K-State Hosts Texas Tech in Key Big 12 Series
K-State Hosts Texas Tech in Key Big 12 Series
April 20, 2011
Thursday, April 21 - Saturday, April 23
Manhattan, Kan. /// Tointoin Family Stadium (2,331)
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Following a four-day stretch that saw Kansas State go 2-2, the Wildcats host Texas Tech, Thursday-Saturday, April 21-23, at Tointon Family Stadium in an important Big 12 series for both clubs. The weekend set gets underway Thursday with a 6:30 p.m., tilt before the two teams square off in another 6:30 p.m., contest on Friday. Saturday's contest is scheduled for 1 p.m., and will be played in front of a national audience as FSN will televise the series finale.
Listeners in the Manhattan area can hear the entire series on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN, while the Friday contest will be picked up by the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson, Brian Smoller and Matt Walters on the call. Greg Lucas and Jack Lazorko will call Saturday's action in FSN's first Big 12 telecast of the season.
Kansas State, which has traded wins in its last nine games, got back on the winning track Tuesday night after dropping two games last weekend at Nebraska. The Wildcats spotted the Bears a 2-1 lead through two innings of play, but they exploded for six runs in the third en route to a 10-4 victory. Ross Kivett led the way for K-State as he tallied a career high four hits and drove in three runs. Nick Martini and Jason King also went 2-for-4 with two RBI as the top third of the Wildcat lineup combined to go 8-for-13 and drive in seven of the team's 10 runs. K-State also received solid pitching as starter Justin Lindsey left the game with a 9-2 lead in the fifth and took the win in a predetermined pitch-count start. Relievers Blake Freeman and Levi Schlick were equally impressive, combining to pitch 4.2 scoreless innings, while Freeman struck out two batters.
Martini leads the K-State regular starters with a .326 batting average, while he has 10 doubles, two triples, a homer and 25 RBI on the season. The Prairie Ridge, Ill., product also paces the team with 12 stolen bases. Martini saw his NCAA record streak of consecutive games reaching base safely end last Sunday at 93, but the junior has still reached base safely (by virtue of a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch) in 145 of his 156 career starts. Since the streak ended, Martini has been on fire as he is 4-for-8 with a double, a home run and five RBI. Kivett is riding a nine-game hitting streak in which he has tallied a .483 average, and if he gets a hit in Thursday's contest, he will hold the longest hitting streak by a freshman since 1994.
Kansas State is expected to start a pair of left-handers in Shane Conlon and Kyle Hunter on Thursday and Friday, while right-hander Matt Applegate will start Saturday's series finale. Conlon will garner his first career start as the two-way player is 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA in five relief appearances during his freshman campaign. His last outing was at Nebraska on Sunday when he allowed an unearned run on three hits with two strikeouts, while he earned the win at Baylor on March 26 by pitching 2.1 no-hit innings. Hunter will be looking to rebound off a loss last week at NU when he allowed three runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 4.2 innings. Applegate took a no decision against the Huskers in a game the Wildcats eventually won as the junior allowed two runs on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work.
DID YOU KNOW
• Kansas State's victory last Sunday over Nebraska was the 250th for head coach Brad Hill during his tenure in Manhattan. He is just the second coach in school history to hit the 250-win mark after Mike Clark tallied 435 victories from 1987-2003.
• The Wildcats have 267 strikeouts this year and are on pace for 415, which would rank third in school history.
• K-State's pitching staff holds an ERA of 3.70, which would be the lowest since the introduction of the aluminum bat in 1977 and the fifth lowest overall in school history.
• 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).
• Jason and Jared King is the only set of brothers nationally to homer in the same game this season as they hit a solo- and two-run home run, respectively, in a win over No. 5 Texas A&M on April 3.
• Nick Martini's streak of consecutive games reaching base came to an end last Sunday at 93. He recorded a hit in 76 of the games during the streak, while the junior held a .493 on-base percentage and a .387 batting average during that span.
• James Allen set a new career high with 10 saves this season. With 24 career saves, the junior is just two away from tying both the school's single-season (12; 2008) and career (26; 2005-08) marks held by Daniel Edwards.
• Freshman infielder Ross Kivett is currently riding a team-high nine-game hitting streak. During that span, Kivett holds a .483 (14-for-29) average with a four RBI, a walk, two hit-by-pitches and five runs scored.
SOLID PLAY ON ITS OWN TURF
Kansas State has 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 58-18 (.763) record at home over the past two-plus years. K-State's home conference record is also impressive since the beginning of the 2009 season as the Cats are 19-14, including a 10-4 mark in 2010 and a 3-3 record against two ranked teams to begin the 2011 Big 12 schedule.
TOUGH FROM THE START
Kansas State's top two starting pitchers - Kyle Hunter and Matt Applegate - have combined to register nine quality outings in their last 14 total starts. The duo has combined for a 5-4 record and a 3.09 ERA over the past seven weeks, surrendering 30 earned runs in a combined 87.1 innings of work. They also struck out 73 batters as opposed to 25 walks.
Hunter notched his first Big 12 win of the season against No. 7 Oklahoma, helping the Cats shutout the Sooners for the first time since March 31, 1990, while he earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors. He allowed just four hits in 23 at-bats (.174) against a team that led the league with a .337 batting average entering the weekend, while he limited OU to fewer than five hits for just the fourth time this season. He also stifled an opponent that had a five-game winning streak entering the series in which it scored 11.6 runs and tallied 15 hits per game.
Applegate, who was two outs away from recording K-State's first no-hitter since 1976 against Long Island, has gone at least five innings and limited opponents to three runs or less in four of his five Big 12 starts. Applegate bounced back from a loss against OU to surrender two runs and strike out four batters in 6.1 innings last week at Nebraska, a game the Cats won 3-2.
TEXAS TECH AT A GLANCE
Texas Tech enters the series with a 24-15 overall record and a 6-9 mark in Big 12 action after dropping a series last weekend at No. 4 Texas. After falling in Friday-night's contest, 4-1, the Red Raiders came back to even the series as they picked up a 2-1 victory on Saturday. Sunday's rubber match saw Tech hold a 1-0 lead through seven innings until the Longhorns scored three times in the eighth for a 3-1 series-clinching victory. Texas Tech was able to quickly erase the series loss with a victory on Monday at Texas State by a final margin of 8-5.
Texas Tech ranks third in the Big 12 with a .291 batting average, while the Red Raiders are second in the league with a .394 on-base percentage. The Tech offense is led by junior infielder Reid Redman, who is hitting .325 with 10 doubles and 26 RBI. Sophomore Jamodrick McGruder is second with a .324 average and ranks second in the Big 12 with 22 stolen bases. Two-way player David Paiz (.317) and junior Kelby Tomlinson (.315) round out the Texas Tech starters that are hitting above .300.
The Red Raiders are expected to start Paiz on Thursday and Trey Masek on Friday, while Brennan Stewart gets the nod in the series finale. Paiz will be making his sixth start of the season as the right-hander holds a 3-2 record with a 5.29 ERA in 10 appearances. Paiz, a freshman, started the series opener last week at Texas and was saddled with the loss after allowing three runs on four hits with three walks in 6.1 innings.
Masek has made six starts this season as the right-hander holds a 2-2 mark and a 4.29 ERA in 11 total outings. The freshman earned his first career Big 12 win in Austin last Saturday as he threw 6.1 scoreless innings with two hits, three walks and a pair of strikeouts. Stewart also pitched strong at Texas in his first start of the season as he left the game with the lead in the eighth inning. The right-hander pitched 7.1 frames, allowing a run on four hits with two walks and five fanned batters in a game the Longhorns came back to win. Stewart is 2-0 on the year with a 1.78 ERA in 12 appearances.
THE TEXAS TECH SERIES
Texas Tech holds a 27-16-1 advantage in the all-time series against K-State, but the series is tied 7-7-1 since the beginning of the 2006 season. That year, the Red Raiders and Wildcats split the first two games before a Sunday tie. The Cats then took both the 2007 and 2008 series, but Tech came back with consecutive series victories of its own in 2009 and 2010. In games played in Manhattan, Texas Tech holds a slim 10-8 advantage after taking two of three from the Cats on their home turf in 2009.
Last season saw Texas Tech win the series after taking the first two games by counts of 8-5 and 13-4. Needing a victory to salvage the series, Kansas State spotted the Red Raiders five runs over the first three innings, but scored 10 unanswered to win 10-6. The Cats scored five times in the sixth inning and three more in the seventh led by Carter Jurica, Nick Martini, Daniel Dellasega and Kent Urban, who had two RBI apiece. The comeback wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for James Allen, who pitched 5.1 innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits with five strikeouts.
MARTINI'S RIDE WAS RECORD-BREAKING
One of the most amazing streaks in college baseball came to an end last Sunday at Nebraska as junior outfielder Nick Martini failed to reach base safely (by virtue of a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch) for the first time since May 31, 2009. Martini went 93 consecutive games reaching base safely as he broke the known Division I record held by Elon's Cory Harrilchak, who reached in 86-straight games from April 4, 2008-May 21, 2009.
The Prairie Ridge, Ill., product reached base in the final game of 2009, all 59 games last season and the first 33 contests of 2011. During Martini's run, the junior held an on-base percentage of .493 and had at least one hit in 76 of those games.
Even though the streak came to an end, Martini has still reached base safely in 145 of his 156 career starts, while he has recorded at least one hit in 121 of those games.
GET THE BALL TO ALLEN
Junior closer James Allen has been one of the toughest relief pitchers in the Big 12 this season. The St. Charles, Mo., product is 2-1 with a 0.70 ERA and 10 saves, which is second in the Big 12 and seventh nationally through last weekend. The right-hander, who was named to the preseason watch list for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year award, has also struck out 31 as opposed to just six walks. Allen is two saves away from tying the Kansas State single-season and career records held by Daniel Edwards who had 12 saves in 2008 and 26 in his career from 2005-08.
Allen's best outing of the year came in a win against Western Illinois in which he threw five perfect innings with 10 strikeouts, the most by a Wildcat reliever since 1986. Outside of a game against Texas when he uncharacteristically walked five batters that led to two runs, Allen has been dominant. In his other 16 appearances combined, the junior has not allowed an earned run and has surrendered just 12 hits and a walk with 30 strikeouts in 24.1 innings.