K-State Enters Final Weekend of Regular Season at Baylor
K-State Enters Final Weekend of Regular Season at Baylor
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State enters the final weekend of the regular season with a three-game conference series beginning Thursday against Baylor at Baylor Ballpark in Waco, Texas.
K-State (27-25, 6-15 Big 12) sits a half game behind Oklahoma State for the eighth and final spot in the Big 12 Championship. The Wildcats have taken the season series with Baylor (33-17, 11-10) in each of the last three seasons, including claiming the only road series win in program history in 2015.
The Wildcats will send Justin Heskett, Parker Rigler and Kasey Ford to the hill for the crucial series which begins Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Every game can be seen on the FOX Sports family of networks
Thursday’s and Friday’s games will be broadcast on FOX Sports-Plus with Saturday’s finale shown on FOX Sports Southwest at 2 p.m. Fans can also listen to the action between the Cats and Bears on local radio at KMAN 1350 and 93.3 FM, and streaming free at k-statesports.com.
A LOOK AT K-STATE
Kansas State (27-25, 6-15 Big 12) dropped two of three games to rival Kansas over the weekend in Lawrence and fell Tuesday night at Wichita State, 3-2 ... The Shockers’ Luke Ritter hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off K-State reliever Tyler Eckberg to give WSU the one-run victory ... The Wildcats led 2-0 after the second inning, but were unable to hold the lead, having just three hits over the game’s final seven innings ... K-State finished its home campaign with a 19-13 home record, its most home victories since 2014 (27) ... K-State dropped the first two games of the Sunflower Showdown before salvaging the series finale on Sunday, 10-3 ... Behind Kasey Ford’s seven shutout innings, the Wildcat offense pounded out 10 runs on 15 hits and scored at least one run in seven innings ... K-State held early leads in games one and two before dropping two tightly contested games, 5-4 and 6-4, respectively ... The Cats sit a half game behind Oklahoma State for eighth place in the Big 12 standings and the final spot in the Big 12’s postseason tournament.
A LOOK AT BAYLOR
Baylor (33-17, 10-10 Big 12) has won six straight games and nine of its last 10 games overall after sweeping Oklahoma State in Stillwater last weekend and a mid-week victory over UTSA ... BU is second in the Big 12 in hitting with a .293 average and slugging at .433 ... On the mound, the Bears are one of just three teams with an ERA under 4.00 at 3.81 ... Offensively, BU is paced by Aaron Dodson, who leads the team in all three triple crown categories: .327 batting average, nine home runs and 34 RBI ... Starting pitcher Montana Parsons’ 2.49 ERA ranks fourth in the Big 12.
A LOOK AT THE SERIES
K-State trails the all-time series with Baylor, 23-43, with a 19-39 record as Big 12 opponents ... In Waco, K-State is 6-26 all-time, but has won the last two games at Baylor Ballpark ... K-State’s series win in 2015 was the first road series victory in program history ... The Wildcats have taken two of three games from Baylor each of the last three seasons and are 7-3 over the last 10 games in the series ... Under head coach Brad Hill (since 2004), the Cats are 20-25 against Baylor.
K-State head coach Brad Hill collected career victory No. 436 Saturday, April 22 vs. West Virginia (8-4) ... Hill surpassed longtime K-State head coach Mike Clark’s program record of 435 wins ... Clark was the program’s longest tenured head coach from 1987-2003 (17 seasons) ... Hill is in his 14th season at the helm of the Wildcats ... Senior reliever Jordan Floyd appeared in his 87th career game on Friday, April 28 vs. ACU, setting the program record for most career appearances ... Will Brennan (.355) is on pace to break K-State’s freshman hitting record which was set in 1973 (.346) ... K-State’s team batting average against of .257 is on pace to be the team’s best since 1976.
Jake Scudder is the Big 12 leader with 58 runs batted in second with 13 homers and third in slugging at .553 this season ... No Wildcat has ever finished a season as the Big 12 leader in homers, RBI or slugging ... The 13 bombs are a new career high for Scudder after hitting seven last season ... The 13 homers are the most by a K-State hitter in a single season since 2010 when Carter Jurica hit 13 ... The senior first baseman leads the teams in homers for the second straight season after posting seven in 2016; no Wildcat has led the team in home runs in consecutive seasons since Pat Maloney did it from 2001-03.
BIG 12 RANKS
Will Brennan is third in the Big 12 in hitting at .355 and on-base percentage at .456 ... Jake Scudder is the league leader with 58 RBI, second in the Big 12 in with 13 home runs and sixth in slugging at .553 ... Freshman Cameron Thompson has the fourth-most hits in the conference with 65 ... Jake Wodtke’s 12 stolen bases are fifth in the Big 12 ... Senior reliever Nick Jones ranks fourth with 28 appearances while fellow senior Jordan Floyd’s 10 saves rank fifth in the Big 12.
Freshman RHP Kasey Ford had his best outing of the season in the series finale at KU Sunday ... Ford tossed seven scoreless innings and sprinkled four base hits without allowing a walk ... The performance by the 6-foot-6 Arkansas native earned him Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, becoming the first freshman be earn the distinction in program history ... He is the fifth Wildcat to earn a conference weekly honor, joining Will Brennan (twice), Jake Scudder and Parker Rigler.
K-State’s Justin Heskett and Parker Rigler will make their 14th consecutive weekend starts this weekend (every weekend of season) ... Both Heskett and Rigler lead the team with 13 starts and rank first and second in innings pitched and strikeouts and are responsible for 10 of the team’s combined 13 quality starts (6 IP, 3 ER or fewer) ... The duo rank in the league’s top five in innings pitched ... Rigler’s batting average against (.243) is No. 10 in the Big 12.
So far in 2017, K-State has hit 47 home runs (eclipsing 2016’s total of 30) in 52 games and had 20 through its first 13 games ... The 47 dingers are two shy of Oklahoma’s 49 who lead the Big 12, and are the most by a K-State team since 2009 when it posted 58 ... K-State’s 47 home runs in 52 games is its fastest rate since 1999 ... The Cats have hit four bombs in a single game four and have had one five-homer game ... Five times a Wildcat has posted a multi-homer game and the team has combined to hit three grand slams ... In 2016, K-State had just one multi-homer game (Tyler Wolfe) ... Before this season, K-State had not had a grand slam since 2013 ... Quintin Crandall and Grant Reuben have gone back-to-back twice this season and as a team, has done so three times ... Before this year, K-State had not had back-to-back homers since 2012.
Freshman Will Brennan has taken over the title of K-State’s best hitter ... Brennan has catapulted himself into third on the Big 12 hitting list with his .355 average ... Brennan is challenging the freshman batting average record of .346 set in 1973 (Steve Anson) ... The Stilwell, Kansas, native also third in the Big 12 in OBP (.456) ... The left-handed outfielder also remains the toughest hitter to strikeout in the conference, with one strikeout every 15.4 at-bats , 20th-best in the NCAA among qualified hitters ... Brennan also leads the team with a .455 (20-for-44) average with runners in scoring position.
BY THE NUMBERS
K-State is 10-6 in one-run games this season (3-10 in 2016) ... The Wildcats won their first seven games decided by one run but are 3-6 in the last nine such games ... K-State has three wins when trailing or tied after eight innings this season after going 0-26 in the same situations last season ... K-State has a +27 run differential this season (307-282) ... This season, K-State is hitting .295 with runners in scoring ... K-State is 26-13 this season when scoring at least three runs and 1-12 when scoring two or fewer ... The Cats are 21-11 when scoring first and 15-8 when scoring in the first inning ... When hitting a home run, K-State is 15-8 ... The Wildcats are 20-1 when leading after six innings, suffering its first such loss Saturday at KU ... Five times this season K-State has been shut out while shutting out opponents four times.