K-State Steps Out of Conference to Host New Orleans
K-State Steps Out of Conference to Host New Orleans
May 12, 2011
Friday, May 13 - Sunday, May 15
Manhattan, Kan. /// Tointoin Family Stadium (2,331)
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Following four days of rest due to finals, Kansas State hosts New Orleans for a three-game series, Friday through Sunday, May 13-15, at Tointon Family Stadium. The series marks the first meeting between the two programs since 1987 and serves as the Wildcats' final non-conference series of 2011. The three-game set gets underway at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, while Saturday's contest will also begin at 6:30 p.m., due to commencement ceremonies. The series finale on Sunday is scheduled for a 1 p.m., first pitch. All three games can be heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN and online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com with Matt Walters and Wyatt Thompson calling the action. A live webcast of the entire series is available through K-State's multimedia channel, K-State All-Access at www.k-statesports.com.
Kansas State will be looking to recover from a recent slump that has seen the Wildcats drop five of their last seven games, including a series loss last weekend to Missouri. The Tigers edged K-State, 5-4, on Friday before the Cats evened the series at a game apiece with an 8-5 victory on Saturday. Sunday's rubber match saw MU score five in the second inning on two home runs and the Wildcats could not catch up as the Tigers took the series with a 12-8 win.
Offensively, K-State is led by three players that are hitting .300 or better in Nick Martini (.330), Ross Kivett (.303) and Jared King (.300). Junior Jason King paces the squad in both home runs (9) and RBI (45), while he is second and fourth, respectively, in the Big 12 in those departments. Jared King is second on the squad in homers with seven, while Mike Kindel is second with 33 RBI.
K-State is expected to use its regular starting rotation of Kyle Hunter on Friday, Matt Applegate on Saturday and Shane Conlon in Sunday's finale. Hunter is 4-4 with a 3.99 ERA in 12 starts this season and will in search of his first win since April 22 against Texas Tech. Last weekend against Missouri, the left-hander took a no decision after allowing three runs on five hits in 5.1 innings. Applegate, who is 4-3 with a 4.40 ERA, also took a no decision last week when he surrendered three runs on four hits with four walks in 4.2 innings. The right-hander has not made it out of the fifth in each of his last two starts, but has struck out 21 in his last three outings, including a 13-strikeout performance against the Red Raiders three weeks ago. Conlon earned his third start of the season last Sunday but dropped his first decision as he allowed all five Missouri runs in the second inning. He did bounce back to shutout MU over the next 2.2 frames, but took the loss as the Cats could not recover.
DID YOU KNOW
The Wildcats are six stolen bases away from becoming the seventh team in school history with 100 steals in a season.
Kansas State currently has five pitchers that have thrown 15.0 innings or more with an ERA less than 4.00. The last time the Cats finished the season with more than five pitchers holding an ERA less than 4.00 was 1974 (8).
Freshman outfielder Jared King is tied for second in K-State history in home runs by a freshman. He is three shy of Brett Reid's record of 10 in 1999.
Jason King's seven RBI against Northern Colorado are the most in a single game in the Big 12 this season.
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 two solo shots by Jared on April 26 at CSUB.
James Allen has set new Kansas State records for single-season saves (15) and career saves (29). 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.
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 17 homers in its last 18 games, including 11 in the last nine contests. Over the last nine games, freshman Jared King has led the way with five of his season's seven home runs. Jared has teamed with older brother Jason King to collect 16 of the Wildcats' 28 round-trippers this year.
The Wildcat home-run total was given a boost when they tallied a season-high four round-trippers against Cal State Bakersfield on May 4. It was the ninth four-home run game for Kansas State under head coach Brad Hill and the first since hitting four against Chicago State on April 28, 2010. All four home runs against the Roadrunners came in the first three innings, the most in the first three innings of a game since also hitting four against Western Illinois on February 22, 2004.
NEW ORLEANS AT A GLANCE
New Orleans, the second independent team K-State will play this season, enters the weekend series with a 3-44 record on the year, including a 2-33 mark on the road. The Privateers, who are transitioning to Division II next year, will be in search of their first win since April 10 at Alabama A&M when they won 5-4 in 10 innings. UNO, which hasn't played since May 4, is currently on a 15-game losing streak that includes a pair of extra-inning losses at home against Temple.
UNO is hitting .210 as a team and has three of its regular starters hitting .250 or above. Freshman Jake Palmisano leads the team with a .267 average, just three points ahead of junior third baseman Cameron Wheeless. Senior Nolan Church paces the squad with 22 RBI and is tied with Steffan Farrell for the team-lead in home runs with four. Blake LeBlanc has registered a team-high nine doubles, just one ahead of Church.
The Privateers are expected to start a trio of right-handers in Tyler Sanders on Friday and Nolan Church on Saturday, while Zach Kelt gets the nod on Sunday. Sanders is 1-9 with an 8.42 ERA in 14 appearances, including nine starts. The senior will be making his first start since April 30 in a neutral-site contest against Le Moyne when he took the loss. In that contest, Saunders allowed five runs on nine hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work. Saunders' win this season came in relief at Alabama A&M in which he allowed one run in three innings.
Church, who is 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA, will also be making his first start since April 30 in the first game of a doubleheader when UNO took on Liberty. The senior worked a complete game but took a loss by surrendering three runs on eight hits in a game the Privateers lost 3-2.
Kelt holds a 1-10 mark and a 7.85 ERA in 12 starts this year. The sophomore suffered a loss at McNeese State on May 4 by allowing six runs on nine hits in five innings. Kelt's win this season came in a six-inning effort at home against Southern when he allowed two runs on two hits with five strikeouts.
THE NEW ORLEANS SERIES
New Orleans leads the all-time series against Kansas State, 2-0, as the Privateers took both games of a two-game series, 12-2 and 6-1, in 1987. This weekend marks the first time the Privateers and Wildcats will meet in Manhattan. The Wildcats are 14-3 all-time against independent teams, including a 4-2 mark at home and a 3-1 record this season. The Wildcats played four games against Cal State Bakersfield earlier this season, sweeping a two-game series in Bakersfield and splitting a pair of games last week in Manhattan.
Kansas State is 18-25-1 all-time against teams from the state of Louisiana and will be playing its first team from The Pelican State since 2007. That year, K-State split a two-game series at Centenary. The Wildcats most frequent opponent from Louisiana is LSU, which holds an 11-8-1 record over the Cats.
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 has won at least 20 home games in four of the last six seasons and is one win shy of No. 20 at home this year. Since 2009, the Cats hold a 63-21 (.750) home record, while K-State's home non-conference record has also been impressive. Since the beginning of 2009, the Cats are 41-5, including a perfect 18-0 mark in 2010. The only losses since the 2009 season are to Creighton and Minnesota in 2010, a pair to Long Island earlier this season and one to Cal State Bakersfield last week.
TOUGH AGAINST NON-CONS
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 19-6 in the first 25 non-con games of 2011, Kansas State is 179-60 (.749) in non-conference games under head coach Brad Hill, including a 71-23 (.755) mark since 2009.
In regular season non-conference games, the Cats have been even tougher as they are 171-49 (.777) over the past seven-plus years and a combined 65-16 (.802) over the past two-plus seasons.
KING EXCELS ON FIELD AND IN THE CLASSROOM
Not only does junior third baseman Jason King find success on the field, but the Dublin, Ohio, product is also stellar in the classroom. King, who leads the team in extra-base hits (25), home runs (9) and RBI (45), was named to the Capital One Academic AllÂÂÂ?]District VII first team, the second academic all-district honor of his career. King holds a 3.96 cumulative GPA in marketing, while he has also earned First Team Academic All-Big 12 accolades in 2009 and three Big 12 Commissioner's Spring Honor Roll designations.
King's all-district honor marks the fifth-straight season Kansas State has had a first team Academic All-District honoree. Brett Scott earned the nod in both 2007 and 2008, while he went on to claim Academic All-America honors in 2008. King and Thomas Rooke were honored in 2009 before Carter Jurica was selected in 2010. King is now a candidate for the Academic All-America team.