Baseball Concludes Big 12 Slate with Sunflower Showdown

This weekend's Sunflower Showdown will mark the final series of the regular season for both teams. With a spot in next week's 2015 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship up for grabs, the weekend has a bit of added intensity surrounding it. 
"You can't think of it that way, you just have to go out and play baseball," said K-State head coach Brad Hill when asked about the factors - the rivalry, the Big 12 postseason tournament - that make this series unique. "You have to treat this series like another weekend and really block out all the other things. Obviously, you want to play good baseball and play with a sense of urgency, but at the same time, you can't think about the 'what if's.'"
Only the top eight teams make it into the Big 12 Championship. With K-State fighting off the likes of KU, Baylor (20-28, 8-13 Big 12) and West Virginia (22-24, 7-12 Big 12) for the final three spots in the field, this weekend's series is a must-win for the Cats.
"This is a big series for us and a big series for them, too," said redshirt sophomore Jake Wodtke. "Both teams are fighting to get into the tournament, but while we're looking for a series win this weekend, we're taking it one game at a time. It's hard to look ahead and go a little too far in the future, but we're all trying to win; all fighting for our lives. Every win counts."
For Wodtke, a native of Shawnee, Kansas, and four other Kansas natives on this year's Wildcat roster - senior Mark Biesma (Lenexa), junior Tyler Moore (Shawnee), sophomore Jordan Floyd (Topeka) and freshman Sam Chadick (Overland Park) - taking part in this in-state rivalry is always an exciting time as a Kansan. 
"It's really cool," Wodtke continued with a smile. "As a kid, I'd always go to these games, so its even bigger now as a part of the team. I just want to do it right for the town. It's a big title for us, if we can take the Showdown, that'll be a good thing for us."
And it's not just the Kansas kids who understand the magnitude of the rivalry. The team's upperclassmen understand and feel it as well.
"I talked to the (team) after our practice, and I mentioned a few things (about the rivalry)," said Wildcat senior Shane Conlon. "I've had a lot of guys I've played with over the years text me and call me saying how important this weekend is. For the alumni and the fan base, everybody loves beating KU. It'll be a fun environment there, it always is. There's always a lot of purple in the stands, and they're very passionate about K-State. This one means a little extra to them."
K-State leads the all-time series against Kansas, 173-165-1, and this weekend's matchup marks the first time since 2011, when K-State swept KU, that the Jayhawks and the Wildcats will end the regular season playing against each other.
"You just have to line up and go play," said Hill. "I know one thing that (K-State has) done all year long, and that is play hard. They haven't quit. We've come up short a few times, unfortunately, but at the same time, I know the effort that this team is going to give because they've given it to us every time out there this year.  
K-State enters this weekend coming off a close series loss to the Oklahoma Sooners, while the Jayhawks lost a series to TCU.
With both teams ready to battle and give it their all, there's no doubt that this weekend's series is going to be an exciting one.
"It's always been a good rivalry since I've been here; they always play us tough and we play them tough," said Conlon. "This weekend, we're playing for our postseason life - both teams are - so I think it's going to be a good one."
For more information on this weekend's series, please click here
GREEN TIED FOR 13TH AT NCAA REGIONAL
Kansas State men's golfer Matt Green carded a 1-over par 73 Thursday to sit in a tie for 13th place following the first round of the 2015 NCAA San Diego Regional at the par-72, 6,947-yard Farms Golf Club.
Green enters the second round one shot out of the top 10 and four strokes behind the leaders. He played the first nine holes at 1-under par as he bogeyed Nos. 1 and 5 but bounced back with three birdies right before the turn.
To continue reading about Green, please click here
 

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