K-State Faces Omaha in Midweek Matchup

March 11, 2014

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K-State Athletics

Omaha (5-7, 0-0 The Summit League) vs. K-State (7-7, 0-0 Big 12)
Tointon Family Stadium – Manhattan, Kan.

Wednesday, March 12 – 6:30 PM CT
LHP Steven Schoonover (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Nate Griep (0-0, 1.59)

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The Wildcats extended their winning streak to a season-high six games with a three-game sweep of Iowa at Tointon Family Stadium from March 7-9. K-State scored three first-inning runs in the first game and held on for a 3-2 victory over the Hawkeyes. Starting pitcher Levi MaVorhis surrendered two runs, but the K-State bullpen, led by closer Jake Matthys, sealed the win with a combined three shutout innings. In game two, K-State allowed just two runs once again, but this time, the Wildcat offense supported the pitching staff with five runs. RJ Santigate led the Wildcats with two RBI while Max Brown and Blair DeBord each had two hits. K-State was forced to rally from a five-run deficit in the series finale on Sunday. The Wildcats entered the bottom half of the sixth inning down 7-2, but with four runs in the sixth, three runs in the seventh and three more runs in the eighth, the Wildcats completed the 12-8 comeback win. Alex Bee and Tanner DeVinny each had three RBI in the Sunday win while the K-State bullpen held the Hawkeyes to one run after the seventh inning. Jake Whaley earned his first K-State win throwing 1 1/3 shutout innings.

K-State is 4-0 all-time against Omaha. The two programs have met all four times since 2012, the Mavericks’ first season as a Division I program. K-State has outscored Omaha 42-12 in the all-time series. The Wildcats won the last meeting, 9-1, on April 3, 2013 in Manhattan. Wednesday’s matchup will be the first of two scheduled meetings between the two programs this season.

K-State has won six straight games, matching its longest winning streak for all of last season. In 2013, the Wildcats won six straight games on three different occasions (Last: May 5-18). The last time the Wildcats had a winning streak longer than six games was a seven-game streak from March 9-16, 2012.

During the Wildcats’ six-game winning streak, K-State is batting .320 (63-for-197) with 21 extra-base hits and a .416 on-base percentage while also averaging 8 runs per game (48 runs total). The pitching staff has a 3.17 ERA during the winning streak, but it is led by the bullepn which has a 2.00 ERA over the stretch. K-State has recorded 10 or more hits four times during the winning streak after registering only two double-digit hit games in the first eight contests of the year.

With the sweep of Iowa, the Wildcats swept their season-opening home series for the second straight year and eighth time in the last 11 seasons under head coach Brad Hill. Since 2009, K-State is 78-13 (.857) against nonconference opponents at Tointon Family Stadium.

K-State coming back from a five-run deficit against Iowa on March 9 was the Wildcats’ largest comeback victory since May 24, 2013 vs. Baylor at the Big 12 Championships. K-State trailed 5-0 in the fourth inning against Baylor before taking the 13-9 victory.

Ross Kivett’s stolen base on March 8 vs. Iowa moved the senior into a tie with Nick Martini (2009-11) for second place on K-State’s career stolen bases list with 62. Kivett, who had 26 stolen bases last season, is 3-for-3 in steal attempts this season. Adam Muenster (2007-10) holds the Wildcat program record with 78 stolen bases.

RJ Santigate owns the longest active hitting streak among all Wildcats with a six-game hitting streak. In the six games, Santigate is batting .304 (7-for-23) with a double, triple and nine RBI. Santigate’s nine RBI are nearly 1/5 of K-State’s RBI (46) in the last six games. He has also recorded four multi-RBI games in the six-game stretch.

K-State has more than doubled its runs per game average during the six-game winning streak (8 runs/game) from its first eight games (3.5 runs/game), due in part to batting nearly .350 as a team with runners in scoring position in the last half dozen contests. Since Feb. 28, the Wildcats are batting .349 with runners in scoring position - after batting .200 in the first eight games to start the season. Six Wildcats are batting .400 or better with runners in scoring position over the last six games (min. 5 at-bats), led by Ross Kivett’s .625 (5-for-8) clip. The other five Wildcats in the group include Alex Bee (.400, 2-for-5), Clayton Dalrymple (.400, 2-for-5), Austin Fisher (.400, 4-for-10), Mitch Meyer (.500, 3-for-6), and Carter Yagi (.429, 3-for-7). For the season, K-State is hitting .281 with runners in scoring position. 

Shane Conlon reached base safely in all three contests during the Iowa series, extending his on-base streak to a team-best 13 games. It is the junior’s longest on-base streak since he set a career-high of 16 games from April 2-27, 2013. Since not reaching base in any of his four at-bats in the season opener on Feb. 14 at Cal Poly, Conlon has a .407 OBP during his 13-game on-base streak. 

K-State has several players among the Big 12’s top 10 in statistical categories. Shane Conlon is ninth with 14 runs scored and tied for seventh with five doubles. Austin Fisher is fourth with a .492 OBP, fifth with a .392 batting average and ninth with 20 hits. Ross Kivett is tied for eighth with a .452 OBP and tied for ninth with four stolen bases. 

Three Wildcat relievers have made multiple appearances during K-State’s six-game winning streak and not allowed a run. Ethan Landon has not allowed a run in his last 4 1/3 innings pitched (3 games) while Jake Whaley has shut out his opponents in his last 3 1/3 innings (3 games). Jake Matthys, who converted both of his save opportunities in the Iowa series, has not allowed a hit or a run in his last two games (2.0 IP).

K-State went 11-2 in midweek games last season. This season, the Wildcats are 0-1 in midweek contests.