Cats Take 3-0 Record to Myrtle Beach
Cats Take 3-0 Record to Myrtle Beach
Thursday, February 24 - Sunday, February 27
Myrtle Beach, S.C. /// BB&T Coastal Field (5,200) /// Conway, S.C. /// Watson Stadium (2,000)
K-STATE: Brad Hill
Alma Mater: Emporia State, 1984
Career Record: 651-259-3 (17th season)
Record at K-State: 233-168-3 (8th season)
COASTAL CAROLINA: Gary Gilmore
Record at Coastal: 612-304 (16th season)
WESTERN KENTUCKY: Chris Finwood
Record at WKU: 160-130 (6th season)
Rob Voelker (pxp) and Ryan Lackey (color)
SportsRadio 1350 KMAN
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Following its first three-game road sweep to open a season since 1959, Kansas State will face a difficult field at the Caravelle Resort Baseball on the Beach tournament, Thursday through Sunday, February 24-27, in South Carolina. The Cats kick the weekend off by facing host school Coastal Carolina, which checks in 17th in this week's NCBWA poll, on Thursday at 3 p.m. (CT) at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach. K-State then squares off against Western Kentucky on Friday at 1 p.m. (CT) at Watson Stadium on the campus of Coastal Carolina in Conway. The Wildcats will then face a familiar foe in Pacific, a team K-State swept during the opening weekend, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (CT) in Conway before returning to BB&T Coastal Field on Sunday to take on California, which was ranked 17th by Baseball America on Monday.
All four of Kansas State's games in South Carolina can be heard online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com. The entirety of the Thursday, Friday and Sunday contests can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN, while Saturday's game will be joined-in-progress following the men's basketball game against Missouri. Rob Voelker and Ryan Lackey will have the call for all four contests.
K-State started the 2011 season off on the right foot with a three-game sweep at Pacific last weekend. Following a rainout on Friday, the Wildcats took both games of a day-night doubleheader as they won a back-and-forth contest in game one, 5-3, thanks in part to 3.2 scoreless innings from reliever Evan Marshall. Game two featured an early explosion by the Wildcat offense with a four-run first, while Matt Applegate retired 18 of the first 22 batters he faced in just his second career start.
The Sunday game saw K-State trail 5-0 through three innings and 6-2 after the sixth, but the Wildcats scored five times in the seventh inning, capped by a game-tying triple by Jared King and a game-winning single from Nick Martini. James Allen recorded his second save of the season on Sunday as he worked around a leadoff single to complete the sweep.
The Wildcat offensive was explosive at times throughout the weekend as they finished with 10 or more hits in two of the three contests. King, a freshman outfielder, was impressive during his collegiate debut, going 6-for-14 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI, while he was 2-for-3 in stolen base attempts in the three games. Martini also had a great series, going 5-for-11 with a triple, one RBI and three walks to tally a .571 on-base percentage. The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year reached base in all three games to extend his streak of consecutive games reaching base safely to 62.
DID YOU KNOW
• Kansas State was one of only three teams nationally to earn a three-game road sweep during the opening weekend.
• K-State's come-from-behind win on Sunday at Pacific was the 1,600th inprogram history.
• K-State baseball is the only team in the Big 12 among baseball, football, men's and women's basketball, and volleyball programs to continually improve its conference finish over the past five seasons.
• Head coach Brad Hill entered 2011 sixth in the nation among active coaches with a .714 career winning percentage.
• Prior to the 2009 season, Kansas State was 63 games under .500 in program history. After going 83-40-1 over the past two-plus seasons, the Wildcats are now 20 games under .500 all-time.
• K-State has the third-most drafted players on its roster in the Big 12 with eight, behind only Texas (16) and Oklahoma St. (12).
• Nick Martini has reached base in 62 straight contests dating back to the beginning of last season. Of those 62 games, the junior has at least one hit in 56 contests.
• Since his transition back to the bullpen last season, Evan Marshall has a 2.21 ERA and a .183 opponent batting average.
• James Allen picked up two saves last weekend, the only pitcher in the Big 12 to accomplish that feat. He was also one of just 10 pitchers nationally and one of five pitchers from an ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10 or SEC school to do so.
K-State has had success over the past five years in early-season tournaments similar to what it will experience this weekend in South Carolina. Since 2005, the Wildcats are 27-7 (.794) in tournaments in which they face multiple opponents in one weekend. Last season, K-State played in three events similar to the Baseball at the Beach tournament, going 9-2 overall, including a 7-1 mark during a two-tournament Florida road trip. The Wildcats went 3-1 in the San Diego State Tournament in 2009 as the only blemish in that event was a one-run loss to No. 11 San Diego. The Cats were also 3-1 in tournaments in both 2006 and 2008, while they were 9-2 over three events in 2007.
SUCCESS ON HOSTILE TURF
The Wildcats, who have recorded at least seven true road wins in each of the last four seasons, got off to a great start as they swept Pacific in its home park last weekend. The trio of victories over the Tigers was just the second three-game road sweep by the Cats in head coach Brad Hill's tenure in Manhattan, while it was also just the second since 1999. The other road sweep under Hill came in 2009 as the Cats took three at Nebraska.
Even more impressive is the fact that, out of 300 Division I teams, K-State was one of just three squads to earn a true road sweep during the opening weekend, joining Temple (at North Carolina Central) and Portland (at Middle Tennessee State).
K-State's play against non-conference opponents over the past two-plus seasons has fueled the Wildcats to quick starts. Following its season-opening sweep of Pacific, Kansas State is 163-54 (.751) in non-conference games under head coach Brad Hill, including a 55-17 (.764) mark over the past two seasons.
In regular season non-conference games, the Cats have been even tougher as they are 155-43 (.783) over the past seven years and a combined 49-10 (.831) since 2009.
Kansas State, which trailed Pacific 5-0 last Sunday, earned its sixth come-from-behind win under head coach Brad Hill when trailing by five or more. The Wildcats scored two in the fifth before exploding for five in the seventh to complete the comeback.
During Hill's tenure in Manhattan, the Cats have three comeback wins when trailing by five runs, all coming over the past two seasons. The largest deficit overcome under Hill was eight against Texas Tech in 2005.
COASTAL CAROLINA AT A GLANCE
No. 17 Coastal Carolina enters the weekend with a 3-1 record after topping Boston College, Tennessee Tech and Virginia Tech and dropping a 16-inning affair to Indiana in the opening weekend. The Chanticleers were led offensively last weekend by senior Scott Woodward, who was 5-for-16 with a double and six RBI. The Chants plan to start sophomore right-hander Josh Conway, who took the win in relief vs. Virginia Tech. The two-way player allowed an unearned run on two hits with no walks and a pair of strikeouts in one inning.
WESTERN KENTUCKY AT A GLANCE
Just like K-State, Western Kentucky finished the opening weekend with a sweep over Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers, who hit .394 as a team last weekend, were led by Matt Rice, who was 7-for-13 with a double and seven RBI, while Jared Andreoli was 7-for-14 with two doubles and four RBI.
WKU, which plays Wednesday night at Lipscomb, is scheduled to start left-hander Tanner Perkins against the Cats. Perkins threw 6.0 scoreless innings last week against Bowling Green as the sophomore surrendered just two hits and allowed two walks while striking out five batters.
PACIFIC AT A GLANCE
Pacific will look to right the ship this week in South Carolina after being sweep by K-State during the opening weekend. Senior Matt Carvutto led the Tigers offensively last weekend against the Cats, going 6-for-12 with a double, a triple and three RBI. Right behind him was Allen Riley, who was 4-for-12 with a double, a homer and two runs driven in. The Tigers will send sophomore right-hander Paul Moeller to the mound against K-State after facing the Wildcats in a relief appearance last Saturday. Moeller allowed just one hit in 3.0 innings, but walked four batters, which resulted in two fourth-inning runs.
CALIFORNIA AT A GLANCE
California enters the Baseball at the Beach tournament with a 2-1 record after topping Utah twice during the opening weekend and dropping a 3-2 affair at Stanford Tuesday evening. The Bears have struggled offensively, managing just 15 hits through three games, but have made up for it on the mound with a 1.73 team ERA, while the Cal pitching staff has limited opponents to a .196 batting average. Sophomore Mitch Delfino leads the Bear offense through three games as he is 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI. As of Wednesday morning, California had not announced a starting pitcher for its Sunday tilt with the Wildcats.
Kansas State will face two new opponents and two familiar foes this weekend in South Carolina. The games against Coastal Carolina and Western Kentucky will be the first against each opponent. The contest against the Chanticleers on Thursday will be just the second in school history against a Big South team as the only other game was a victory over Liberty in 1989. The Cats will also be looking to reverse their bad fortunes against Sun Belt competition on Friday against Western Kentucky as K-State is just 10-23 against teams from the league.
Saturday's matchup against Pacific will be the sixth in the all-time series, including the fourth this season as the Cats swept the Tigers just one week ago in Stockton, Calif. Kansas State will also face California for the fourth time ever and for the second time in the last four seasons. K-State will look to pick up its first ever win against the Bears as Cal leads the series 3-0.
RELIEVERS RISE TO THE OCCASION
Despite the return of Kansas State's ace and the debut of a highly-touted junior-college left-handed starter, it was the K-State bullpen the shined the brightest last weekend at Pacific. Six relievers, led by junior hurlers Evan Marshall, Kayvon Bahramzadeh and James Allen combined to grab two of the three Wildcat victories and allowed just two earned runs in 13.0 innings, good for a 1.38 ERA. Furthermore, the relievers surrendered only six hits, four walks and one hit-by-pitch, which resulted in a .136 Pacific batting average and a .220 on-base percentage.
Marshall took the win in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, allowing just one hit in 3.2 innings with three strikeouts, while Bahramzadeh worked 4.2 strong innings on Sunday to earn the win. Of the Tucson, Ariz., native's four full innings pitched, he retired the side three times, while his only blemish was a solo home run. Allen, who had nine saves in 2010, picked up two in the series, combining to allow just one hit in 2.2 innings with three punch outs.
RALLY WITH TWO
Kansas State was at its best offensively with two outs in its three games at Pacific. Of K-State's 18 RBI in the series, 11 came with two outs, the most in a series since playing at Nebraska in 2009. Ironically, that was also the last three-game road sweep for K-State. Five of the 11 two-out RBI came in Sunday's come-from-behind victory, including three in the Wildcats' five-run seventh-inning.
Individually, Kent Urban leads the way with three, all coming on one swing of the bat with his bases-clearing double in the first inning on Saturday's second game. Mike Kindel had a pair on Sunday with his fifth-inning triple.
The last time K-State had more than 11 two-out RBI was 17 in a four-game series against Butler in 2009, while the last time the Cats had more than 11 in a three-game series was 12 against Oklahoma in 2007.