K-State Closes Non-Conference Play with UNO
K-State Closes Non-Conference Play with UNO
May 3, 2012
Friday, May 4 - Sunday, May 6
Manhattan, Kan. /// Tointon Family Stadium (2,331)
|2012 PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE|
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State concludes non-conference play this weekend as it hosts Nebraska Omaha for a three-game series, Friday through Sunday, at Tointon Family Stadium. The series marks the first meetings between K-State at the Mavericks, a team that is reclassifying to Division I this season. Friday's contest begins at 6:30 p.m., while Saturday's game is set for 2 p.m., before the series finale at 1 p.m., on Sunday. All three games will be shown world-wide on K-StateHD.TV and will be aired in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN with Brian Smoller and Matt Walters on the call. Free live audio is also available online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.
The series carries plenty of promotional events as a pregame tailgate will be held 90 minutes prior to first pitch on both Friday and Saturday, which features various food and beverage options. On Saturday, the first 250 fans into Tointon Family Stadium will receive a free "Béisbol de los Gatos" t-shirt to celebrate the Cinco de Mayo holiday. Saturday is also Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day, Youth Team/Camper Day and Overland Park Community Day. Sunday is a Family Day as fans can purchase a Wildcat 4-Pack for $30 that includes four general admission bench tickets, four hot dogs, four drinks and four bags of chips, while all kids in attendance can run the bases after the game. The series finale also serves as Youth Sports Day and Manhattan Community Day.
Tickets are available through the K-State Athletics Ticket office online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or inside the main ticket office at Bramlage Coliseum.
K-STATE AT A GLANCE
K-State will be looking to end a nine-game losing streak this weekend, its longest since 2003, as the Wildcats' last win came against Northern Colorado on April 18. The skid reached nine on Tuesday night following a 10-3 loss at Wichita State. The Shockers jumped ahead of the Wildcats, 4-0, through three innings, but K-State fought back to get within a run after one in the fourth and two in the fifth. However, WSU answered with six runs over the next two innings en route to its first season sweep of K-State since 2004.
Thanks to his 3-for-4 night on Tuesday in Wichita, outfielder Jared King improved his team-leading batting average to .362, a mark that ranks fifth in the Big 12. The sophomore also ranks in the top 10 of the conference in five other categories, including a third-place mark in hits (63). Tanner Witt, who was 2-for-3 against the Shockers, is second on the team and 12th in the league at .329, while he has reached base safely in 41 of his 45 games played this season. Jon Davis, who is hitting .314, ranks third on the squad but leads the Wildcats with a .382 mark since becoming an everyday starter on March 31. Senior Wade Hinkle, who is also hitting above .300 at .311, leads K-State and is tied for second in the league with eight home runs.
For the second-straight week, Kansas State will start right-hander Kayvon Bahramzadeh on Friday and Joe Flattery on Saturday, while the Wildcats on undecided on a starter for Sunday's series finale. Bahramzadeh, a senior, holds a 4-3 record and a 5.20 ERA in 11 games, which includes 10 starts. He leads the Wildcat pitching staff and is eighth in the Big 12 with 60 strikeouts - 20 more than his career high of 40 in 2010. Last weekend against Oklahoma State, Bahramzadeh took the loss after battling for six innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Flattery, who pitched in relief for the first time this season on Tuesday, will be making his 12th start of the season on Saturday. The junior is also 4-3 with a 4.92 ERA in 53.0 innings of work. A transfer from Iowa Central Community College, Flattery will be looking to bounce back from his start last week against OSU when he surrendered four runs on three hits in 3.1 inning of work. He began his outing by retiring the first nine Cowboys he faced, but struggled the second time through the lineup.
DID YOU KNOW
The Wildcat pitching staff has reached double digits in strikeouts 13 times this year, which is tied for the fourth-most since 2004. Six of those have come against Big 12 teams, the most under head coach Brad Hill.
K-State is second in the Big 12 with a .977 fielding percentage and was 13th nationally entering the week.
The Wildcats also ranked in the top 20 of the NCAA in steals (7th), double plays (15th) and walks (13th).
K-State has turned 47 doubles plays this year, which is already the fifth-most under head coach Brad Hill.
The Wildcats struck out 31 Oklahoma State hitters last weekend, the second-most in a Big 12 series under head coach Brad Hill.
Tanner Witt has reached base safely in 41 of his 45 games played this season. One of the games he did not reach base was April 25 at KU when he came off the bench for one at-bat.
A staple of the K-State offense over the last three seasons is its ability to steal bases, and that aspect of the game is prevalent again in 2012. The Wildcats, who have led the Big 12 in steals each of the last three seasons, are second in the league with 91, 10 behind first-place Texas A&M. K-State ranks seventh nationally in that department, while it is currently ninth in school history. The Wildcats have hit the four-steal mark in 12 games this year, going 10-2 in those contests. Additionally, 68 of K-State's steals have come against non-conference foes.
Four Wildcats rank in the top 10 of the Big 12 in steals, including Ross Kivett, who is second with 21. Right behind Kivett with 19 to tie for third is Tanner Witt, while Jake Brown and Jared King are tied for 10th with 14.
NEBRASKA OMAHA AT A GLANCE
Nebraska Omaha, a former member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) at Division II, is in its reclassifying year to the Division I level as it plays an independent schedule this season. Next year, UNO will compete in The Summit League as a full Division I institution. The Mavericks are 12-32 and have played all but four games on the road. Prior to taking the midweek off, UNO lost a three-game series at Indiana State as the Mavericks dropped contests of 2-1 and 3-2 on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The Mavericks were able to salvage the final game of the series with a 7-4 victory in 12 innings on Sunday.
UNO is hitting .258 as a team and is led by senior catcher Colby McCord at .367 with a team-best 17 doubles, three home runs and 20 RBI. Brady Hohl, a senior infielder, is second on the squad with a .304 average and 12 doubles. Freshman Alex Mortensen, who is hitting .293, leads the Mavericks in both home runs (4) and RBI (26).
The Mavericks are expected to start right-handers Andrew Reck and Matt Tew on Friday and Saturday, respectively, while they will come back with left-hander Cole Volkers on Sunday. Reck is 1-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 10 starts. Last week, the senior tossed seven scoreless innings, working around three hits and three walks as he left the game with a 1-0 lead. Tew, who is 1-4 with a 5.34 ERA, leads the team with 12 starts this season and is also coming off a no decision after working 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. Volkers leads UNO with a 2.39 ERA and holds a 1-1 record in nine appearances, including two starts. He pitched five scoreless frames last week, allowing three hits. Just like Reck, Volkers left the game with a 1-0 lead.
THE NEBRASKA OMAHA SERIES
This weekend marks the first ever meetings between K-State and Nebraska Omaha. The Wildcats are 5-5 all-time against schools without a conference affiliation after dropping two of three at CSU Bakersfield to open the season. Kansas State went 3-1 last year against the Roadrunners by sweeping a two-game series in Bakersfield before a two-game split in Manhattan the next week. K-State holds a 169-203 mark against teams from the state of Nebraska, with a majority of those games coming against the University of Nebraska (106-166) and Creighton (46-37-1).
DECEIVING THE OPPOSITION
The Kansas State pitching staff has been one of the top units in the Big 12 in terms of strikeouts as it enters the weekend third in the league with 347. The Wildcats trail the league's top pitching staff, Oklahoma State (375) - a team in which the Wildcats struck out 31 times last weekend in Manhattan - and are just seven back of Oklahoma (354). The 31 fanned batters last weekend were tied for the second most in a Big 12 series under head coach Brad Hill and marked the ninth 10th time in Hill's nine years that K-State struck out 28 or more batters in a three-game set against a league opponent. The top mark was 34 against Missouri in 2007, while the Wildcats hit the 30-strikeout mark on three other occasions - against Baylor in 2004 and 2009, and against Texas in 2004.
PLENTY OF STRIKEOUTS
Thanks to its high strikeout total last weekend against Oklahoma State, the Wildcats now have 13 games with 10 or more strikeouts, including six in Big 12 play. The 13 games overall are tied for the fourth most under head coach Brad Hill, while the six against league foes are tied for the most in Hill's tenure.
K-State has averaged nearly nine strikeouts in its last 11 Big 12 games and its 148 against Big 12 opponents lead the conference. K-State is nine ahead of second-place Texas, while its 8.31 mark per nine innings is almost one per game better than the team in second. Senior Kayvon Bahramzadeh has a career-best 60 fanned batters this year, which is eighth in the Big 12.
TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM
K-State, which has shown over the last several years that it will do all it can to get on base, has drastically increased its hit-by-pitch total over the last few weeks. After being hit by 34 pitches in the first 25 games, K-State has been hit by at least one pitch in 16 of the last 21 contests. With the boosted total, the Wildcats now rank sixth in school history with 67 this season and are 28th nationally in that category.
K-State, which is second in the league in hit batters, is led by Jon Davis' 12 after four in last week's five games, which propelled him into the school's top 10. Mike Kindel, Jake Brown and Blair DeBord each have 21 in their careers to tie for 10th in school history.
FRESHMEN GETTING TIME
Freshmen Austin Fisher and Kyle Speer have seen their playing time increase recently as they have combined for 10 starts over the last 11 games. A shortstop by trade, Fisher has started three games at third base before starting at shortstop last Wednesday at KU, Sunday against Oklahoma State and Tuesday at Wichita State. The Olathe, Kan., product picked up two-hit games against both UNC and Oklahoma State before driving in a run against the Shockers. Speer picked up his first hit in Big 12 play at Missouri and came back with his first multi-hit game in a start last Wednesday at KU.
DAVIS CONTINUES HOT STREAK
After hitting just .056 through the Wildcats' first 25 games, Jon Davis essentially came out of nowhere over the last month as he is now third on the team with a .314 batting average. Over the last 21 games, which includes 20 starts, the Palomar College transfer leads the squad with a .382 batting average - 61 points better than the Wildcat in second place - and has reached base at a .488 clip - 78 points better than the player in second. During that span, Davis leads the team in average and has reached base safely in 20 games. He has also been hit by 12 pitches this season to tie for ninth in school history. 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.
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. Witt, who held a career-best reached-base streak of 25 games earlier this year, has been kept off base just four times this season and just twice over his last 39 games. During the stretch, Witt is hitting a team-best .352 with a .450 on-base percentage. Furthermore, Witt has struck out just 17 times over the last 39 games, the fewest of all the Wildcat regulars.
This season, Witt is second on the team with a .329 batting average, the best mark of his career. He has also notched career-best marks in walks (28), on-base percentage (.440) and steals (19). In addition, Witt has added to his arsenal this year as he has pitched eight times, throwing nine scoreless innings with five strikeouts.