K-State Begins Busy Week with Northern Colorado
K-State Begins Busy Week with Northern Colorado
March 28, 2011
Tuesday, March 29 - Wednesday, March 30
Manhattan, Kan. /// Tointon Family Stadium (2,331)
K-STATE: Brad Hill
Alma Mater: Emporia State, 1985
Career Record: 661-268-3 (17th season)
Record at K-State: 243-177-3 (8th season)
NORTHERN COLORADO: Carl Iwasaki
Alma Mater: Northern Colorado, 1985
Record at UNC: 2-15 (first season)
SportsRadio 1350 KMAN
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Coming off a pair of road series in which it faced two top-25 teams, Kansas State returns home for the first time in nearly two weeks to begin an eight-game homestand on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 29 and 30, as the Wildcats host Northern Colorado at Tointon Family Stadium. Both contests are slated for a 3 p.m. start after low forecasted temperatures forced the Tuesday contest to be moved from the evening to mid-afternoon. Coverage of both contests is available in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN as well as online for free at www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com. A live webcast of both games against the Bears is available on K-State's multimedia channel, K-State All-Access at www.k-statesports.com.
Kansas State will look to get back on track after dropping seven of its last nine games - its longest losing stretch in nearly two years - that included a pair of losses last weekend at No. 21 Baylor. The Wildcats led the opening game of the series on Friday, 4-2, after a four-run third inning but they could not extend their lead. Trailing by one in the ninth inning, the Bears scored a pair of unearned runs in the frame to earn a come-from-behind 5-4 win.
The Wildcats were able to rebound quickly on Saturday as they again held a lead - this time 3-0 - after single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Baylor tied the game at three apiece in the sixth, but K-State came back with three of its own in the eighth, which featured a two-run homer off the bat of Jason King, to win 6-3.
K-State dropped Sunday's rubber match in similar fashion as it did on Friday as the Cats led 2-0 before Baylor scored three times in the fifth to take a one-run lead. The Wildcats tied the game at three apiece on a RBI single by Jake Brown, but Baylor tallied an unearned run in the bottom half to take the series with a 4-3 victory.
Junior Nick Martini, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, continues to lead the Wildcat offense by hitting .338 with five doubles, two triples and 15 RBI. The outfielder has reached base in a nation-leading 82-straight games, four games shy of the longest known Division I record. Mike Kindel paces the squad with 20 RBI, while King's three homers lead the team.
The Wildcats also received a solid offensive weekend from freshman Ross Kivett, who was the team's designated hitter on Saturday and Sunday. He paced all hitters in Saturday's game with three hits and three RBI, driving in a run on singles in the second, fourth and eighth innings.
Kansas State is scheduled to start freshman left-hander Blake Freeman on Tuesday and junior right-hander Justin Lindsey on Wednesday. Freeman will be making his sixth appearance of the season and just his second start as he holds a 0-1 record and a 3.52 ERA. His first career start came against Long Island when he surrendered three runs on five hits in just three innings of work, but Freeman did strike out six batters and did not allow a walk.
Lindsey will make his fifth start of the season but just his first since the Wildcats' last home game on March 16 against Nebraska. That contest saw the right-hander work around a two-out walk in the first inning before a pair of hit-by-pitches were sandwiched around a RBI double to begin the second, which proved to be the end of his outing.
DID YOU KNOW
Over its last six Big 12 contests, K-State's starting pitchers have tallied a 3.38 ERA, allowing 15 earned runs in 33.0 innings. It marked just the eighth time under head coach Brad Hill that the Cats have a sub-3.50 ERA in six-straight conference starts.
In the last 15 contests, the Kansas State pitching holds a 3.34 ERA and a .227 opponent batting average. Among hurlers with four or more outings during that span, the staff has tallied a 2.08 ERA and held opponents to a .207 average.
Propelled by 103 strikeouts in its last 12 games (8.6 per game), the Wildcats have 166 this year, the second most in the first 22 games of a season in the Brad Hill era.
Kansas State leads the Big 12 in strikeout differential (166 pitching strikeouts minus 105 hitting strikeouts) at +57.
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 82-game streak of reaching base safely is the longest active streak in the nation. The streak has continued on a hit 70 times, while the junior has a .495 on-base percentage during the streak.
Since his transition back to the bullpen last season, Evan Marshall has a 2.09 ERA and a .192 opponent batting average. He has also averaged 5.7 strikeouts per nine innings as opposed to 2.2 walks.
Last weekend at No. 21 Baylor, sophomore shortstop Tanner Witt recorded three-straight multi-hit games, while he set career game highs in hits with three (Sunday) and stolen bases with two (Friday).
James Allen has six saves this season after nine a year ago. With 20 career saves, the junior ranks in the top 10 nationally and is just the second K-State closer to reach the 20-save plateau in a career (Daniel Edwards, 26, 2005-08).
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Despite a pair of losses so far this year, 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 52-15 (.776) record over the past two-plus years. K-State's home record is even more impressive in non-conference games as the Cats are 36-4 (.900) 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 12-4 in the first 16 games of 2011, Kansas State is 172-58 (.751) in non-conference games under head coach Brad Hill, including a 64-21 (.753) mark since 2009.
In regular season non-conference games, the Cats have been even tougher as they are 164-47 (.777) over the past seven-plus years and a combined 58-14 (.806) over the past two-plus seasons.
NORTHERN COLORADO AT A GLANCE
Northern Colorado holds a 2-15 record after dropping a three-game series at home to Southern Utah. The Bears won on Friday, 10-3, but lost two close games in a Saturday doubleheader by scores of 6-3 and 3-2. Northern Colorado's only other win this season was an 11-7 triumph over the Colorado School of Mines on March 16.
UNC is led offensively by senior infielder T.J. Berge, who is hitting .357 with six doubles, a triple and seven RBI. Right behind him at .348 is sophomore infielder Adam Hilker. Tom Crudo, a junior infielder, paces the squad with eight RBI, while junior outfielder Jarod Berggren has a pair of triples.
The Bears are scheduled to start a pair of right-handers in freshman Chris Hammer on Tuesday and senior Chris Carlberg on Wednesday. Hammer is 1-0 with a 3.93 ERA in six games, including two starts. He has allowed just eight earned runs on 21 hits in 18.1 innings. His last outing came on Friday against Southern Utah when he worked 1.1 no-hit innings of relief with a strikeout. His last start came last Tuesday at Nebraska when he left the contest with a 3-1 lead before NU came back to win the game. The right-hander worked 6.2 innings against the Huskers, surrendering one run on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
Carlberg is 0-1 with a 5.11 ERA in four appearances, while he will be making just his second start of the season on Wednesday afternoon. The right-hander has allowed seven earned runs on 18 hits with a walk and nine strikeouts in 12.1 innings. He threw three innings of shutout baseball in a relief outing on Saturday against Southern Utah with no walks and a pair of strikeouts. He also started last week at Nebraska, taking the loss after allowing seven runs (five earned) on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts in 5.1 innings.
THE NORTHERN COLORADO SERIES
Kansas State leads the all-time series against Northern Colorado, 8-0, as all eight previous games were played in Manhattan.
K-State swept a three-game series from the Bears in 1990, winning by counts of 11-5, 9-3 and 12-1. The two teams did not meet again until 2004 when K-State won 6-3 and 5-3 before doing battle again in 2005 when the Wildcats took a three game series by scores of 10-1, 9-1 and 9-0.
Kansas State holds a 21-1 all-time record against teams currently playing in the Great West Conference. The last time K-State played a Great West team was against North Dakota in 2009 as the Wildcats swept the Fighting Sioux in a midweek series by scores of 10-2 and 22-1.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
After leading the Big 12 in stolen bases each of the past two seasons, Kansas State is at it again as it has 45 steals to sit fourth in the league. Of its 45 swipes, 31 came over a nine-game homestand as the Wildcats were a perfect 15-of-15 against Western Illinois and 15-of-18 against Long Island. The 15 steals by K-State both weekends were the most in any series or tournament in two years. Of the 15 steals against the Blackbirds, 12 came in the first game of the series as K-State set a new school record for steals in a game, bettering 10-steal performances against Creighton in 1979 and Chicago State last year.
Junior infielder Jake Brown led the charge against LIU with four swipes, tying the school record held by eight different players. The last Wildcat to have four steals in a game was Nate Tenbrink against Le Moyne on March 9, 2008.
Tanner Witt paces K-State overall this season with nine steals, which is tied for fifth in the league. Brown is tied for seventh in the Big 12 with eight steals, while Jared King, Mike Kindel and Nick Martini each have at least five this season.