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Diamond Cats Look to 'Repair" in Some Areas

By Mark Janssen    

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Stinging from a 2-2 weekend against Long Island University, Kansas State baseball coach Brad Hill says, "It's time to repair some things after taking a couple losses that we shouldn't have."

Starting tonight at 6:30 when the Nebraska Cornhuskers come to Tointon Family Stadium, Hill said, "I want to see a much more focused team on how we approach the game and making sure we understand what it takes to be successful."

Detailed, Hill continued, "We have to play nine innings, be more consistent in stringing together more quality at-bats, getting some of our guys on base a higher percentage of the time, and finding a way to score people from third base."

After a 14-2 opening win over Long Island this past Friday when Hill said the Wildcats played as well as they have all year, K-State managed to plate just 10 runs and hit .247 over the next 25 innings in winning a 3-0 game, but losing games 4-2 and 6-5. In the Sunday game the Wildcats left 14 runners stranded on base.

"You have to find a way to get a ground ball to the right side of the infield or a fly ball to score a run," said Hill. "We didn't do that this last week."

Also disturbing was the fact that K-State allowed a three-run inning on Saturday and a five-run frame on Sunday.

"With the bats the way they are today, a five-run inning is almost like a 10-run inning in recent years," said Hill. "When you give up a five-spot in the middle of the game, it's hard to recover."

Hill added, "It was a very humbling weekend for us. It showed our maturity level is not very high right now. Guys aren't cherishing the opportunity to be out there with the opportunity to play."

While discouraged with the weekend play, Hill said it didn't come as a total surprise.

"We felt this coming. We haven't played very well throughout. We haven't established an identity of who we are and that finger points directly back at me," he said. "We're a different team than last year with different personnel, but how we approach our preparation to play should not change."

Hill indicated that Justin Lindsey (2-1, 4.09) would likely start against NU, but also expected to use Shane Conlon (0-0, 13.50), Jake Doller (0-0, 9.00), Levi Schlick (0-1, 10.45) and Tyler Sturges (0-0, 2.25) for three to six outs.

K-STATE LEADERS: 2010 Big 12 Co-Player of the Year Nick Martini is picking up right where he left off last season by hitting .415 through the first 15 games.

"Nick's doing a very nice job offensively, but we need some other guys to step up and help him," said Hill

Other regulars above .300 are Ryan Moore (.313), Jared King (.306) and Chase Graskewicz (.300).

As to several others hovering around the .250 mark resulting in a team batting average of .271, Hill said, "We have some guys pressing. They've invested a lot, but right now not meeting their own expectations, or the expectations from outside sources. It can become a mental battle. You try to help them out, but in the end it has to be them. We have a lot of guys pressing when you look at our numbers."

NEBRASKA ON THE 2012 BOOKS: Hill says that while Nebraska heads toward the Big Ten Conference in 2011-12, the Wildcats will continue to play the Cornhuskers in non-conference games starting in 2012.

UP NEXT: K-State opens Big 12 play at Texas this weekend with games at 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

BIG 12 STANDINGS: Oklahoma 16-1; Oklahoma State 12-3; Texas A&M 12-4; K-State 11-4; Baylor 11-5; Texas 11-5; Texas Tech 11-6; Nebraska 9-6; Kansas 7-8; Missouri 7-9

    
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.