Baseball Takes on a Tough Foe in TCU

With the first of the three-game series set to take place tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium, the Wildcats will look to stay poised this weekend against one of the top teams in the nation. 
"They're a great team with a great pitching staff," said K-State head coach Brad Hill of TCU. "It's going to be, for us, about trying to score some runs. However, at the same time, they create a lot of things offensively because they have a great team speed. They're a team playing with great confidence - TCU is always going to be dangerous."
K-State enters tonight's game coming off of a busy week where the team played in back-to-back exciting games. Starting on Tuesday evening with a close 5-4 loss in 10 innings to No. 23 Nebraska at home, the Wildcats then traveled to Papillion, Nebraska on Wednesday evening where they came together to defeat Omaha, 10-2, in what was a one-run ball game until the eighth inning.
"Coming off of the bottom of the 10th loss to Nebraska and then being able to bounce back against Omaha, it definitely gives us a confidence booster going into this weekend," said Wildcat right-handed pitcher Colton Kalmus, who is expected to start tonight for the Cats.  "I think it'll be a really good thing going into this weekend."
It was Wildcat shortstop Tyler Wolfe who came up big in K-State's win over the Mavericks as he led the team with a career-high three RBIs.
"He's been one of our most consistent guys, and that's not just with his hits," said Hill about Wolfe. "I don't think consistency just because he's on base. To me he's doing all the things: playing good defense, getting some walks, getting some hits for us. It's a combination of everything, and he's been consistent with it all."
In Wednesday evening's victory, K-State surged to its most runs in a true road game season by a big eighth inning that consisted of six runs thanks to five base hits and nine batters sent to the plate. 
"We finally got a couple hits, did some things we needed to do (at Omaha)," said Wolfe. "We got the bunts down, got the key situational hitting stuff down, and that was nice. That's kind of been our problem all year - not getting those big hits. Hopefully we can carry that on through the weekend."
No easy task ahead, TCU enters this weekend's series boasting the Big 12's best pitching staff and is tops in the conference with a 1.98 ERA. As a matter of fact, the Horned Frog pitching staff boasts two of the top three Big 12 pitchers in terms of ERA as Mitchel Traver (5-0, 0.99 ERA) and Alex Young (6-1, 1.03 ERA) are second and third, respectively. Throw in game two's probable starter Preston Morrison, who is eighth in the conference with a 2.36 ERA, and this weekend will be no easy task for the Wildcat hitters.
To go along with their talented arms, the Horned Frogs are also among the Big 12's best hitters, too. Helping TCU average 5.8 runs per game this season is the conference's top hitter, freshman Connor Wanhanen, who is batting .372 with seven stolen bases.
"I think just, all around, their whole lineup, they battle. They battle hard," said Kalmus. "They have good speed on the bases, a couple guys who can really hit the ball well and pretty hard. All around they don't really have a guy who puts them down."
After tonight's game, K-State and TCU will match up again tomorrow at 2 p.m., and also on Sunday at 12 p.m.
"It's really nice to be home," said Wolfe. "It's great to play in front of the home crowds - especially against a good team like TCU. I'd rather play them here than down there any day. It'll be fun. It's a challenge, but who doesn't love a challenge? This should be a good weekend." 
For more information on the Wildcats and this weekend's series, please click here
 

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