Baseball Hosts Illinois State Tuesday

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State baseball team takes its last break from conference play on Tuesday as the 32-19 Wildcats host Illinois State at Tointon Stadium in the regular season home finale. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.


The Cats’ 32 wins so far this season are the most under fourth-year head coach Brad Hill and are the most since the 1997 squad won 32 total games. Also, K-State’s 10 conference wins are the most under Hill and the second-most Big 12 wins in school history, behind only the 2002 squad that went 13-13.


After going 1-2 against No. 11 Texas A&M this past weekend, K-State finds itself in sixth place in the Big 12 standings heading into the final series of the regular season. The Wildcats are 10-13 in league play while Baylor and Oklahoma remain tied for seventh at 9-15 each. Kansas is in ninth at 8-15 and Texas Tech is in 10th place at 7-16. Nebraska is currently ahead of the Wildcats in fifth at 12-12. With three games remaining, Kansas State needs just one more conference victory or a Kansas loss to secure a spot in the Big 12 Conference tournament.


But first, the Wildcats will play their final non-conference game of the season Tuesday as the Redbirds (20-28) of the Missouri Valley Conference visit Tointon Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN and online at Kansas State is expected to send RHP A.J. Morris (3-1, 4.17) to the mound opposite LHP Tyler Cox (3-0, 2.98) of Illinois State.


Sophomore outfielder Byron Wiley continues to lead the Wildcat offense with a .375 batting average, six homers and 39 RBI, while Nate Tenbrink has upped his average up over the .300 mark at .305 after a solid weekend against Texas A&M. Wiley also leads the team with a .420 average in non-conference action this season.


On the mound, Dick Howser Trophy Award and Stopper of the Year candidate Daniel Edwards leads the pitching staff with a 3-0 record, 0.84 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 32.0 innings. The junior is among the nation’s leaders in saves with 11 while opponents are hitting just .127 against the right-hander. Junior Brad Hutt leads all starting pitchers with an 8-4 record and a 3.01 ERA, and needs just one more win to tie the single-season school record.


Up next for the Cats after Illinois State is a three-game Big 12 Conference series at Baylor. Friday and Saturday’s games will begin at 6:30 p.m., while Sunday’s finale is a 1 p.m. first pitch at Baylor Ballpark.