Last Friday afternoon, freshman Dillan Dwyer accomplished something that not very many pitchers have a chance to experience in their baseball careers. Dwyer threw a no-hitter against Iowa in a 4-0 victory in game two of a four-game series.
Dwyer was two batters away from a perfect game. The Cyclones made one fielding error and Dwyer hit one batter throughout the course of seven shutout innings in which he struck out nine batters.
The Cyclones lost the first game 4-1, but that didn’t break Dwyer’s concentration as he started warming up with his headphones on in the sixth inning of game one.
The game was half over before Dwyer started to realize what he was on the verge of.
“About the fifth inning, I started realizing it could happen,” Dwyer said. “I had a lot of confidence going into the last two innings.”
Dwyer stuck out the side in the fifth inning, but had to go through the top of the order again before the game was over.
“I was almost shaking when I went out there for the seventh inning, I was so excited,” Dwyer said. “Pretty nerve-racking the whole game.”
ISU Club Baseball president and coach Aaron Hinnah also took notice of the potential no-hitter in the fifth inning.
“I think almost even unconsciously, I realized it earlier because whenever he would come off the mound all game long, I just kind of gave him a high-five, I didn’t really say anything to him,” Hinnah said. “He was doing his thing, I didn’t need to give him any advice. Anybody who’s around baseball knows when a guy’s in the zone like that you leave him alone. You don’t talk to him, you don’t mess with him.”
Superstition, which is prominent in baseball, influenced Dwyer’s behavior between innings after the third inning when he realized that the Hawkeyes were still without a hit.
“When you finish an inning, you go into the dugout and you do the exact same thing you did before, because you’re really superstitious,” Dwyer said. “I’d sit on the bench by myself, I don’t talk to anybody and the team doesn’t talk to you.”
Dwyer and ISU catcher Phil Johnson both didn’t talk about because they didn’t want to “jinx it.”
“You know the superstition, you don’t want to say anything, so I obviously kind of kept it to myself,” Johnson said. “I kind of put it out of my mind until we got to the top of the seventh and kind of focused on executing pitches, calling them at the right time and hopefully they were going to get themselves out.”
Hinnah was very “proud” of Dwyer after the game.
“That was kind of my first experience as coach having a young pitcher have such a phenomenal performance,” Hinnah said. “I can’t emphasize it enough how great it was to see him do what he did.”