K-State Faces No. 7 Wichita State Tuesday

Game 41

Kansas State (25-15) at #7 Wichita State (34-9)

April 24 7 p.m.

Eck Stadium (7,851) Wichita, Kan.

Radio:
Tuesday’s game will be a K-State Sports Network broadcast with Wyatt Thompson, Brian Smoller and Matt Walters calling the action.

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

Series:
Wichita State leads the all-time series, 47-24, but Kansas State is 3-2 over the last five games. K-State is also just 8-29 all-time in Wichita with its last win coming back in 2005 with a 4-2 win at Eck Stadium.

Watch For: Byron Wiley
Sophomore Byron Wiley has homered in three of his last four games and enters this week’s action with a .393 average with five homers and 28 RBI while hitting safely in 13 of his last 16 games.

Kansas State begins a four-game road swing on Tuesday as the Wildcats travel down to Wichita to face the seventh-ranked Shockers of Wichita State in the two teams’ second meeting of the season. Tuesday’s 7 p.m. game from Eck Stadium will be broadcast across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson, Brian Smoller and Matt Walters calling the action. The Wildcats enter the contest with a 25-15 overall mark while the Shockers continue to play solid baseball and enter the game at 34-9 on the season. Wichita State took the previous meeting between the two teams, 8-3, back on March 27 in Manhattan. Kansas State is coming off a 1-2 record against Oklahoma last weeken in a Big 12 Conference series at Tointon Stadium. The Cats got off to a great start on the weekend, winning 10-6 on Friday night, but could not hold off the Sooner bats as they dropped 20-9 and 12-4 decisions in the final two games to drop the series. Offensively, Kansas State has picked things up as it enters the Wichita State game having hit .343 as a team in the last seven games and getting to the 10-hit mark in six of those seven games. Byron Wiley has continued to swing a hot bat for Kansas State as the sophomore has homered in three of the last four games and currently leads the Wildcats in 14 different offensive categories, including average (.393), home runs (5), RBI (28) and stolen bases (10). On the mound, Brad Hutt has been the most consistent of the starting pitchers, as he is tied for fourth in the Big 12 Conference with seven wins, while closer Daniel Edwards has put near perfect numbers out of the bullpen. In 16 total appearances this season, Edwards is 2-0 with nine saves and has struck out 37 batters in just 23.0 innings while opponents are hitting just .113 off the junior.

Noteworthy
Under Brad Hill, Kansas State is 66-32 when its starting pitcher goes six-plus innings.
The Wildcats also are 84-12 under Hill when out-hitting their opponent.
The Cats are also 74-22-1 under Hill when recording 10 or more hits.
Over the last three-plus seasons, K-State is 93-5 when leading after seven innings and 74-25-2 when scoring first.
K-State currently hitting .300 as a team in Big 12 play, which ranks fourth in the league
K-State’s .300 team hitting mark in league play is currently the highest in four years under coach Brad Hill.
K-State is 16-4 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 60-of-86 first batters.
K-State has outscored its opponent, 62-22, in the eighth and ninth innings this season.
K-State is 20-4 this season when out-hitting its opponent.
The Cats are 17-0 when leading after six innings, 18-0 when leading after seven and 23-1 after eight.
K-State is 25-11 when scoring three or more runs this season.
K-State is hitting .343 as a team in its last seven games.
K-State has eight players with 10 or more at-bats who are hitting .300 or higher in the last 16 games.
Adam Muenster is 12-for-25 (.480) with six runs scored in his last six games
Tyler Ruch has hit safely in four of his last five games and in five of his last six.
Byron Wiley has hit safely in 29 of 38 games played this season and in 13 of his last 16 games.
Wiley is also hitting .400 with a .650 slugging and eight extra-base hits in his last 16 games.
Defensively, Rumler also ranks seventh in school history with 371 career assists.
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 24.1 innings of work and has 37 K’s in that span.
Edwards has recorded a win or a save in 12 of his last 15 appearances.

Scouting Wichita State
Wichita State heads into this week’s matchup with a 34-9 overall record and a No. 7 national ranking in the Collegiate Baseball Poll. The Shockers are coming off a three-game MVC sweep of Missouri State and will have a busy midweek schedule with a home date on Tuesday with the Cats and a Wednesday night game at Arkansas.  The Shockers continue to be solid in all phases of the game as they enter Tuesday’s matchup with a .307 team batting average, a 2.50 team ERA and are fielding at a .973 clip as a team. All-American Damon Sublett leads the offensive attack with a .376 average while nine different players have hit multiple homers this season. On the mound, Tuesday starter Tyson Fugett is 0-0 with a 2.31 ERA in six appearances and 11 strikeouts in 11.2 innings of work this season.

The Series
Wichita State leads the all-time series, 47-24, but Kansas State is 3-2 over the last five games. K-State is also 8-29 all-time in Wichita against the Shockers and the Cats are 3-4 against Wichita State under Brad Hill. Since 2004, neither team has won by more than five runs and four of the six games have been decided by three runs or less. K-State had won three in a row in the series until last season’s 7-3 Shocker win in Wichita and the Shox have now won twp straight meetings in the series after their 8-3 win in March at Tointon Stadium.

The Last Meeting
Kansas State jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings, but Wichita State scored eight unanswered runs over the final seven innings as the No. 10 Shockers knocked off the Wildcats, 8-3, back on March 27 before 2,197 fans at Tointon Stadium. Wichita State reliever Noah Booth (2-0) earned the win in relief after tossing 3.1 perfect innings after the Cats had opened up a 3-0 lead. K-State chased Shocker starter Anthony Capra after three innings as the lefty surrendered three runs on four hits with four strikeouts over the 3.0 innings. Booth came into the game with two outs in the fourth and went on to retire all 10 batters he faced for the win.

Out of the Pen
With 16 games left in the 2007 regular season, K-State has seen its pitching staff put up solid numbers, especially the bullpen. K-State’s relievers are 12-4 with a 4.15 ERA in 156.0 innings of work, a number that is slightly skewed after the series at No. 9 Texas and at home against Oklahoma. In those 156.0 innings, pitchers have given up 156 hits and 72 earned runs while striking out 128 batters. Opponents are hitting just .262 against all Wildcat relievers this season. If you take out six games against the Longhorns and Sooners, the Wildcat bullpen is 11-4 with a 3.27 ERA and a .234 opponent batting average in 124.0 innings.

Saving The Day
K-State relievers have picked up 13 saves so far this season out of 25 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 is second in 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.

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 40 games, the Wildcats are fielding at a .973 clip, which ranks third in the Big 12 Conference. In Big 12-only games, Kansas State is second in the league with a .977 fielding percentage. The Wildcats are 18-9 this season when committing one or no errors in a game and have committed one or no errors in 23 of their last 31 games.

Edwards Among the Nation’s Top Closers
Junior closer Daniel Edwards has settled in nicely this season as the Wildcats’ new closer and has recently been added to the watch list for the 2007 Stopper of the Year Award. Edwards has been brilliant so far with nine saves in 10 chances and also has picked up two wins. In 16 appearances this season, Edwards is 2-0 with a 0.78 ERA with nine saves. The junior has struck out 37 batters in 23.0 innings while opponents are hitting just .113 against him. Dating back to last season, Edwards has recorded a save or a win in 12 of his last 16 appearances and has yielded two runs in his last 26.0 innings.

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 second in school history in career relief appearances with 51.

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 (3rd) and walks (4th). The Tomball, Texas, native leads the Wildcats in 14 different offensive categories and has had multiple hits in 16 games, while recording three or more hits on seven different occasions and reaching base safely in 35 of 38 games played. Wiley also has hit safely in 22 of his last 27 games.

Wiley Providing a Power Surge
Wiley gave the K-State offense some needed power this past weekend against Oklahoma, collecting five extra-base hits in three games, including two homers. In fact, Wiley has reached bases by way of an extra-base hit eight times in his last 16 games to raise his current slugging percentage to .556.

Steady Eddie
Senior Eddie Vasquez has been one of the more consistent hitters for the Wildcats during Big 12 Conference play. Besides hitting safely in four of his last five games, Vasquez is also hitting .348 over his last 16 games and is currently ranked seventh in the Big 12 with his .357 batting average during conference play.

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 17 games, Vaughn is 20-for-56 (.357) with two homers, five doubles and 15 RBI and has hit safely in 12 of his last 17 games.

Muenster is on Fire
Redshirt freshman Adam Muenster has caught fire at the plate as of late and has seen his current batting average rise to .276. In his last six games, Muenster is hitting .480 (12-for-25) with six runs scored and two RBI. Muenster has recorded multiple hits in three of his last five games, including a career-best four-hit game at Oklahoma State on April 15.

Trevor Deals
Sophomore Trevor Hurley enters this week’s action with a 1-1 overall record with a 3.07 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 10 of 12 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 nine runners with just two of them scoring and has retired 10 of the 11 first-batters he has faced in relief. Hurley earned his first career start last Wednesday against Central Christian and yielded just one hit with three K’s in 2.0 innings.

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 season both offensively and defensively. Currently, Rumler holds the K-State career hit-by-pitches records with 31, and defensively, Rumler ranks seventh in career assists with 381 and needs 19 more to move into sixth. Rumler also has 14 career sacrifice bunts, which ties for fifth in school history. Rumler also has seen his batting average rise 30 points from last season as the senior hit .258 last season and heads into this week’s action with a .281 mark through 40 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 180 points to his current .289 mark. Over his last 28 games, Tenbrink leads the team with a .360 batting average, has collected 13 extra-base hits and has driven in 22 runs, 12 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 7-2 this season, ranks eighth in the league in ERA at 2.94 and has gone six-plus innings in eight of 10 starts. Dating back to last season, Hutt has won nine of his last 13 starts and has gotten to the sixth inning in all nine 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 4.15 ERA in 11 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 10 of the 11 first hitters he has faced in relief have been retired. At the plate, Ruch is currently hitting .292 on the season and has hit safely in five of his last seven games.

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 112-90-2 at Kansas State and is 530-181-2 overall as a head coach in 12-plus seasons. Hill needs just 18 more wins to pass Bob Brasher as the fourth-winningest coach in KSU history. In fact, Hill currently needs just 27 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 32nd-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. 31 this week in the RPI ratings, which is fifth among Big 12 teams behind Texas A&M (5), Texas (6), Oklahoma (19) and Nebraska (24).

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.