Notes: K-State Takes on Nebraska at Home

March 25, 2014

Series Notes - NebraskaGet Acrobat Reader

K-State Athletics

K-State (14-9, 1-2 Big 12) vs. Nebraska (13-9, 1-2 Big Ten)
Tointon Family Stadium - Manhattan, Kan.

Wednesday, March 26 - 6:30 PM CT
LHP Ben Miller (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. RHP Colton Kalmus (1-1, 6.30 ERA)

Watch it on:
FOX Sports Kansas City
PBP: Brian Smoller
Analyst: Mike Clark 

Hear it on:
News Radio 1350 KMAN
PBP: Matt Walters, John Kurtz

K-State returns home for a midweek contest against former Big 12 foe, Nebraska, at Tointon Family Stadium on Wednesday, March 26. First pitch is at 6:30 pm. The Wildcats are 13-2 in their last 15 games, including a 9-0 mark at home, while Nebraska has won eight of its last 12 contests. The Cornhuskers have a 2-4 record in road games this season. 

K-State is coming off a series loss at Oklahoma this past weekend. The Wildcats dropped the first two contests, 11-4 and 11-2, respectively, before shutting out the Sonners, 5-0, in the series finale. In both defeats, K-State surrendered an eight-run inning to Oklahoma despite the Wildcats holding an early lead. On Friday, K-State led 3-1 entering the fifth inning, but the Sooners used a grand slam to help it score eight runs in the bottom half of the fifth. On Saturday, another Oklahoma grand slam helped fuel an eight-run frame, this time in the bottom of the eighth to help strengthen the Sooners' 3-2 advantage. K-State scored both of its runs on Saturday in the first inning. On Sunday, Nate Griep threw a three-hit shutout - after the Sooners had 33 combined hits in the first two games of the series - to lead the Wildcats to their first shutout win at Oklahoma since 1971. 

K-State is 106-166 all-time against Nebraska and 69-75 in Manhattan against the Cornhuskers. The Wildcats swept Nebraska in the season series in 2013, going 3-0 and outscoring the Cornhuskers, 32-19. Two of the three wins in 2013 were in Manhattan while the third and final victory was in Lincoln. Since 2010, K-State is 6-1 (.857) against Nebraska at Tointon Family Stadium. Also, since 2009, K-State is 11-5 (.688) overall against Nebraska.

K-State is 9-0 this season at home, helping extend its current winning streak at home against nonconference opponents to 20 games. The 20-game winning streak started on March 20, 2013 with a 4-3 victory over Minnesota. Over the last six seasons, K-State has an 84-13 record (.866) against nonconference foes at home.

After Sunday's 5-0 shutout win over Oklahoma, K-State has tallied four shutouts this season, all in the last eight games. It is the first time K-State has posted four shutouts in a short span since February 16-24, 1991 when the Wildcats had four shutouts in a seven-game stretch. The four shutouts are the most in a season for K-State since it had five in 2008. The Wildcats had a combined four shutouts in the last two seasons.

After allowing double-digit runs in back-to-back games on March 21 and 22 at Oklahoma, K-State shut out the Sooners, 5-0. It was the first time K-State had shut out an opponent in a series after allowing double-digit runs in the two games prior since 1992 at Nebraska. In 1992, in a four-game set, K-State won 11-10 in game two before losing 12-2 in game three. In the fourth and final game, the Wildcats beat the Cornhuskers 10-0 on April 26.

Senior RJ Santigate had multi-hit games in each of the three contests of the Oklahoma series last weekend, giving him six straight games with multiple hits. The six straight multi-hit games is the longest such streak by a Wildcat since Nick Martini had six straight multi-hit efforts from April 18-28, 2010. The last K-State player to have multi-hit games in a streak longer than six games was Adam Muenster in eight games from March 26-April 9, 2010. Over the last six games, Santigate is batting .565 (13-for-23) with a double, two RBI, and two stolen bases. The third baseman is now sixth among Big 12 players with a .366 batting average this season.

RJ Santigate is one of three Wildcats with active hitting streaks of eight games or more entering Wednesday. Santigate and Tanner DeVinny each have an eight-game hitting streak, their longest of the season, while Ross Kivett leads the team with a hitting streak of nine games, also his longest of the year. Santigate and DeVinny are batting .517 (15-for-29) and .379 (11-for-29), respectively, over their eight-game hitting streaks while Kivett is batting .405 (15-for-37) in his last nine games.

In addition to his nine-game hitting streak, Ross Kivett leads K-State with a 21-game on-base streak, which is also a personal best for the senior centerfielder. Kivett has reached base safely in each game since Feb. 16. He has a team-best .467 OBP this season, which is the fourth-best mark among Big 12 players. Kivett's OBP is powered by his team-leading 17 walks, which are tied for sixth in the Big 12 and 60th in the nation.

Of the 14 Wildcats that have played in at least 10 games this season, eight enter Wednesday with an OBP of .400 or higher. As a team, K-State has a .404 OBP, which is best in the Big 12 and 14th best in the nation. Also, the Wildcats are third in the conference with 103 walks and a .300 team batting average.

All five K-State players that have 2.5 at-bats per team game this season (57.5 AB) have batting averages of .300 or higher entering Wednesday. RJ Santigate leads the team with a .366 batting average while Austin Fisher is second with a .353 clip. Rounding out the group of five are Shane Conlon (.333), Ross Kivett (.333) and Mitch Meyer (.300). Since Feb. 28, K-State has a team batting average of .342, with the five aforementioned Wildcats all batting .322 or higher - led by Mitch Meyer's .415 clip.

While the K-State offense is averaging 7.9 runs per game in the last 15 contests, the K-State starting pitching staff is 11-1 with a 2.61 ERA (26er, 89.2ip), 59 strikeouts, 11 walks and a .237 batting average against over the same stretch. Wednesday's starter Colton Kalmus did not allow a run in his one start in the last 15 games while every other starter has a 3.42 ERA or lower over the stretch. For the entire season, K-State starting pitchers have a 2.97 ERA, 77 strikeouts, 23 walks and a .253 batting average against.