Baseball Faces Road Test at Oklahoma State

Games 34-36
K-State (22-11, 4-5) at #15 Oklahoma State (25-8, 6-3)
April 14 2 p.m.
April 15 1 p.m
April 16 2 p.m

Allie P. Reynolds Stadium (4,000) Stillwater, Okla.

Radio:
All three games will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN in Manhattan and online at k-statesports.com. Matt Walters and Kenny Lannou will call the action.

Internet:
Live stats of all three games will be available at k-statesports.com.

Series:
Oklahoma State leads the all-time series, 145-47, while K-State is 11-82 all-time in Stillwater and 10-28 against the Cowboys in Big 12 play.

Watch For: Byron Wiley
Byron Wiley has picked things up offensively over the last eight games as the sophomore leads the team with a .464 average (13-for-28) over that span. Wiley has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games and has reached base safely in 29 of 31 games played.

Kansas State heads back on the road this weekend as the Wildcats travel to Stillwater, Okla., to face the 15th-ranked Cowboys in a three-game Big 12 series beginning Saturday. Saturday’s series opener will begin at 2 p.m., while Sunday’s middle game will have a 1 p.m. first pitch. Monday’s series finale at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium will get underway at 2 p.m. All three games will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN in Manhattan and online at k-statesports.com. Matt Walters and Kenny Lannou will call the action. The Wildcats, who dropped a 3-1 decision to Creighton Wednesday night, are coming off a tough weekend series last week at home against Missouri. The Cats rolled in game one, 12-0, before dropping tough 3-0 and 7-6 games to close out the series. K-State will look to rebound this weekend in Stillwater as the Cats enter the series having lost three straight games for the first time this season. Leading the way offensively for the Wildcats of late has been sophomore Byron Wiley, who is hitting .464 over his last eight games and has reached base safely in 29 of 31 games played this season. Freshman Justin Bloxom, who hit his first collegiate homer on Wednesday, has been good in the clutch as the switch-hitter leads the squad with 12 two-out RBI this season. On the mound, Brad Hutt, who will start Saturday’s game, is currently second in the Big 12 with a 2.38 ERA and leads the squad with a 6-1 record. Relievers Trevor Hurley, Daniel Edwards, Todd Vogel and Justin Murray have also been solid in relief during conference play as Edwards leads the league with nine saves.


 Noteworthy
Under Brad Hill, Kansas State is 65-31 when its starting pitcher goes six-plus innings.
The Wildcats also are 81-10 under Hill when out-hitting their opponent.
The Cats are also 71-19-1 under Hill when recording 10 or more hits.
Over the last three-plus seasons, K-State is 90-5 when leading after seven innings and 73-23-2 when scoring first.
K-State is leading the Big 12 in fielding percentage at .988 in conference-only games.
K-State is 14-3 this season when giving up three or less walks in a game.
K-State relievers are 13-for-14 in save opportunities and have retired 52-of-75 first batters.
K-State has outscored its opponent, 54-13, in the eighth and ninth innings this season.
K-State is 17-2 this season when out-hitting its opponent.
The Cats are 15-0 when leading after six innings, 15-0 when leading after seven and 20-1 after eight.
K-State is 22-7 when scoring three or more runs this season.
K-State is hitting .293 as a team in 26 day games this season.
Freshman Justin Bloxom has hit safely in 11 of his last 15 games.
Rob Vaughn is 13-for-34 (.382) with two homers and 11 RBI over his last 10 games.
Byron Wiley has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games and has reached base safely in 29 of 31 games played.
Eddie Vasquez has hit safely in six of his last eight games and is hitting .387 over that span.
Eli Rumler ranks sixth in school history with 13 career sacrifice bunts.
Defensively, Rumler also ranks seventh in school history with 365 career assists.
Pitcher Justin Murray has a 2-0 record with a save and a 1.50 ERA in 12.0 innings as a reliever this season.
Closer Daniel Edwards has 12 career saves, which is tied for second-best in school history
Edwards has yielded just two runs in his last 23.1 innings of work and has 34 K’s in that span.
Edwards has recorded a win or a save in 12 of his last 14 appearances.

Scouting Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State heads into the weekend with a No. 15 national ranking and a 25-8 overall record. The Cowboys are currently in second place in the Big 12 standings with a 6-3 league mark and are one of the top offensive clubs in the nation. Through 33 games, Oklahoma State is hitting .351 as a team with 52 homers and has eight every-day players who are hitting .325 or better. Tyler Mach leads the way with a .448 average with nine home runs and 46 RBI, while Corey Brown has hit 14 homers and driven in a team-high 51 runs. Seven Cowboys have hit three or more homers and five have driven in 20-plus runs. On the mound, Oliver Odle and Andrew Oliver lead the starting group with a combined 9-3 record, while Justin Friend leads the team in saves with four. As a team, the Cowboys have accumulated a 3.65 ERA and have eight pitchers with ERA’s of 2.65 or lower.

The Series
Oklahoma State leads the all-time series, 145-47, while K-State is 11-82 all-time in Stillwater and 10-28 against the Cowboys in Big 12 play. As of late, Oklahoma State has won 11 of the last 12 meetings between the two teams, and the lone K-State win was a 9-5 triumph in Stillwater back in 2005. The Wildcats have not won a series against the Cowboys in Stillwater since the 1971 season.

Out of the Pen
Just past the halfway mark of the 2007 season, K-State has seen its pitching staff put up solid numbers, especially the bullpen. K-State’s relievers are 11-4 with a 3.57 ERA in 123.2 innings of work, a number that went up steadily after the tough series at No. 9 Texas. In those 123.2 innings, pitchers have given up 112 hits and 49 earned runs while striking out 110 batters. Opponents are hitting just .244 against all Wildcat relievers this season. Six relievers have accumulated ERA’s of 5.00 or lower, four of which are 1.50 or lower in 76 total appearances.

Saving The Day
K-State relievers have picked up 13 saves so far this season out of 22 total wins and are 13-of-14 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 nine total this season. His 12 career saves are also the second-most in school history and he needs six more to move into a tie for first. Sophomore Trevor Hurley has also picked up two saves, while Jason Linn and Justin Murray have also notched saves.

Start Your Engines
K-State continues to get solid pitching performances from its starters as 15 have gone six-plus innings in starts this season, including Brad Hutt who has lasted 6.0 innings in seven of eight starts. Hutt is 6-1 with a 2.38 ERA and has won eight of his last 11 starts on the mound, dating back to last season.

Flashing Some 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 33 games, the Wildcats are fielding at a .975 clip, which ranks third in the Big 12 Conference. In Big 12-only games, Kansas State leads the league with a .988 fielding percentage. The Wildcats are 15-8 this season when committing one or no errors in a game and have committed one or no errors in 19 of their last 24 games.

Edwards Slams the Door
Junior closer Daniel Edwards has settled in nicely this season as the Wildcats’ new closer. Edwards has been brilliant so far with nine saves in 10 chances and also has picked up two wins. In 13 appearances this season, Edwards is 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA with nine saves. The junior has struck out 31 batters in 20.1 innings while opponents are hitting just .125 against him. Dating back to last season, Edwards has recorded a save or a win in 12 of his last 14 appearances and has yielded two runs in his last 23.1 innings, dating back to last season.

Daniel Climbing the save Charts
Daniel Edwards’ nine saves this season are the second-most in single-season school history and he needs just two more to move into a tie for first. For his career, Edwards now has 12 saves, which are tied for the second-most in school history and he needs six more to tie the school record of 18, set by David Johnson. Edwards also ranks fourth school history in career relief appearances with 47.

The Big Bopper
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 (1st), batting (6th) and walks (5th). The Tomball, Texas, native leads the Wildcats in 12 different offensive categories and has had multiple hits in 12 games, while recording three or more hits on five different occasions and reaching base safely in 29 of 31 games played. Wiley also has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games.

Give Me Vaughn
Sophomore Rob Vaughn has picked up things considerably at the plate, which began with 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 10 games, Vaughn is 13-for-34 (.382) with two homers, five doubles and 11 RBI and has seen his batting average rise to his current .270 mark.

Bloxom is Clutch With Two Gone
True freshman Justin Bloxom has stepped up nicely for the Cats at first base and/or designated hitter this season. Bloxom, who one of the top freshman hitters in the Big 12, has raised his batting average to .290 and leads the team in RBI with 21. Bloxom, who has hit safely in 11 of his last 15 games, has driven in 12 runs with two outs this season, which includes his first collegiate homer, a two-out solo shot against Creighton.

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 and a save in his last six outings, with five of them coming in league play. As a reliever this season, Murray is 2-0 with a save and a 1.50 ERA in 12.0 innings and has picked up wins at No. 9 Texas and at home against Texas Tech.

Trevor Deals
Sophomore Trevor Hurley enters this weekend’s action with a 1-1 overall record with a 2.45 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 eight of 10 outings, has yielded no runs in seven appearances and earned his first win of the season with 3.2 solid innings of relief against Texas Tech. Hurley also has inherited seven runners with just two of them scoring and has retired nine of the 10 first-batters he has faced.

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 29, and defensively, Rumler ranks seventh in career assists with 365 and needs 35 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 55 points from last season as the senior hit .258 last season and heads into this weekend’s action with a .301 mark through 33 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 155 points to his current .260 mark. Over his last 21 games, Tenbrink leads the team with a .338 batting average, has collected 10 extra-base hits and has driven in 18 runs, 10 of which have come with two outs.

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 6-1 this season, ranks second in the league in ERA at 2.38 and has gone six-plus innings in seven of eight starts. Dating back to last season, Hutt has won eight of his last 11 starts and has lasted six-plus innings in all eight 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 4.70 ERA in 10 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 nine of the 10 first hitters he has faced in relief have been retired. At the plate, Ruch is currently hitting .258 on the season and leads the team in pinch-hitting with a .500 mark (2-for-4) with one run driven in. Ruch also hit his first career homer last Sunday in a 7-6 loss to Missouri, a game in which he was also credited with the loss on the mound.

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 109-86-2 at Kansas State and is 527-177-2 overall as a head coach in 12-plus seasons. Hill needs just 21 more wins to pass Bob Brasher as the fourth-winningest coach in KSU history. In fact, Hill currently needs just 30 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. 34 this week in the RPI ratings, which is fifth among Big 12 teams behind Texas (6), Texas A&M (8), Oklahoma (13) and Nebraska (31).

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 had its Saturday game against Texas Tech and its Tuesday night game against Kansas televised on Fox Sports Net.