Cats Head to NYY Spring Training Complex

Games 5-8
Kansas State (3-1)
vs. Seton Hall (0-3)
Feb. 23 12 p.m.

Kansas State (3-1)
vs. Ohio State (0-0)
Feb. 24 12 p.m.   Doubleheader

Kansas State (3-1)
vs. James Madison (0-0)
Feb. 25 12 p.m.

Yankee Player Development Complex Tampa, Fla.

Radio:
None

Internet:
Live stats of all four games will be available at
k-statesports.com

Series:
KSU vs. Seton Hall: 1-1 all-time; 1-1 at neutral site
KSU vs. Ohio State: 1-1 all-time; 1-1 at neutral site
KSU vs. James Madison: First meeting

Watch For: KSU Bullpen
K-State relievers so far this season are 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings of work. The bullpen is a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities and has held opponents to a .200 batting average.

Kansas State continues its season-opening 11-game road trip this weekend as it travels to Tampa, Fla., to face Seton Hall, Ohio State and James Madison in the Buckeye Classic. The weekend’s tournament, hosted by Ohio State, will use a three-team round-robin format with the exception of the Wildcats and Buckeyes squaring off in a doubleheader on Saturday. The games will be played at the Yankee Player Development Complex, which is the home of the New York Yankees’ spring training. The Wildcats, who are coming off a 3-1 opening weekend in Louisiana, participated in a similar tournament in 2005 when they played at both the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers’ spring training complexes in Phoenix and Surprise, Ariz. K-State opened the 2007 season with three straight wins over Penn State and Centenary before falling a little short on Sunday in last weekend’s 4-1 loss to Centenary. Seton Hall enters the weekend with an 0-3 mark after being swept by second-ranked and 2006 College World Series runner up North Carolina last weekend, while James Madison and Ohio State will both see their first action of the season in Florida.


 Noteworthy
Since 2004, Kansas State is 70-17 in non-conference games and 16-10 in the month of February.
Under Brad Hill, Kansas State is 54-30 when its starting pitcher goes six-plus innings.
The Wildcats also are 71-8 under Hill when out-hitting their opponent.
The Cats are also 62-19-1 under Hill when recording 10 or more hits.
Over the last three seasons, K-State is 78-5 when leading after seven innings and 60-21-2 when scoring first.
Outfielder Derek Bunker is currently riding a team-best four-game hitting streak.
Six of the Wildcats’ 15 total RBI this season have come with two outs.
Shortstop Eli Rumler currently ranks second in K-State history in career hit-by-pitches with 23.
Rumler also ranks eighth in school history with 12 career sacrifice bunts.
Defensively, Rumler also ranks eighth in school history with 294 career assists.
Rumler made his 100th career start in the season opener and now has 103 career starts.
Five Wildcats made their first career starts last weekend while 10 total players made their debut appearances.
Pitcher Chase Bayuk is now 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA over his last six starts, dating back to last season.
K-State’s bullpen this season is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings of work.
K-State relievers are also 3-for-3 in save opportunities and have retired 6-of-8 first batters.
K-State starting pitchers have struck out 20 batters in 22.2 combined innings this season.
The K-State pitching staff has compiled a 1.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season.
K-State’s 2007 roster boasts just two seniors, eight juniors, 11 sophomores and 13 total freshmen (nine true).
The Wildcats have 14 players from the state of Texas, the most of any state, followed by eight Kansans.

Scouting Seton Hall
Seton Hall heads into the weekend with an 0-3 record after being swept by second-ranked North Carolina last week, 11-0, 3-2 and 13-2. The Pirates hit just .144 against the Tar Heels but got a nice weekend at the plate from Dan McDonald, who hit .400 (4-for-10) against North Carolina. On the mound, Seton Hall has accumulated a 9.38 team ERA with eight strikeouts and 18 walks in 24.0 innings pitched. The Pirates got solid relief efforts from Scott Fisher and Luis Fernandez, who combined for four scoreless innings on the mound.

Scouting Ohio State
Ohio State opens the 2007 season this weekend in Tampa and is coming off a 37-21 overall record and a 19-12 mark in Big 10 play. The Buckeyes return six starters and 19 total letterwinners from last season’s squad and return all four weekend starters in Dan DeLucia, Cory Luebke, Jake Hale and J.B. Shuck. DeLucia was the Buckeyes' first 10-game winner since 1999 and Shuck, the 2006 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, won eight games. Luebke returned to school after being drafted last June by the Texas Rangers as a draft-eligible sophomore. The Buckeyes have several key position players returning in catcher Eric Fryer, first baseman Justin Miller, second baseman Jason Zoeller, centerfielder Matt Angle and Jacob Howell, who split time in left field last year with Shuck. DeLucia, Angle and Zoeller all were first-team All-Big Ten picks last season.

Scouting James Madison
James Madison opens its 2007 this weekend in Tampa as well and returns five starters and 17 total letterwinners from last season’s 38-21 squad. The Dukes are led by All-American and Preseason Co-National Player of the Year Kellen Kulbacki. The outfielder led the nation and broke the JMU single-season record with 24 home runs in 2006, led the nation in slugging percentage (.943) and broke or tied six other JMU season records.  He was a candidate for four different national player of the year awards, capturing one as the Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger National Co-Player of the Year. On the mound, the Dukes are led by hard-throwing Kurt Houck, who has hit 93-94 mph on the radar gun with his fastball.

The Series
Kansas State has never faced James Madison on the diamond and enters the weekend with a 1-1 record against both Ohio State and Seton Hall all-time. The Wildcats split two games, 8-11 and 8-7, with Seton back in 2003 at Boca Raton, Fla. K-State knocked off Ohio State, 12-6, back in 2004 at the Minute Maid College Classic in Houston, Texas. The win over the Buckeyes was head coach Brad Hill’s first win at Kansas State. Ohio State won the first meeting between the schools, 8-4, at Homestead, Fla., during the 2000 season.

Second Coming
K-State got great production from the second base position last weekend in Shreveport as Brett Scott and Eddie Vasquez combined to go 7-for-13 (.538) at the plate and also fielded at a perfect 1.00 clip on 23 total chances. Scott opened the season with a 2-for-2 day against Penn State with two stolen bases and one run driven in, while Vasquez followed with a perfect 4-for-4 day on Saturday in a win over Centenary. Vasquez and Scott currently lead the team in hitting at .500 and .667, respectively. The two also combined for two, two-out hits and have driven in three total runs with two outs.

Solid Debuts
Last weekend in Shreveport, the Wildcats saw 10 total players make their collegiate debuts while five of those players made their first career starts. Freshmen Tyler Ruch (first base), Daniel Dellasega (catcher), Adam Muenster (left field), Justin Bloxom (DH) and Kyle Livingstone (third base) all made their K-State debut starts this past weekend. Dellasega had two hits in his first career game, while Muenster doubled and drove in a run. On the mound, freshman A.J. Morris had a solid debut, picking up a win after 3.0 innings of shutout relief against Centenary, while freshman Jason Linn also notched a save in his first appearance against Penn State.

Youth Is Served
Kansas State fields one of the youngest teams in the Big 12 Conference this season, and with 34 players on the roster, 24 of those are underclassmen (13 freshmen and 11 sophomores). Nebraska and Baylor are the only two teams in the league that are comparable with 26 and 25, respectively. In terms of experience, the Wildcats boast two seniors, which are the fewest of any Big 12 team, and eight juniors to total 10 upperclassmen, which are the fewest in the Big 12 Conference.

Relief Efforts
The Wildcats got solid efforts from all of their relief pitchers in week one as the bullpen posted a 1-0 record with a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings in Shreveport. A.J. Morris earned a win in relief by throwing 3.0 shutout innings against Centenary and the trio of Daniel Edwards, Jason Linn and Trevor Hurley were a perfect 3-for-3 in save chances in Louisiana. So far this season, opponents are hitting just .200 against all relievers and they have also retired six of the eight first batters they have faced.

Start It Up
K-State continues to get solid pitching performances from its starters as Brad Hutt opened the season with 6.2 shutout innings, while Chase Bayuk struck out six in 6.0 innings in a win over Centenary. So far this season, K-State starters are 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA and have struck out 20 batters in 22.2 innings.

Friday Night Lights
Junior right-hander Brad Hutt came up big on the mound as a sophomore and has continued that trend in 2007. Hutt, who was a two-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Week selection last season, tossed 6.2 shutout innings against Penn State in the opener, giving the Wildcats their first season-opening shutout since the 1998 season.

Bayuk Back For More
Junior left-hander Chase Bayuk came on strong at the end of the season as one of the Cats’ weekend starters and, after his win last weekend, is now 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA over his last seven starts. Bayuk has now only yielded three total runs in his last three starts and five in his last four. In fact, Bayuk’s last loss on the mound came nine starts ago when the Cats fell to Nebraska on April 2 of last year.

Bunker Shots
Junior outfielder/designated hitter Derek Bunker is coming off a solid weekend in Shreveport and heads into this weekend’s action with a team-best four-game hitting streak. Bunker went 5-for-13 with a double, a run driven in and four runs scored at Centenary and is the lone Wildcat to hit safely in each of the four games this season. Bunker proved to be a clutch hitter over the weekend as three of Derek’s five hits came with two outs.

Eli’s Coming
Senior Eli Rumler, one of two seniors on this year’s squad, made his 100th career start last weekend and is closing in on the record books in three more cateogories. Currently, Rumler is second in career hit-by-pitches with 23 and needs just three more to set the new school record. Defensively, Rumler ranks eighth in career assists with 294 and needs 24 more to move into seventh. Rumler also has 12 career sacrifice bunts, which ranks eighth in school history.

Beef It Up
Kansas State has bulked up its non-conference schedule in 2007 as it prepares for tough three-game stretches in league play down the road. In fact, the Wildcats currently have the 48th-toughest schedule in the country according to Boyd’s World and heads into this weekend’s action with 13 games against teams that are ranked in this week’s Top 25.

Wildcat Baseball on the Tube
Kansas State will have three of its 2007 baseball games air regionally on television as both the Big 12 Conference and the Kansas State Athletic Department announced their baseball television packages. The Big 12 has announced its six-game league package with Fox Sports Net and the May 5 Wildcat game at Kansas was one of the selections. First pitch for the game is set for 3 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence with the entire Big 12 region gaining television access. K-State also announced two more home games, the March 31 tilt with Texas Tech and the April 3 game against Kansas, will be televised locally on Fox Sports Midwest. The game against Kansas, which is slated as a non-conference game, is set to begin at 7 p.m., while the Saturday game with the Red Raiders is set for a 2 p.m. first pitch at Tointon Stadium.