Wildcats Face In-State Foes to Begin Busy Week
Wildcats Face In-State Foes to Begin Busy Week
April 23, 2012
Tuesday, April 24 - Wednesday, April 25
Manhattan, Kan. /// Tointon Family Stadium (2,331) /// Lawrence, Kan. /// Hoglund Ballpark (2,500)
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State kicks off a five-game week with contests against in-state rivals as the Wildcats host Wichita State on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., at Tointon Family Stadium before traveling to Lawrence, Kan., on Wednesday to take on Kansas in a non-conference game beginning at 6 p.m., at Hoglund Ballpark. This week marks just the second time in program history and the first since 1995 that K-State will take on both in-state teams in consecutive days.
Both games can be seen throughout the state of Kansas on Cox Communications' Kansas 22, as well as in the Kansas City area on MetroSports. Brian Smoller and former K-State head coach Mike Clark will call the game against the Shockers, while Mark Ewing and Danan Hughes will have the call on Wednesday night from Lawrence. Both games will be aired in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN with Wyatt Thompson and Matt Walters on Tuesday, while Smoller joins Walters on the air for Wednesday's non-conference tilt against the Jayhawks.
A tailgate precedes Tuesday's game against the Shockers as select food and beverage items will be available beginning at 5 p.m., directly behind the stadium off College Avenue. Fans can order tickets online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or at the Tointon Family Stadium box office prior to the game.
K-STATE AT A GLANCE
K-State begins a stretch of 10 of its next 12 at home this week, a place that the Wildcats hold a 12-7 record. Kansas State will be looking to bounce back from a three-game sweep at the hands of Missouri last weekend in Columbia. The Tigers opened the series with a 13-4 victory before edging the Wildcats on Saturday, 4-3. In that game, K-State led 3-0 before Missouri scored two runs in the seventh and two more in the ninth - including the final on a bases-loaded walk - for the comeback win. MU then shut out K-State, 7-0, on Sunday to complete the sweep.
The Wildcats, who are fourth in the Big 12 in hitting, are led by a trio of hitters who rank highly in the Big 12 in Jared King, Tanner Witt and Wade Hinkle. King is third in the league with a .372 batting average and ranks in the top 10 of the league in six categories. Witt has been the most consistent Wildcat as the .343 hitter has reached base in 32 of the last 33 games, while he has not been held hitless in consecutive games since February. Hinkle is 11th in the Big 12 with a .336 average, while his team-leading seven home runs are tied for second in the league.
K-State is expected to start left-hander Jared Moore on Tuesday against Wichita State, while the Wildcats have not decided a starter for Wednesday's game at KU. Moore is 2-3 with a 4.75 ERA this season in 14 games, which includes five starts. He pitched one inning in relief on Sunday at Missouri, allowing a hit and striking out a batter against the only two Tigers he faced. He started last Tuesday's game against Northern Colorado, allowing just one run on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts in a career-long five innings of work.
DID YOU KNOW
Kansas State will play Wichita State and KU on consecutive days for just the second time in program history and the first since 1995.
The Wildcat pitching staff has reached double digits in strikeouts 11 times this year, the fifth-most since 2004.
K-State leads the Big 12 with a .980 fielding percentage and were fourth nationally in that department last week.
The Wildcats also ranked in the top 20 of the NCAA in three other categories last week: steals (5th), on-base percentage (18th) and walks (20th).
Tanner Witt has reached base safely in 36 of his 39 games played this season.
WICHITA STATE AT A GLANCE
Wichita State enters Tuesday's contest with a 24-19 overall record after sporting a 6-6 Missouri Valley Conference mark through four series. Last weekend against Missouri State, the Shockers were blanked on Friday night, 6-0, and fell again on Saturday to the Bears by a final count of 7-2. WSU was able to come back and salvage the final game of the series with a 3-2 Sunday victory.
The Shockers, who are hitting .276 as a team, are led by a trio of .300 hitters in Johnny Coy, Taylor Doggett and Dayne Parker. Coy leads the team with his .325 batting average, while he is tops on the team in doubles with 10 and paces the squad with 44 RBI. His RBI total is 16 more than the Shocker in second place, which is Casey Gillaspie with 28. Doggett is hitting .316 with five doubles and 10 RBI, while Parker is hitting at a .310 clip with nine doubles, two home runs and 20 RBI. Gillaspie leads Wichita State with eight home runs.
Wichita State is expected to start right-hander Mitch Mormann Tuesday night. The senior holds a 3-2 record and a 4.10 ERA in 11 games, which includes 10 starts. In 41.2 innings this season, Mormann has allowed 19 earned runs on 37 hits with 24 walks and 21 strikeouts. He pitched one scoreless inning of relief on Saturday against MSU, while his last start came on April 14 against Evansville. Against the Aces, Mormann allowed three runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
THE WICHITA STATE SERIES
Wichita State leads the overall series against Kansas State, 49-31, but the Wildcats are 19-17 in Manhattan and have been tough lately as they have won 10 of the last 14 meetings and six of the last seven. K-State saw its winning streak against WSU reach six games after winning the first game of the 2011 series in Manhattan. In that contest, K-State used a four-run third inning and solid pitching from Kayvon Bahramzadeh, Evan Marshall and James Allen to win, 5-2. The trio combined for 5.1 shutout innings of relief, while Mike Kindel fueled the four-run inning with a two-run homer. The Shockers came through with a 7-6 win in extra innings later in the season in Wichita as Tyler Grimes' two-RBI single won the game in the bottom of the 11th after K-State took a one-run lead in the top half.
K-State is 99-101-1 all-time against current members of the Missouri Valley Conference and will be looking to get back on the winning track against the MVC as it lost to Missouri State earlier this season, 3-0, in Springfield, Mo.
KANSAS AT A GLANCE
Kansas, which is 16-25 overall and 4-11 in Big 12 play, is coming off a series loss at Texas last weekend. The Jayhawks won the series opener, 7-2, behind a three-hit complete game by Frank Duncan. However, the Longhorns were able to come back with victories of 3-0 and 7-2 en route to the series win.
The Jayhawks are hitting .247 as a team and are paced by senior James Stanfield's .300 average. Jordan Dreiling is second at .294, while another senior, Chris Manship, is third at .281. Zac Elgie leads KU with 10 doubles, four home runs and 24 RBI. Connor McKay, who is hitting .208, also has four home runs to tie for team-high honors.
KU is expected to start right-hander Drew Morovick on Wednesday. In 12 games, including six starts, the freshman holds a 3-1 record and a 5.08 ERA after allowing 16 earned runs on 36 hits with seven walks and 15 strikeouts in 28.1 innings. Morovick's last outing was a start against Saint Mary last Wednesday when he picked up the win after five scoreless innings with no walks and two strikeouts.
THE KANSAS SERIES
In the most-played series in K-State baseball history, the Wildcats hold a 167-161-1 advantage over Kansas, but the Jayhawks hold an 83-64 lead in games played in Lawrence. Just like the Wichita State series, K-State has had the upper hand as of late as the Wildcats have won 15 of the last 18 games, including a current five-game winning streak. Wednesday's contest marks just the third regular-season non-conference games as the Wildcats won a 21-4 affair in the 1985 UT-Pan American Tournament in Edinburg, Texas, as well as a 10-6 contest on April 3, 2007, in Manhattan.
Last season, K-State swept a three-game series from the Jayhawks. On Friday night in Manhattan, Ross Kivett singled on a full-count pitch with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to give K-State an 11-10 walk-off victory. KU held an 8-4 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, but K-State scored six runs over the final three innings while the Jayhawks added a single run in both the eighth and ninth as the teams were tied at 10 before Kivett's single. The series then shifted to Lawrence as the Wildcats won a 13-9 contest that was split over two days as weather suspended play in the middle of the game before a 10-6 win to finish off the sweep.
PRODUCTION AT THE TOP
Junior outfielder Tanner Witt is in the midst of his best season in Manhattan after switching from shortstop to the outfield prior to the year. K-State's leadoff hitter, who held a career-best reached-base streak of 25 games earlier this year, has been kept off base just three times this season and just once over his last 33 games. During that stretch, Witt is hitting a team-best .372 (45-for-121) with a .479 on-base percentage. Furthermore, Witt has struck out just 11 times over the last 33 games, the fewest of all the Wildcat regulars.
This season, the junior is second on the team with a .343 overall batting average to rank seventh in the Big 12, while his .390 average against conference teams is fourth. He has worked 27 walks (tied career best), reached base at a .464 clip (career best) and has stolen 18 bases (career best). Witt has also added to his arsenal this season as he has pitched six times, throwing six scoreless innings with four hits, two walks and one strikeout.
After hitting just .056 through the Wildcats' first 25 games, Jon Davis has essentially come out of nowhere over the last month as he is now fourth on the team with a .318 batting average. Over the last 15 games, which includes 14 starts, the Palomar College transfer is 20-of-48 (.417) and has reached base at a .491 clip. During that span, Davis leads the team in average and has reached base safely in 14 games. The run by Davis is impressive considering he had just one hit, 11 strikeouts and a .250 on-base percentage in his first 18 at-bats of 2012.