K-State Hosts Nebraska in Non-Conference Tilt
K-State Hosts Nebraska in Non-Conference Tilt
March 15, 2011
Wednesday, March 16
Manhattan, Kan. /// Tointon Family Stadium (2,331)
K-STATE: Brad Hill
Alma Mater: Emporia State, 1984
Career Record: 659-263-3 (17th season)
Record at K-State: 241-172-3 (8th season)
NEBRASKA: Mike Anderson
Alma Mater: No. Colorado, 1990
Record at NU: Same
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State will look to wrap up its longest homestand of the year on the right note Wednesday evening as the Wildcats host Nebraska in a non-conference game beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium. The contest is the final game of nine-straight at home as the Wildcats are 6-2 on the homestand, but will try to rebound after dropping each of their last two games. The game against the Huskers can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN with Brian Smoller on the call. A live webcast of the contest is available through K-State’s multimedia channel, K-State All-Access at www.k-statesports.com, while free live audio is also available at www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.
K-State is coming off a four-game series split with Long Island last weekend. The Wildcats jumped all over the Blackbirds in game one as they cruised to a 14-2 victory Friday, thanks in part to a strong outing by starting pitcher Kyle Hunter, who allowed one run on three hits with a career-high 12 strikeouts in seven innings. The Cats also saw production throughout their entire lineup, including impressive outings by Nick Martini and Mike Kindel, who combined to go 7-for-8 with six RBI.
Junior right-hander Matt Applegate was the story of the first game of Saturday’s double-header as he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning until a one-out single ended the bid. Applegate, who was two outs away from throwing K-State’s first no-hitter since 1976, tied his career high with six strikeouts. Offensively, Jason King broke open a scoreless game in the seventh inning with a home run as K-State took the second game of the series, 3-0.
The first inning of Saturday’s second game saw the series swing quickly in the favor of Long Island as it scored three times in the frame and received a strong outing from its starter Justin Topa as the Blackbirds took a 4-2 decision in a scheduled seven-inning game. LIU kept its momentum going in the series finale on Sunday, scoring five in the third and holding off a K-State rally to split the series with a 6-5 victory.
Kansas State is scheduled to start junior Justin Lindsey on Wednesday against Nebraska as the right-hander will look to bounce back after a disappointing start last weekend. Lindsey, who is 2-1 with a 4.09 ERA this season, walked four of the first six men he faced on Sunday without recording an out before being pulled from the game.
DID YOU KNOW...
• The Kansas State pitching staff has a 3.16 ERA and a .220 opponent batting average during its current homestand.
• Propelled by 53 strikeouts in its last five games (10.6 per game), the Wildcats have 116 this year, the second most in the first 15 games of a season in the Brad Hill era (125 in 2006).
• Kansas State is second in the Big 12 in strikeout differential (116 pitching strikeouts minus 74 hitting strikeouts) at +42.
• Wednesday’s contest against Nebraska is just the second non-conference game against a Big 12 opponent since at least 2000. The last was a 10-6 win over Kansas on April 3, 2007.
• 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’s 75-game streak of reaching base safely is the longest active streak in the nation. The streak has continued on a hit 66 times, while the junior has a .513 on-base percentage during the streak.
• Kyle Hunter’s 12 strikeouts against Long Island were the most since A.J. Morris also had 12 against Oklahoma in 2009. Furthermore, his 28 strikeouts through four starts is the most in four starts by a Wildcat since Jim Ripley in 2004.
• Since his transition back to the bullpen last season, Evan Marshall has a 2.51 ERA and a .195 opponent batting average. He has also averaged 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings as opposed to 2.4 walks.
• James Allen already has four saves this season after nine a year ago. With 18 career saves, the junior ranks in the top 10 nationally and is tied for second in K-State history.
• With 10 strikeouts in the Sunday game against Western Illinois, James Allen became the first Wildcat pitcher since 1986 to collect 10 or more punch outs in a relief appearance.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Despite the series split last weekend against Long Island, Kansas State has still put together an impressive resume in home games since the beginning of the 2009 season. K-State, which has won at least 20 home games in four of the last six seasons, holds a 51-15 (.773) record over the past two-plus years. K-State’s home record is even more impressive in non-conference games as the Cats are 35-4 (.897) since 2009. The only losses are two to Long Island this year and one to both Creighton and Minnesota in 2010.
K-State’s play against non-conference opponents over the past two seasons has fueled the Wildcats to quick starts. After going 11-4 in the first 15 games of 2011, Kansas State is 171-58 (.747) in non-conference games under head coach Brad Hill, including a 63-21 (.750) mark since 2009.
In regular season non-conference games, the Cats have been even tougher as they are 163-47 (.776) over the past seven-plus years and a combined 57-14 (.803) over the past two-plus seasons.
NON-CONFERENCE VS CONFERENCE
The Wednesday contest against Nebraska marks just the second time since 2000 that Kansas State will play a non-conference game against a Big 12 opponent. The last time the Cats played a conference opponent in non-conference play was on April 3, 2006, when they won a 10-6 decision over Kansas.
Since the 2002 season when K-State earned its first berth into the Big 12 Championship, the Cats are 9-9 against Big 12 opponents in non-league games, including an 8-9 mark in Big 12 tournament action in 2002 and 2007-10.
NEBRASKA AT A GLANCE
Nebraska held a 9-6 record through play last weekend after dropping a home series against Fresno State. NU fell to the Bulldogs 8-5 on Friday and was shut out, 1-0, on Saturday before salvaging the series with a 5-4 victory on Sunday. The series loss to FSU came on the heels of a series victory over then-No. 5 UCLA as all three of those games went into extra innings.
The Huskers, who play at home on Tuesday against South Dakota State, will be in search of their first road win in four tries on Wednesday in Manhattan. Nebraska lost two games at Sam Houston State by scores of 7-1 and 10-9, while it dropped its season opener at Texas State, 7-2.
After play against Fresno State, Nebraska was led offensively by sophomore Kash Kalkowski, who was 15-for-39 (.385) with two doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI. Another sophomore, Chad Christensen, is hitting .323 (20-for-62) with five RBI, while junior infielder Cody Asche paces the team with 14 RBI.
Nebraska will start right-hander Dylan Vogt Wednesday evening. The sophomore, who will be making his first career start, is 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA in five games this season. The Omaha, Neb., product has surrendered five earned runs on nine hits with 12 walks and 17 strikeouts in 12.2 innings. His last appearance came Friday against Fresno State when he allowed just one run on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 3.2 innings.
THE NEBRASKA SERIES
Nebraska leads the all-time series between the two schools, 161-104, but the Cats have been tough as of late. Kansas State has won five of its last six against the Huskers, the most wins by the Cats in the series since winning five straight and six of seven over the 1992 and 1993 seasons. After being swept at home by NU and also dropping a game to the Huskers in the Big 12 Championship in 2008, K-State swept Nebraska in Lincoln in 2009 before winning two of three at home last year.
Wednesday’s non-conference match up against Nebraska is the first non-league game between the two teams since 1910 when NU was a member of the Missouri Valley and K-State was in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The game on Wednesday could also be a preview for the next few years as the Huskers are slated to begin play in the Big Ten next season.
THROW HIM THE CHAIR
The Kansas State pitching staff has seen some of its better strikeout performances in recent memory in just 15 games this season. K-State has already registered five games with 10 or more strikeouts, including a season-high 16 against Western Illinois, the most since it had 17 in a 20-inning game against Texas in 2004. The Wildcats, who have averaged 10.6 strikeouts in their last five contests, have 116 this season, the second most through the first 15 games of a season in the Brad Hill era after the 2006 squad collected 125.
Individually, Kyle Hunter leads the way with 28 strikeouts, including a career-high 12 against Long Island last week. His 28 punch outs are tied for the most through four starts under head coach Brad Hill as Jim Ripley also had 28 in 2004. Among pitchers with four or more outings this season, James Allen leads the way in strikeouts per nine innings at 11.9.