SE: Baseball Begins Big 12 Slate

K-State baseball (11-10) opens its Big 12 slate tonight with a three-game series against No. 19 Oklahoma State (14-7) at Tointon Family Stadium. 

“You like to say it is a new season, but it depends on our kids tomorrow, how they approach it and if they give the effort and the competitiveness while we clean up the little things inside the game that are costing us right now,” said Wildcat head coach Brad Hill yesterday afternoon. 

The Wildcats enter tonight’s 6 p.m. matchup against the Cowboys with hopes of snapping a four-game losing skid. K-State dropped three games to Western Carolina over the weekend and fell in a close 5-4 decision at Creighton on Tuesday evening. 

Yet despite the slump, Wildcat head coach Brad Hill is confident his team will get back into the swing of things heading into Big 12 play. 

“Last night (against Creighton), we gave tremendous effort,” continued Hill on Wednesday. “We played extremely hard. It’s just the little things inside the game that are still getting us. The three-run inning (in the fourth), and it should have been one. We got to get it cleaned up. The thing is, you cannot keep harping on it and thinking about it because this has to be a reaction game. It can’t be a thinking game. Right now, we have a lot of ‘thinking’ going on. We’re a split-second slow reacting on some things.” 

So far this season the Wildcats are led by junior second baseman Jake Wodtke whose .377 batting percentage ranks tied for third-best in the Big 12. Wodtke’s 29 hits, meanwhile, are tied for fourth in the conference while his 24 runs scored are a league-best. 

Along with Wodtke, both senior outfielder Clayton Dalrymple (.317 batting average) and junior first baseman Jake Scudder (.282 batting average) have also been impressive on the offense as Dalrymple’s nine bases stolen are a Big 12-best and Scudder’s 20 RBI are tied for fifth best in the conference. 

Senior right-handed pitcher Levi MaVorhis is slated to kick off the series on the mound tonight for the Wildcats. Mavorhis, who holds a 3-0 record in his five starts, boasts a 2.60 ERA along with 34 strikeouts – third-most in the Big 12. 

Oklahoma State enters tonight’s game having won 12 of their last 14 games and boast one of the Big 12’s toughest pitching staffs. The Cowboys own a Big 12-best 2.29 ERA and have struck out the most batters in the conference with 178 – a mark which is just seven more than the K-State pitching staff. 

“Number one, they are well-coached,” said Hill on Oklahoma State. “(Head coach) Josh Holliday has done a great job with that program. They are going to be fundamentally well-sound. They have a good mix. They can play the small ball and then they can crank it up a little bit, get some stolen bases. Their offense is multi-dimensional. Some guys in the middle (of the lineup) have some good power. (Pitching coach) Rob Walton has been one of the best in the business for a lot of years. He makes that pitching staff extremely dangerous. That will put more pressure on us if we don’t give them unnecessary runs.” 

Tonight’s game can be watched on FS1 or fans can listen to the action, with Matt Walters and Brian Smoller, on News Radio KMAN (93.3 FM/1350 AM) or online here. 

For game notes, ticket information and more on tonight’s game, please click here. 

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 Kelly McHugh-Stewart, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.