Cats Begin Season's Finals Stretch with Cal State Bakersfield
Cats Begin Season's Finals Stretch with Cal State Bakersfield
May 2, 2011
Tuesday, May 3 - Wednesday, May 4
Manhattan, Kan. /// Tointon Family Stadtium (2,331)
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State will try to get back on the winning track as the Wildcats begin an eight-game homestand against Cal State Bakersfield, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 3 and 4, at Tointon Family Stadium. The Wildcats will be looking to win the season series against the Roadrunners after taking two games from CSUB last week in Bakersfield, Calif. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 7 p.m., while Wednesday’s game will begin at 6:30 p.m. Both games can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN and online at www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com with Matt Walters and Wyatt Thompson on the call. A live webcast is available through K-State’s multimedia channel, K-State All-Access at www.k-statesports.com.
The Wildcats were riding high from a six-game winning streak entering last weekend’s Big 12 series at Oklahoma State, but K-State ran into a Cowboy squad that was looking to get back on the winning side after losing four straight. OSU came out swinging early as it plated four runs in the first inning of Friday’s contest and followed that up with two in the third and two more in the fourth to take an 8-0 lead. The Wildcats fought back with a run in both the fifth and sixth innings, but a pair of Cowboys pitchers held Kansas State to a season-low two hits as Oklahoma State won game one, 9-2.
K-State looked to even the series at a game apiece on Saturday, but it was more of the same as Oklahoma State plated eight runs over the first five innings to take the series with an 8-2 win. The Wildcats did not have a chance to salvage the final game of the series as rain washed away Sunday’s series finale.
Junior outfielder Nick Martini, who went 5-for-8 last week against Cal State Bakersfield, leads the team with a .318 batting average. Another junior, Mike Kindel, paces the team and is tied for sixth in the Big 12 with 14 doubles. Junior third baseman Jason King has eight home runs this season, including one last week against the Roadrunners, to tie for second in the conference. Freshmen have also made an impact in the K-State lineup as Ross Kivett, who has been the team’s leadoff hitter for the past 11 contests, is second on the squad with a .308 batting average. Outfielder Jared King is third at .285 and has tallied three home runs over the past four games, including two against CSUB last Tuesday.
K-State is scheduled to start freshman left-hander Shane Conlon on Tuesday and junior right-hander Justin Lindsey on Wednesday. Conlon, who was supposed to start the series finale at Oklahoma State, set the tone for the Cats’ sweep of Texas Tech two weeks ago as he made his first career start. The left-hander threw 6.2 shutout innings with no walks and five strikeouts, while he carried a no-hitter into the fifth. Conlon is 2-0 on the year with a 1.76 ERA and will be making the seventh appearance and second start. Lindsey holds a 4-1 record and a 4.25 ERA in eight starts after a no decision last weekend vs. CSUB. He allowed two runs - one of which was unearned - on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts in four-plus innings of work.
DID YOU KNOW
• The Wildcats have 315 strikeouts this year and are on pace for 403, which would tie for fourth in school history.
• K-State’s pitching staff holds an ERA of 3.65, which would be the lowest since the introduction of the aluminum bat in 1977 and the fifth lowest overall in school history.
• Kansas State currently has seven pitchers that have pitched 15.0 innings or more with an ERA less than 4.00. The last time the Cats finished the season with more than seven pitchers holding an ERA less than 4.00 was 1974 (8).
• James Allen has set new Kansas State records for single-season saves (14) and career saves (28). He broke the records of Daniel Edwards, who had 12 in 2008 and 26 in his career. Allen is tied for first in the Big 12 in saves this season.
• 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.
• 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. They are also the only set with multi-homer games this year as Jason hit two against Northern Colorado on March 30 before Jared’s two solo shots last Tuesday.
• 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.
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 18-5 in the first 23 non-con games of 2011, Kansas State is 178-59 (.751) in non-conference games under head coach Brad Hill, including a 70-22 (.761) mark since 2009.
In regular season non-conference games, the Cats have been even tougher as they are 170-48 (.780) over the past seven-plus years and a combined 64-15 (.810) over the past two-plus seasons.
SOLID PLAY ON ITS HOME 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 61-18 (.772) record over the past two-plus years. K-State’s home non-conference record is also impressive since the beginning of the 2009 season as the Cats are 40-4, including a perfect 18-0 mark in 2010. The only losses since the 2009 season are one to both Creighton and Minnesota in 2010 and a pair to Long Island earlier this season.
CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD AT A GLANCE
Once sitting at 24-8 on the season, Cal State Bakersfield is trying to get back on track as the Roadrunners have dropped seven of their last eight to hold a 25-15 record entering the two-game series against Kansas State. After being swept by the Wildcats last week, CSUB defeated No. 17 UC Irvine, 5-4 in 10 innings on Friday, its first victory since April 16. UCI came back to even the series on Saturday with an 11-6 victory before shutting out Cal State Bakersfield, 7-0, on Sunday to win the series.
The Roadrunners, who are hitting .292 as a team, are led by second baseman Oscar Sanay at .369. Behind him at .336 is catcher Jeremy Rodriguez, who did not play against K-State last week due to injury. Three Roadrunners - Ryan McIntyre, Martin Medina and DC Legg - pace the team with 10 doubles, while Medina’s six home runs and 37 RBI are team bests. Outfielder Andrew Letourneau, who is hitting .314, led the squad last week against the Wildcats by going 4-for-7.
CSUB is expected to start left-hander Jonathan Montoya on Tuesday, while the Roadrunners are undecided on a pitcher for Wednesday. Montoya is 7-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 11 appearances this season with six complete games and one shutout. Montoya will be looking to bounce back from a loss on Saturday vs. UC Irvine as he allowed eight runs - three of which were unearned - on eight hits with no walks and a strikeout in just three innings. He will be in search of his first win since April 16 at UC Davis when he threw a complete game three hitter, allowing two unearned runs with four walks and five strikeouts.
THE CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD SERIES
Kansas State leads Cal State Bakersfield 2-0 in a series that began just one week ago. The two programs had not met on the diamond until the Wildcats traveled to Bakersfield, Calif., to play the Roadrunners, April 25-26. The Cats jumped out to a 4-1 lead after a four-run fifth inning on Monday only to see the Roadrunners score once in the bottom half and twice in the seventh to tie the game. Ross Kivett hit a one-out triple - his first of the year - in the ninth before Nick Martini singled home the freshman in the next at-bat for the go-ahead run. James Allen came on to earn his fourth-straight save with a perfect ninth.
Kansas State jumped all over CSUB from the early going on Tuesday, scoring three in the first, one in the third, two in the fifth and three more in the sixth en route to a 9-0 shutout win. Freshman Jared King led the charge with four hits, including a pair of solo home runs, while Jason King also recorded three base hits.
THE SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF THE LONG BALL
After hitting just 11 home runs in its first 30 games, Kansas State has seen its home-run total jump over the past month. The Wildcats have tallied 11 homers in its last 13 games, including five in the last four contests. Last week at Cal State Bakersfield, Jason King homered on Monday before Jared King hit two on Tuesday. Jared came back with another on Friday, while Mike Kindel hit a two-run shot off the right-field foul pole the next day.