Wildcats Travel to California for Midweek Series
Wildcats Travel to California for Midweek Series
April 24, 2011
Monday, April 25 - Tuesday, April 26
Bakersfield, Calif. /// Hardt Field
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Winners of four straight and nine of its last 13, Kansas State will travel to Bakersfield, Calif., for a two-game series at Cal State Bakersfield, Monday and Tuesday, April 25 and 26, at Hardt Field. It will be the first ever meeting and the first of two midweek series between the two programs this season as the Roadrunners return to Manhattan next week, May 3-4. Both games of the series are set for an 8 p.m. (CT) first pitch and can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN as well as online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.
Kansas State is coming off its first ever series sweep over Texas Tech and its first Big 12 sweep of the season. Pitching was the theme for the Wildcats last weekend as the staff combined to allow just four earned runs in the series, while holding the third-leading team entering the weekend to just a single run in two of the contests.
Thursday’s starting pitcher Shane Conlon set the tone for the Wildcats in his first career start as he pitched 6.2 shutout innings, allowing just four hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Conlon retired the first nine batters he faced and threw four no-hit innings until a leadoff single in the fifth. On Friday, Kyle Hunter followed Conlon’s lead as he worked at least five innings for the seventh time in 10 starts this season, allowing three runs in 5.1 innings. He threw 112 pitches in the contest, his seventh 100-pitch outing as he earned his second-straight home conference win.
Saturday’s contest saw starter Matt Applegate register arguably his best career outing as he struck out a career-best 13 batters in seven innings of work, while allowing a run on seven hits. His 13 fanned batters were the most by a Wildcat since 2004 and were the second most in the Big 12 this season. The right-hander struck out six batters his first time through the order, while he also had a string of five strikeouts in six at-bats later in the contest.
As solid as the starting pitching was, K-State used three relievers in the series that did not surrender an earned run in eight total innings with two walks and five strikeouts. James Allen earned three saves in the series, the first Wildcat to do so in the Big 12 era (1997) and the first Big 12 closer with three in a series since 2009. In doing so, Allen broke the Kansas State single-season (13) and career (27) records for saves, and he is now tied for seventh in Big 12 history in career saves. Evan Marshall bridged the gap for the Wildcats in all three games, throwing one inning of shutout ball on Friday and Saturday, and allowing an unearned run in 1.1 innings on Thursday. Kayvon Bahramzadeh also threw a shutout inning on Friday.
Junior outfielder Nick Martini leads the K-State regular starters this season with a .312 batting average, while he has 11 doubles, two triples, a homer and 26 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 against Nebraska at 93, but the junior has still reached base safely (by virtue of a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch) in 147 of his 159 career starts. Freshman Ross Kivett has also been solid lately as the team’s designated hitter and leadoff man. He has started each of the last nine games, hitting .419 (3-for-13) with a .471 on-base percentage during that span. He saw his career-best 11-game hitting streak come to an end on Saturday, which was the longest by a Wildcat freshman since Brian Culp had a 12-gamer in 1990.
The Wildcats are expected to start junior right-hander Justin Lindsey on Monday, while freshman left-hander Blake Freeman gets the nod on Tuesday. Lindsey is 1-0 with a 4.22 ERA this season in eight appearances, which includes seven starts. He earned the win in a predetermined pitch-count start last Tuesday against Missouri State, allowing four runs on five hits in 4.1 innings of a game the Wildcats won 10-4. Freeman, who pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief against Missouri State, is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA in eight outings this year. His last start came against in-state rival Wichita State on April 13 in which he allowed a pair of runs on four hits in 3.2 innings of another predetermined pitch-count start.
DID YOU KNOW
• The Wildcats have 294 strikeouts this year and are on pace for 422, which would rank third in school history.
• K-State’s pitching staff holds an ERA of 3.52, which would be the lowest since the introduction of the aluminum bat in 1977 and the third 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 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 the new Kansas State records for single-season saves (13) and career saves (27) with three last weekend against Texas Tech. He broke the records of Daniel Edwards, who had 12 in 2008 and 26 in his four-year career.
• With three saves against Texas Tech, James Allen became the first Kansas State pitcher with three saves in a conference series in the Big 12 era (1997), while he was the first in the conference since Kansas’ Paul Smyth in 2009 against Texas.
• Freshman infielder Ross Kivett saw his hitting streak of 11 games come to an end on Saturday. The streak was the longest by a Wildcat freshman since Brian Culp in 1990 (12 games). During the streak, Kivett held a .436 (17-for-39) average.
Kansas State has excelled against non-conference opponents over the past two-plus seasons, a big reason the Wildcats reached back-to-back regionals in 2009 and 2010. After going 16-5 in the first 21 non-con games of 2011, Kansas State is 176-59 (.749) in non-conference games under head coach Brad Hill, including a 68-22 (.755) mark since 2009.
In regular season non-conference games, the Cats have been even tougher as they are 168-48 (.777) over the past seven-plus years and a combined 62-15 (.805) over the past two-plus seasons.
The trip to Bakersfield is the longest non-conference trip by the Wildcats after the start of conference play since a four-game tournament in Homestead, Fla., during the 2000 season.
CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD AT A GLANCE
Despite a solid record of 24-11 on the year, Cal State Bakersfield will be looking for a couple bounce-back wins after being swept at home by UC Riverside last weekend. The Highlanders shut out the Roadrunners in the first two games of the series by counts of 3-0 and 2-0. Needing a win to salvage the series, CSUB dropped a hard-fought 8-4 contest on Saturday.
The Roadrunners, who are hitting an even .300 as a team, has four of their regular starter hitting above the mark. Freshman infielder Oscar Sanay leads the squad at .371 with seven doubles, a triple and 26 RBI. Junior outfielder Ryan McIntyre, who is hitting .348, is tied with Martin Medina for the team lead in doubles with 10. Medina, a .290 hitter, also paces CSUB with five homers and 33 RBI. McIntyre and junior outfielder Andrew Letourneau have 11 steals apiece.
Cal State Bakersfield is expected to start a pair of junior right-handers in Spenser Messmore on Monday and Tommy Hoenshell on Tuesday. Messmore, who has seen time in 14 games this season, will be making his second start of the year and holds a 2-1 record with a 2.00 ERA. His last start came on April 10 against Cal State Northridge as he took a tough-luck loss after allowing just two runs on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work.
Hoenshell, who is 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA in 10 appearances, will be working on limited rest as he went seven innings in a loss on Thursday against UC Riverside. Hoenshell allowed three earned runs on seven hits with no walks and nine strikeouts, but allowed a run in the fourth and two in the seventh as Bakersfield was shutout offensively.
THE CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD SERIES
Monday and Tuesday marks the first two meetings in the series between Kansas State and Cal State Bakersfield. The two teams will also square off next week, May 3-4, in Manhattan. The Wildcats and Roadrunners were only scheduled to meet in Manhattan, but both programs had games at Minnesota canceled due to repairs to the Metrodome roof and had a need to fill two games on its schedule.
CSUB baseball is in its third year of existence and is not affiliated with a conference. The Wildcats are 11-2 all-time against independent teams and will be playing just their second game against an independent on the road. The last time the Cats played on the road against a team not affiliated with a conference was 1985 at Dallas Baptist, a game K-State lost 6-5.
AGGRESIVE ON THE BASE PATHS
A staple of the K-State offense over the past two seasons, the Wildcats are third in the Big 12 with 75 steals and were 16th nationally last week with 1.97 steals per game. Kansas State has averaged nearly two steals per game over its last 20 contests, while the Cats are also using their legs to get on base with 27 infield singles during that stretch, including 11 in the last five games.
Of the Wildcats’ 75 swipes, 57 have come in their 22 home games (2.6 per game), including a school-record 12 in one game against Long Island. The Cats’ performance vs. the Blackbirds bettered their 10-steal outings against Creighton in 1979 and Chicago State last year. Junior infielder Jake Brown led the charge against LIU with four, tying the school record held by eight different players.
Nick Martini and Tanner Witt lead the team with 12 steals apiece to tie for eighth in the conference. Jared King sits just outside the top 10 in the conference with 11, while Jake Brown has 10.