Notes: Cats Head Back to Nebraska to Face Omaha

March 31, 2014

Game Notes - Omaha (April 1)Get Acrobat Reader

K-State Athletics

K-State (17-10, 1-2 Big 12) at Omaha (12-9, 2-0 The Summit League)
Werner Park – Papillion, Neb.

Tuesday, April 1 – 6:30 PM CT
RHP Colton Kalmus (2-1, 4.80) vs. RHP Marcus Ethen (2-1, 2.77) 

Hear it on:
News Radio 1350 KMAN
PBP: Matt Walters, Brian Smoller

K-State makes a return trip to the Omaha area - after playing a three-game series at Creighton last weekend - to face Omaha at Werner Park, home of the Kansas City Royals’ Triple-A affiliate, in Papillion, Neb. K-State has won three of its last four games, including a midweek win over Nebraska and taking two out of three against Creighton. Omaha has won three straight and seven of its last eight games after losing at K-State on March 12.

K-State dropped the first game of a three-game series, but the Wildcats rallied back with eight runs and double digit hits in each of the last two games to help claim a series victory over Creighton at TD Ameritrade Park. Despite a ninth-inning rally falling short on Friday - a game in which the Wildcats lost 4-3 - K-State responded with an 8-5 win over the Bluejays on Saturday. K-State never trailed on Saturday after grabbing an early 2-0 lead with a single run in the first and third innings. K-State and Creighton traded runs in the third through sixth innings, but the Wildcats, holding onto a one-run lead, used two runs in the eighth to provide insurance in the eventual win. Tanner DeVinny had three RBI, and RJ Santigate had two RBI and three hits in Saturday’s win. On Sunday, K-State answered Creighton’s two runs in the bottom of the third with three runs in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. The offense tallied 12 hits, but Wildcat starting pitcher Nate Griep threw seven innings of two-run baseball and struck out five to match his career-high to earn the winning decision. The Wildcats have now won three of their last four games against Creighton.

K-State is 5-0 all-time against Omaha, including a 6-5 walk-off win over the Mavericks earlier this season on March 12 at Tointon Family Stadium. Tuesday’s matchup in the Omaha area is the first meeting between the two programs outside of Manhattan. This season’s one-run K-State win was the first meeting between the Wildcats and Mavericks not decided by five runs or more. K-State has outscored Omaha, 48-17, in the all-time series.

After becoming the first Wildcat to hit for the cycle in nearly 17 years and leading or tying for the lead in nine offensive categories in the conference, senior Ross Kivett was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the period ending March 30. Kivett batted .588 (10-for-17) with three doubles, seven RBI, and seven runs scored while his .600 OBP and 1.059 slugging percentage were tops in the Big 12. The weekly honor was Kivett’s second of the season. It was also the fourth time K-State has earned a Big 12 player of the week award this season. Nate Griep (March 24) and Mitch Meyer (March 17) joined Kivett (March 3, 30) as the three Wildcats to split the four honors.

Ross Kivett had multi-hit games in each of last week’s four contests, and he has five straight games with multiple hits. Kivett, who has nine multi-hit games this season, is batting .591 (13-for-22) with five extra-base hits, seven runs scored and eight RBI in his last five games. He also has a .600 OBP in his last five games.

Three Wildcats enter Tuesday with hitting streaks of 12 or more games. Ross Kivett is riding a 13-game hitting streak, matching his career-high and is the longest by a Wildcat this season. RJ Santigate and Tanner DeVinny are both in the midst of a 12-game hitting streak, which are also career-highs for the senior and freshman. Four different Wildcats have posted double-digit hitting streaks so far this season as Austin Fisher had an 11-game hitting streak from Feb. 15-March 7.

K-State has collected double-digit hits in three of its last four games, helping the Wildcats bat a Big 12-best .305 this season. K-State’s team batting average, which is the only team average above .300 in the Big 12 entering the week, is also 20th in Division I. K-State’s .409 OBP is first in the Big 12 and ninth in the nation. Delaware State leads Division I with a team OBP of .434.

K-State scored eight runs in each of its last two games, and is averaging 7.0 runs per game this season, the 21st-best mark in Division I. The Wildcats, who averaged 3.5 runs per game in their first eight games of the year, have scored 162 runs in the last 19 games, good for a 8.5 run per game average. The Wildcats’ 190 total runs this season are the most in the Big 12 and the 19th-most in Division I. 

The K-State bullpen was not responsible for a run in the three games at Creighton as the group posted a 0.00 ERA in 8 2/3 innings. Ethan Landon led Wildcat relievers with 4.0 scoreless innings last weekend while Jake Matthys registered 3 2/3 shutout innings over two appearances.

K-State ended the month of March with a 15-3 record, including a 10-0 mark at home. The .833 winning percentage was powered by an offense that hit .337 with 38 doubles, eight triples, five home runs, 141 RBI and 39 stolen bases. The Wildcats had a team OBP of .434 after walking 85 times and being hit by a pitch 34 times. Ross Kivett and RJ Santigate hit over .400, and Tanner DeVinny led the team with 19 RBI in the month. The K-State pitching staff posted a 3.28 ERA and struck out 104 and walked 42 in 159.0 innings. K-State had four shutouts in the month, equal to the amount of shutouts the Wildcats had in 2012 and 2013 combined. 

K-State head coach Brad Hill was inducted into the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Hall of Fame on Monday, March 31. Hill spent nine years in the MIAA as head coach of Central Missouri State (now known as University of Central Missouri). The Galva, Kan. native compiled a 418-91 (.821) record at Central Missorui State, including a 198-17 mark in MIAA play, and won eight conference championships. The six-time MIAA Coach of the Year led the Mules to a Division II national championship in 2003. Hill has now been inducted into four hall of fames: Emporia State, Central Missouri, Kansas Babe Ruth Leagues, and MIAA.