Notes: K-State Opens Home Schedule against UAPB
Notes: K-State Opens Home Schedule against UAPB
AT THE PLATE
Following an eight-game road trip, K-State opens its home schedule this weekend with a three-game series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Tointon Family Stadium ... The Wildcats (4-4) split their four-game series at UC Riverside to start the season and then went 2-2 against Pac-12 opponents No. 5 Oregon State and Utah last weekend in Surprise, Arizona ... UAPB (0-8) is winless on the season as the Golden Lions were swept in a three-game set against North Dakota State, dropped a midweek contest against then-No. 17 TCU, and then lost all three matchups against Southeast Missouri State before losing at Missouri on Wednesday ... The first and only time prior to this weekend that the Wildcats faced a team from the SWAC was in 2010 when they beat Grambling State (W, 9-8) at the Fayetteville Regional.
LAST TIME OUT
K-State played four games last weekend at Surprise Stadium, the spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, and dropped back-to-back games against No. 5 Oregon State but then bounced back with consecutive wins against Utah ... In the two games against the Beavers, K-State was outscored 21-5, but in the two contests against the Utes, the Wildcats outscored their opponent 29-6 ... The Wildcats held the lead after the sixth and seventh innings against Oregon State on Thursday, but three unearned runs in the top of the eighth proved decisive ... K-State fell to the Beavers on Friday in its largest shutout loss since 2002 ... The Wildcats set then-season-highs in runs (9) and hits (10) in the win vs. Utah on Saturday, only to have those bested the next day ... K-State’s 20-4 win against Utah featured the Wildcats’ most runs in a game since 2014 (24 vs. Northern Colorado) and widest margin of victory also since 2014 (17-2 vs. Air Force).
INSIDE THE UAPB SERIES
This is the first meeting between K-State and UAPB.
NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
First baseman Jake Scudder hit .500 and drove in seven runs in last week’s five games, helping him earn the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week award for the period ending February 28 ... The Iowa Western CC transfer had hits in all five games as well as multi-hit efforts in four of the five contests ... He also walked six times, allowing him to post a .600 OBP ... He reached base safely three or more times in four of the five games ... The junior was among the Big 12’s overall top-five for the week in doubles, hits, OBP, RBI, walks and batting average ... He is the first Wildcat to earn a Big 12 weekly honor this season ... Dating back to last April, a Wildcat has earned the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week five of the last eight times.
K-State is aiming to stretch its winning streak to four in home openers ... The Wildcats have won each of their last three home openers, a streak that includes wins over Oakland (2013), Iowa (2014) and Santa Clara (2015) ... K-State has won six of its last seven home openers ... It has also won all 12 of its season-opening series in the Brad Hill era (since 2004).
HITTING THEIR STRIDE IN MARCH
In the Brad Hill era, K-State holds a 168-26 (.866) record against non-conference opponents at home ... In the month of March, K-State is 115-15 against non-conference teams in Manhattan since 2004, good for an .885 winning percentage ... The Wildcats have won 21 of their last 23 games against non-conference teams at home in March, a stretch that dates back to their 4-3 win over Minnesota on March 20, 2013 ... In that 23-game stretch, K-State’s average margin of victory is 6.5 runs.
K-State has hit four home runs so far in its eight games this season, including three during the four-game set at Surprise Stadium ... Last year, K-State did not hit its fourth home run until its 24th game of the season (5th home run: 37th game) ... K-State hit a program-low eight home runs in 2015 ... Also, four different Wildcats have a homer this year, matching the number of Wildcats from all of 2015.
LAW OF AVERAGES
K-State enters the weekend featuring three hitters with batting averages above .350: Jake Wodtke (.400), Jake Scudder (.385) and Clayton Dalrymple (.355) ... This marks the first time since 2010 that K-State has a trio of batters with clips of .350 or higher through the first eight games ... Wodtke, who is fifth in the Big 12 in batting average, is the first Wildcat to bat .400 through the first eight games since Austin Fisher (.423, 11-for-26) in 2013 ... In addition to Wodtke, Scudder entered the week in the Big 12’s top-10 for batting average (T-8th).
The Wildcats have scored 29 runs over their last two games, a figure helped by the team batting .433 (13-for-30) with runners in scoring position over that stretch ... In the first six games of the year, K-State batted .222 (10-for-45) with runners in scoring position and averaged 3.33 runs/game.
K-State is hitting .330 (31-for-94) with two outs so far this season ... Four of the five Wildcats with at least nine two-out at-bats - Clayton Dalrymple, Jake Scudder, Steve Serratore and Jake Wodtke - are hitting above .455 ... Wodtke is the team leader, going 7-for-9 (.778) with two outs.
STARTING OFF RIGHT
The K-State pitching staff is currently being led by its starters, who have a combined ERA of 2.90 ... Levi MaVorhis (1.46 ERA over 12.1 IP) and Corey Fischer (1.64, 11.0 IP) each have ERAs under 2.00 ... The four starting pitchers have combined to throw 40 1/3 innings ... The starters have pitched into the sixth inning in six of the eight contests (Last year: five times in the first eight).
PUTTING THEM AWAY
K-State pitchers are third among Big 12 teams in strikeout-to-walk ratio ... The Wildcats, with a 2.91 K/BB rate, trail West Virginia (4.09) and TCU (3.50) ... The pitching staff is led by Colton Kalmus, who is tied for fourth in the conference with 13 strikeouts ... MaVorhis also has double-digit strikeouts (10).