory was rejected by head coach Jack Dahm, who said he prefers the team have a game relatively soon following a loss.

“It’s actually a positive to me,” he said. “The good thing about baseball is that you lose a game and you only have one day to sit on it, then you move on.”

Dahm pointed out that things were different earlier in the campaign. Near the beginning of the season, Iowa was 6-4, its most wins over .500 this season, and had outscored opponents 48-37. Since then the team has gone 9-16 and has been outscored by a 163-119 margin.

Dahm said the key to having the success they had earlier in the year is to go back to having fun again.

“I want these guys to have fun out here,” he said. “But it’s a grind for them right now, and they’re not having fun. They’re putting way too much pressure on themselves. We need to be able to enjoy the game. They’re good guys. It’s just been a hard game for us right now.”

One aspect of the game the team has been struggling with all season long has been defense. The Black and Gold have committed 69 errors in only 38 games. They rank 10th in the Big Ten, behind only Penn State, which has 70 miscues in the field.

It’s a weakness the Hawks know they have, and one Brand says they need to clean up against Milwaukee-Wisconsin.

“Having lots of errors and giving up a lot of runs is not going to win ball games,” he said. “We’ve got to be better than that if we want to win.”


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