Baseball Hosts Rival Kansas Tuesday Night

Game 29
Kansas State (20-8, 3-3) vs. Kansas (16-17, 3-6)

April 3 7 p.m. (FSN)

Tointon Stadium (2,331) Manhattan, Kan.

Television:
Tuesday’s game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Midwest with Wyatt Thompson and Mike Clark calling the action.

Radio:
Tuesday’s game will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN in Manhattan and online at k-statesports.com. Matt Walters and Brian Smoller will call the action.

Internet:
Live stats of Tuesday’s game will be available at k-statesports.com.

Series:
Kansas leads the all-time series, 157-151-1, while the Cats are 86-75-1 at home against the Jayhawks.

Watch For: Justin Bloxom
Freshman Justin Bloxom has driven in 11 of his 20 runs this season with two outs and has hit safely in each of his last three games and 15 of his last 20. Bloxom drove in the tying run in last Friday’s win over Texas Tech and drove in the winning run in Sunday’s series-clinching win.

Kansas State continues its current nine-game homestand with a midweek game against rival Kansas. The game, sandwiched between Big 12 Conference series with Texas Tech and Missouri, will count as a non-conference game. Since the Wildcats will play two of three conference games at Kansas this season, it was decided that the non-conference matchup will be played at Tointon Stadium. The game, set to begin at 7 p.m., will be televised live by Fox Sports Midwest with Wyatt Thompson and former K-State skipper Mike Clark calling the action. The Wildcats, who are still receiving votes in this week’s NCBWA poll, are coming off a series win at home against Texas Tech that saw the Cats rally twice in the eighth inning to take the first and third games of the series, 4-3 and 7-3. The series was an interesting one to say the least as rain forced Friday’s game to be suspended in the second inning. Then, with a television broadcast set for Saturday afternoon, the two teams played game two first, a 16-5 Texas Tech win, and then completed game one in the evening, a 4-3 K-State win. Sunday’s game saw the Wildcats rally for five late runs to take the series. Rob Vaughn went 2-for-2 with a homer on Sunday, while freshman Justin Bloxom drove in four runs with three doubles in the two wins. Bloxom, who drove in the tying run in game one, knocked in the winning run on Sunday and now has 11 two-out RBI on the season. Closer Daniel Edwards continues to be stellar as the junior tossed two more scoreless innings to run his current scoreless streak to 18.1 innings, dating back to last season.

Noteworthy
Since 2004, Kansas State is 84-21 in non-conference and 70-35 in all home games.
Under Brad Hill, Kansas State is 64-30 when its starting pitcher goes six-plus innings.
The Wildcats also are 79-8 under Hill when out-hitting their opponent.
The Cats are also 70-19-1 under Hill when recording 10 or more hits.
Over the last three-plus seasons, K-State is 88-5 when leading after seven innings and 72-23-2 when scoring first.
K-State is leading the Big 12 in fielding percentage at .986 in conference-only games.
K-State is 13-2 this season when giving up three or less walks in a game.
K-State relievers are 11-for-11 in save opportunities and have retired 41-of-61 first batters.
K-State has outscored its opponent, 45-11, in the eighth and ninth innings this season.
K-State is 15-0 this season when out-hitting its opponent.
The Cats are 13-0 when leading after six innings, 13-0 when leading after seven and 18-0 after eight.
K-State is 20-6 when scoring three or more runs this season.
Freshman Justin Bloxom has 11 RBI in his last 10 games and has collected 11 two-out RBI this season.
Bloxom is the top-hitting freshman in the Big 12 for league games with a .421 average.
Rob Vaughn is 11-for-21 (.615) with two homers and eight RBI over his last eight games.
Drew Biery is riding a career-best eight-game hit streak and is hitting .345 with 10 RBI in those games.
Eli Rumler ranks sixth in school history with 13 career sacrifice bunts.
Defensively, Rumler also ranks seventh in school history with 354 career assists.
Pitcher Justin Murray has a 2-0 record and 3.38 ERA in 5.1 innings as a reliever this season.
Closer Daniel Edwards has 11 career saves, which is fourth-best in school history
Edwards has not yielded a single run in his last 18.1 innings of work and has 28 K’s in that span.
Edwards has recorded a win or a save in 11 of his last 12 appearances.

Scouting Kansas
Kansas heads into Tuesday night’s game with a 16-17 overall record and a 3-6 mark in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks are coming off a series loss to Missouri in which the Tigers took the series with a walk-off homer in Sunday’s finale. Kansas is hitting .288 as a team overall, .267 in league games, and has been led by John Allman’s .373 average and 25 RBI. Two other everyday players, Kyle Murphy (.319) and Ryne Price (.306) are hitting above the .300 mark, while Price is leading the team in homers with seven. On the mound, Kansas has accumulated a 4.82 team ERA and Tuesday’s starter, Andres Esquibel, leads the team with four wins. Esquibel is 4-2 on the season with a 4.93 ERA in 13 total appearances, three of which were starts, and has 32 strikeouts and 13 walks in 38.1 innings.

The Series
Kansas leads the all-time series, 157-151-1, while the Cats are 86-75-1 at home against the Jayhawks. K-State snapped a four-game losing streak in the series with its 5-4 win last year in the series finale. The two teams have met one other time in a non-conference game, a 21-4 Wildcat win back in 1985 in Edinburg, Texas.

Spell Relief
Twenty-eight games into the 2007 season, K-State has seen its pitching staff put up solid numbers, especially the bullpen. K-State’s relievers are 10-3 with a 4.01 ERA in 98.2 innings of work, a number that went up steadily after the tough series at No. 9 Texas. In those 98.2 innings, pitchers have given up 97 hits and 44 earned runs while striking out 83 batters. Opponents are hitting just .263 against all Wildcat relievers this season. Six relievers have accumulated ERA’s of 5.00 or lower, three of which are 1.93 or lower in 62 total appearances.

Save the Day
K-State relievers have picked up 11 saves so far this season out of 20 total wins and are a perfect 11-of-11 in those save opportunities. Daniel Edwards, who earned All-Tournament honors in Tampa with two saves, leads the team and the Big 12 Conference with eight total this season. His 11 career saves are also the fourth-most in school history and he needs just one more to move into a tie for second. Sophomore Trevor Hurley has also picked up two saves, while Jason Linn closed out a close win in the season opener.

Start it Up
K-State continues to get solid pitching performances from its starters as 13 have gone six-plus innings in starts this season, including Brad Hutt who has lasted 6.0 innings in six of seven starts. Hutt is 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA and has won seven of his last 10 starts on the mound, dating back to last season. In fact, K-State starters are a combined 10-5 with 114 strikeouts this season.

Flashing the Leather
Kansas State has set new school records in fielding percentage in each of the last two seasons and this year’s squad is on track to make a run at a third. So far through 28 games, the Wildcats are fielding at a .975 clip, which ranks second in the Big 12 Conference. In Big 12-only games, Kansas State leads the league with a .986 fielding percentage. The Wildcats are 14-7 this season when committing one or no errors in a game and have committed one or no errors in 16 of their last 19 games.

Shut the Door Eddie
Junior closer Daniel Edwards has settled in nicely this season as the Wildcats’ new closer. After coming off a big summer as a stopper in the Northwoods League, Edwards has been brilliant so far with eight saves in eight chances and also has picked up two wins. In 11 total appearances this season, Edwards is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA with eight saves. The junior has struck out 25 batters in 16.1 innings while opponents are hitting just .091 against the right-hander. Dating back to last season, Edwards has recorded a save or a win in 11 of his last 12 appearances and has not yielded a run in his last 18.1 innings, dating back to last season.

Give Me Vaughn
Sophomore Rob Vaughn had a career day in K-State’s 11-9 win over No. 9 Texas in Austin. The Humble, Texas, native went 4-for-4 with a grand slam and four RBI in Sunday’s game in his hometown state. Over the last 12 games, Vaughn is 11-for-25 (.440) with two homers, three doubles and eight RBI and has seen his batting average rise to his current .271.

Bloxom is Clutch With Two outs
True freshman Justin Bloxom has stepped up nicely for the Cats at first base and/or designated hitter this season. Bloxom, who is the top freshman hitter in Big 12 only games, has raised his batting average to .316 and is tied for the team lead in RBI with 20. Bloxom, who has hit safely in seven of his last 10 games and 15 of his last 21, has driven in seven runs over the last seven games and has collected eight two-out RBI on the season.

Biery Coming on Strong
Drew Biery had a strong end to the 2006 season offensively for the Cats and the sophomore has picked things up as of late in 2007 after battling the injury bug. In his last 12 games, Biery is 11-for-35 (.314) with 10 RBI, while he is hitting .270 as a starter in 17 games. The sophomore is also ranked 18th in Big 12-only games with a .368 batting average

Justin From the Pen
Sophomore Justin Murray has been solid in relief as of late after earning four starts earlier this season. Murray, a local product of Manhattan High, has picked up two wins in his last two outings, both of them coming in league play. As a reliever this season, Murray is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 5.1 innings and has picked up wins at No. 9 Texas and last Sunday at home against Texas Tech.

Trevor Deals
Sophomore Trevor Hurley enters this week’s action with a 1-1 overall record with a 3.12 ERA and two saves on the season and has been a steady arm out of the pen lately. So far this season, Hurley has recorded multiple strikeouts in six of eight outings, has yielded no runs in five appearances and earned his first win of the season last weekend with 3.2 solid innings of relief against Texas Tech.

Eli’s Coming
Senior Eli Rumler, one of two seniors on this year’s squad, has surpassed the 100 career starts mark this season and has had a great first half of the season both offensively and defensively. Currently, Rumler holds the K-State career hit-by-pitches records with 26, and defensively, Rumler ranks seventh in career assists with 354 and needs 46 more to move into sixth. Rumler also has 13 career sacrifice bunts, which ranks sixth in school history. Rumler also has seen his batting average rise 40 points from last season as the senior hit .258 last season and heads into this week’s action with a .292 mark through 28 games.

The Missing Link
Sophomore Tyler Link has been solid handling the bat this season as the sophomore heads into the Kansas game with a .352 batting average. Link has collected a team-high six bunt base-hits on the season, has added three infield singles on the season and has collected multiple hits in five games.

Nate Has Been Solid of Late
Sophomore Nate Tenbrink has come up with several key two-out hits this season, including a three-run homer in the eighth inning of the Cal-Santa Barbara game. Tenbrink had entered the at-bat in a 1-for-27 drought but came through with a clutch hit to send the game into extra innings. Tenbrink also had a two-out, two-run single in a win over BYU and has since raised his batting average over 140 points to his current .247 mark. Over the last 18 games, Tenbrink leads the team with a .354 batting average, has collected 10 extra-base hits and has driven in 15 runs, 10 of which have come with two outs.

Reaching Safely
Sophomore outfielder Byron Wiley has provided some power to the middle of the order and has been the most consistent Wildcat at the plate this season. Wiley enters the week among the Big 12’s best in several offensive categories, including on-base percentage (3rd), batting (12th) and walks (t6th). The Tomball, Texas, native leads the Wildcats in 12 different offensive categories and has had multiple hits in eight games, while recording three or more hits on four different occasions and reaching base safely in 24 of 26 games played. Wiley also has hit safely in four straight games and in 17 of his last 20.

Friday Night Lights
Junior right-hander Brad Hutt has been solid as the Friday starter for the Wildcats. Hutt tossed 6.2 shutout innings against Penn State in the opener, giving the Wildcats their first season-opening shutout since the 1998 season, and followed with seven strong innings in Tampa in a win over Seton Hall. Hutt is 5-1 this season, ranks seventh in the league in ERA at 2.68 and has gone six-plus innings in six of seven starts. Dating back to last season, Hutt has won seven of his last 10 starts and has lasted six-plus innings in all seven of the  wins.

Two-Way Tyler
Freshman Tyler Ruch has made an instant impact for the Wildcats as a true freshman, and not in just one capacity. Ruch has been very effective out of the bullpen as a situational reliever, but also has started games at first base, the outfield and seen several pinch-hit appearances. On the mound, Ruch has compiled a 4.50 ERA in eight appearances and earned his first win on February 24 against Ohio State after 1.1 solid innings. Ruch has also been effective with first batters as six of the seven first hitters he has faced in relief have been retired. At the plate, Ruch is currently hitting .261 on the season and leads the team in pinch-hitting with a .667 mark (2-for-3) with one run driven in.

Hill Tops Century Mark
Kansas State head coach Brad Hill picked up his 100th win as head coach of the Wildcat program against North Dakota State on March 10. In three-plus seasons, Hill is 107-83-2 at Kansas State and is 525-174-2 overall as a head coach in 12-plus seasons. Hill needs just 23 more wins to pass Bob Brasher as the fourth-winningest coach in KSU history. In fact, Hill currently needs just 32 more wins to move all the way up to second place on the chart and pass Phil Wilson for second place.

Young Faces, Key Roles
Kansas State, with 24 total underclassmen on its squad this season, has seen many of those newcomers make an immediate impact on the field. Six freshmen position players have seen action so far this season, while four freshmen pitchers have seen time on the mound. At the sophomore level, six position players have played key roles this season while four second-year pitchers have logged innings.

Youth is Served
Kansas State fields one of the youngest teams in the Big 12 Conference this season, and with 34 players on the roster, 24 of those are underclassmen (13 freshmen and 11 sophomores). Nebraska and Baylor are the only two teams in the league that are comparable with 26 and 25, respectively. In terms of experience, the Wildcats boast two seniors, which are the fewest of any Big 12 team, and eight juniors to total 10 upperclassmen, which are the fewest in the Big 12 Conference.

Bulking Up RPI
Kansas State has bulked up its non-conference schedule in 2007 as it prepares for tough three-game stretches in league play down the road. In fact, the Wildcats currently have the 66th-toughest schedule in the country according to Boyd’s World and head into this weekend’s action with 19 games against teams that are ranked in this week’s Top 25. And, speaking of Boyd’s World, Kansas State checks in at No. 33 this week in the RPI ratings, which is fourth among Big 12 teams behind Texas (4), Texas A&M (9) and Oklahoma (10).

Wildcat Baseball on the Tube
Kansas State will have three of its 2007 baseball games air regionally on television as both the Big 12 Conference and the Kansas State Athletic Department announced their baseball television packages. The Big 12 has announced its six-game league package with Fox Sports Net and the May 5 Wildcat game at Kansas was one of the selections. First pitch for the game is set for 3 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence with the entire Big 12 region gaining television access. K-State also announced two more home games, the March 31 tilt with Texas Tech and the April 3 game against Kansas, will be televised locally on Fox Sports Midwest. The game against Kansas, which is slated as a non-conference game, is set to begin at 7 p.m., while the Saturday game with the Red Raiders is set for a 2 p.m. first pitch at Tointon Stadium.