April 3, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's April edition of Hawk Talk Monthly, the UI athletics department's online publication.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Ricky Sandquist didn't have anything to lose when approached about altering his pitching mechanics prior to his senior season with the University of Iowa baseball team.
After throwing over-the-top his entire playing career, UI head coach Jack Dahm approached Sandquist with the idea of dropping down to a three-quarter arm slot at the end of fall practice. The move was made with apprehension.
"I was a little hesitant because this summer I had a pretty good showing throwing over the top," said Sandquist. "I have been throwing the same way my entire life.
"We talked about it, and I didn't have anything to lose is the way they presented it to me. I was going to try it out, and if it didn't work then I just lost one day of practice."
Sandquist noticed the results from day one.
"I have worked my butt off for four years, and this is the first year I have really seen results. The two things you can control are your attitude and effort, and I try to bring those every day. It's nice being a senior and trying to lead this team, not just by my actions, but my performance. It is huge that I am a senior, putting it all together, laying it all on the line and setting an example for the younger guys."
UI senior Ricky Sandquist
"Right away, the first day I did it, it felt natural," he said. "My fastball is never straight, it is always has arm-side run, and my slider is pretty nasty down there too. That's probably the way I should have been throwing my whole life."
Dahm says the move has made Sandquist a different player, both physically and mentally.
"He had a ton of success inside (during practice) against our players," said Dahm. "They (our players) were talking about how filthy he was and how tough it was to hit him. He has gone out and had success and looks like a different player now."
After winning one game and posting an 8.91 ERA in his first three collegiate seasons, Sandquist's 2013 numbers are that of a "new" pitcher. He is 1-0 with a 1.14 ERA in 23 2/3 innings in eight appearance (two starts), allowing five runs (three earned) on 22 hits. He has 18 strikeouts to six walks.
Sanquist notched his second career win, throwing three innings of relief in a 4-2 victory at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. He also threw seven innings of scoreless relief in games against UALR and Wichita State before taking a no-decision in his first start of his senior season against West Virginia on March 10.
"I knew right away that I was a better pitcher making the change, but I didn't think the results would come that quick," said Sandquist. "I thought it would take time to get used to it. Right off the bat, I felt comfortable, and I built my confidence up too."
Dahm says Sandquists' success is proof that having the right attitude and constant work ethic pays off.
"He has worked so hard for us and is one of the most unselfish players in our program," said Dahm. "He deserves to be successful because he is such a great kid, works so hard and wants it more than anybody in our program. It has been fun to see him having the success he is having."
Sandquist says the 2013 season is four years in the making.
"I have worked my butt off for four years, and this is the first year I have really seen results," he said. "The two things you can control are your attitude and effort, and I try to bring those every day.
"It's nice being a senior and trying to lead this team, not just by my actions, but my performance. It is huge that I am a senior, putting it all together, laying it all on the line and setting an example for the younger guys."