Cats Ready for Big 12 Baseball Championship

2007 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship

#8 K-State (33-22, 10-16)
vs. #1 Texas (42-14, 21-6)
May 23 1 p.m.

#8 K-State (33-22, 10-16)
vs. #4 Nebraska (29-23, 14-13)
May 24 7:30 p.m.

#8 K-State (33-22, 10-16)
vs. #5 Texas A&M (41-15, 13-13)
May 26 10 a.m.

AT&T Bricktown Ballpark Oklahoma City, Okla.

TV:
Sunday’s Big 12 Tournament championship game will be broadcast live across the nation on Fox Sports Net.

Radio:
All Big 12 Tournament games will be broadcast across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson, Brian Smoller and Matt Walters calling the action. The games can also be heard online at k-statesports.com.

Internet:
Live stats, game action and postgame press conferences from the 2007 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship will be video streamed for free on the Big 12 Conference's official web site, www.big12sports.com. The web cast, presented by the Big 12, AT&T and CSTV, will feature play-by-play from KSPI AM-Stillwater (Okla.) Sports Director Rex Holt with special guests appearing throughout the championship.

Kansas State will make just its second-ever appearance in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship, this season as the No. 8 seed. The Wildcats will open the 2007 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Wednesday afternoon against top-seeded and regular season champion Texas at 1 p.m. inside Bricktown Ballpark. After Wednesday’s opener against Texas, Kansas State will face fourth-seeded Nebraska on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and then will square off against fifth-seeded Texas A&M Saturday at 10 a.m. All Big 12 Tournament games will be broadcast across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson, Brian Smoller and Matt Walters calling the action. The seeds for the tournament are as follows: No. 1 Texas, No. 2 Missouri, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 6 Baylor, No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 8 Kansas State. K-State is in Pool 1 in the two-pool, round-robin format. Each of the eight teams competing is guaranteed a minimum of three games. Seeds 2, 3, 6 and 7 will compete in pool play on one side of the bracket, while seeds 1, 4, 5 and 8 will play in the other. The two teams with the best record within their bracket will advance to the Championship game, with the winner earning the Big 12’s automatic berth into the NCAA Championship. The Wildcats’ last appearance in the Big 12 Tournament was back in 2002 when the Cats went 2-2 on the week and advanced to the semifinals of the tournament before falling to Nebraska, 8-7. This season, the Cats have already reached the 30-win mark for the third straight year under head coach Brad Hill and are just two wins shy of tying the school record for wins in a season at 35. All-Big 12 candidates Daniel Edwards, Byron Wiley and Brad Hutt have paced the Cats as of late as Edwards ranks among the best closers in the nation and has struck out 49 batters in just 34.2 innings, Wiley is hitting .379 on the year and leads the team in 14 different offensive categories and Hutt (8-4) is one win away on the mound of tying the K-State single-season record of nine. The Wildcats head into the championship on a three-game skid after concluding the regular season with three tough losses at Baylor. K-State enters the week with a 7-5 record in its last 12 games and is hitting .290 as a team over that span. Individually, Byron Wiley is hitting .395 with 15 RBI over those 12-games, while Derek Bunker is hitting .344 and Adam Muenster .324 in their last 12 games. Both have also driven in six runs over that span.

Noteworthy
K-State is 2-2 all-time in Big 12 Tournament play and is making its first appearance since 2002.
The Cats are 6-16 all-time in all conference tournament action, which includes the Big 8 and Big 12.
Under Brad Hill, Kansas State is 70-33 when its starting pitcher goes six-plus innings.
The Wildcats also are 95-12 under Hill when out-hitting their opponent.
The Cats are also 80-24-1 under Hill when recording 10 or more hits.
Over the last three-plus seasons, K-State is 99-5 when leading after seven innings and 79-27-2 when scoring first.
K-State is 19-6 this season when giving up three or less walks in a game.
K-State relievers are 15-for-16 in save opportunities and have retired 86-of-126 first batters.
K-State has outscored its opponent, 83-32, in the eighth, ninth and extra innings this season.
K-State is 27-4 this season when out-hitting its opponent.
The Cats are 23-0 when leading after six innings, 22-0 when leading after seven and 27-1 after eight.
K-State is 31-16 when scoring three or more runs this season.
Adam Muenster is 24-for-66 (.364) with 17 runs scored in his last 18 games.
Byron Wiley has hit safely in 40 of 52 games played this season and in 24 of his last 30 games.
Wiley is also 12-for-28 (.429) with 11 RBI in his last eight games and has hit safely in each.
Nate Tenbrink is hitting .338 with eight extra-base hits and 13 RBI in his last 20 games.
Closer Daniel Edwards has 14 career saves, which are the second-most in school history.
Edwards has yielded just five runs in his last 37.1 innings of work and has 51 K’s in that span.
Edwards has recorded a win or a save in 15 of his last 21 appearances.
Edwards is ranked seventh nationally and second in the Big 12 this week in saves with 11.
Brad Hutt (8-3) is one win away from tying the single-season record for wins.
Hutt has thrown two complete games this season and has gone six-plus innings in 10 starts.

The Matchups
Kansas State is a combined 3-6 against its three pool-play opponents in the tournament, going 1-2 against Texas, Nebraska and Texas A&M this season. K-State will open the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday against top-seeded Texas. The Wildcats suffered two losses to the Longhorns back in March in Austin before rebounding for an 11-9 win in the Sunday game. Nebraska and Texas A&M were more recent opponents for the Cats as the Huskers took close win in games one and two before the Cats again picked up a win in the finale, 8-2, in 10 innings. K-State and Texas A&M had two well-pitched games in Manhattan two weekends ago as the Aggies took games one and two by a combined three runs. But, the Cats rebounded like they have for most of the season and took an 11-6 win in the finale.

Big 12 Tournament Games to be Webcast
Live game action and postgame press conferences from the 2007 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship will be video streamed for free on the Big 12 Conference's official web site, www.big12sports.com. Each game leading up to the championship will be broadcast on the site. FSN will televise the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship title contest at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 27. Check local listings for more information on the telecast. The web cast, presented by the Big 12, AT&T and CSTV, will feature play-by-play from KSPI AM-Stillwater (Okla.) Sports Director Rex Holt with special guests appearing throughout the championship.

A Look Back at the 2002 Tournament
Kansas State’s only other appearance in the Big 12 Tournament was back in the 2002 season as the Cats opened the tourney with a tough 5-4 loss to Texas Tech at the Ballpark in Arlington. The Wildcats then produced wins over Baylor (6-2) and Texas Tech (7-6) and became the fan-favorite of the tournament heading into the semifinals. Nebraska edged K-State for an 8-7 win as the Cats finished 2-2 for the week and were eliminated from the tournament after dropping two games by a combined two runs. Kansas State averaged six runs and 12.25 hits in four games of the 2002 Big 12 Tournament, which was held in Arlington, Texas.

The 30-Win Club
The Cats’ 33 wins so far this season are the most under fourth-year head coach Brad Hill and are the most since the 1988 squad won 34 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. The school record for wins in a season is 35, which was set back in the 1976 season.

A Call to the Pen
Heading into this week’s Big 12 Conference tournament, K-State has seen its pitching staff put up solid numbers, especially the bullpen. K-State’s relievers are 15-6 with a 3.90 ERA in 205.1 innings of work, a number that is slightly skewed after the series at No. 9 Texas, at home against Oklahoma and at Baylor. In those 205.1 innings, pitchers have given up 207 hits and 89 earned runs while striking out 177 batters. Opponents are hitting just .262 against all Wildcat relievers this season. If you take out nine games against the Longhorns, Sooners and Bears, the Wildcat bullpen is 14-4 with a 2.87 ERA and a .231 opponent batting average in 159.2 innings.

Saving the Day
K-State relievers have picked up 15 saves so far this season out of 33 total wins and are 15-of-16 in those save opportunities. Daniel Edwards, who is a Stopper of the Year and Dick Howser Trophy candidate, leads the team and is second in the Big 12 Conference with 11 total this season. His 14 career saves are also the second-most in school history and he needs four more to move into a tie for first.

Flashing the Leather
Kansas State has set new school records in fielding percentage in each of the last two seasons and this year’s squad has a chance to make a run at a third. So far through 55 games, the Wildcats are fielding at a .970 clip, a number that dropped from the .973 mark after committing 10 errors in the three-game series at Baylor last weekend. The Wildcats are 24-13 this season when committing one or no errors in a game and have committed one or no errors in 31 of their last 43 games.

Edwards Among the Nation’s Top Closers
Junior closer Daniel Edwards has settled in nicely this season as the Wildcats’ new closer and has recently been added to the watch list for the 2007 Stopper of the Year Award and the Dick Howser Trophy. Edwards has been brilliant so far with 11 saves in 12 chances and also has picked up three wins. In 21 appearances this season, Edwards is 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA with 11 saves. The junior has struck out 49 batters in 34.2 innings while opponents are hitting just .150 against him. Dating back to last season, Edwards has recorded a save or a win in 15 of his last 21 appearances and has yielded five runs in his last 37.1 innings.

Daniel Climbing the Save Charts
Daniel Edwards’ 11 saves this season tie the single-season school record and for his career, Edwards now has 14 saves, which are the second-most in school history. He needs four more to tie the school record of 18, set by David Johnson. Edwards also ranks second in school history in career relief appearances with 53.

Trevor Deals
Sophomore Trevor Hurley enters this week’s action with a 1-3 overall record with a 4.66 ERA and two saves on the season and has been a steady arm as a starter lately. So far this season, Hurley has recorded multiple strikeouts in 14 of 16 outings, has yielded no runs in seven appearances and earned his first win of the season with 3.2 solid innings of relief against Texas Tech. Hurley earned his first career start against Central Christian and yielded just one hit with three K’s in 2.0 innings, while notching his first career Big 12 start at Nebraska on April 28 when he went 4.2 solid innings. Two weeks ago against No. 11 Texas A&M, Hurley struck out a career-high seven batters in 6.0 innings in a tough 2-1 loss to the Aggies.

Friday Night Lights
Junior right-hander Brad Hutt has been solid as the Friday starter for the Wildcats and has proven to be one of the more consistent Friday night guys in the entire Big 12 Conference. Hutt is 8-4 this season, ranks 10th in the league in ERA at 3.34 and has gone six-plus innings in 10 of 14 starts. Dating back to last season, Hutt has won 10 of his last 17 starts and has gotten to the sixth inning in 11 of those starts.

Hutt is on a Roll
Hutt is 8-4 this season and is nearing the top of the Kansas State record book in single-season and career wins. Heading into the A&M series, the All-Big 12 candidate needs just one win to tie the single-season mark of nine and his current career win total of 17 is tied for the third-most in school history.

Wiley’s Going Wild
Sophomore outfielder Byron Wiley has provided some power to the middle of the order and has been the most consistent Wildcat at the plate this season. Wiley enters the week among the Big 12’s best in several offensive categories, including on-base percentage (2nd), batting (5th) and walks (3rd). The Tomball, Texas, native leads the Wildcats in 14 different offensive categories and has had multiple hits in 22 games, while recording three or more hits on seven different occasions and reaching base safely in 48 of 529 games played. Wiley also has hit safely in 32 of his last 40 games and is currently riding a team-best eight-game hitting streak heading into the Big 12 Tournament.

Muenster is on Fire
Redshirt freshman Adam Muenster has caught fire at the plate as of late and has seen his current batting average rise to .281. In his last 18 games, Muenster is 24-for-66 (.364) with 17 runs scored and eight RBI. Muenster has recorded multiple hits in five of his last 16 games, including career-best four-hit games at Oklahoma State on April 15 and against Chicago State on May 2.

Vaughn Back in a Groove
Sophomore Rob Vaughn has picked up things considerably at the plate, which began with a career day in K-State’s 11-9 win over No. 9 Texas in Austin. The Humble, Texas, native went 4-for-4 with a grand slam and four RBI in Sunday’s game in his hometown state. Over the last 31 games, Vaughn is 34-for-106 (.321) with two homers, eight doubles and 21 RBI and has hit safely in 23 of his last 31 games. Vaughn is coming off a 4-for-10 weekend at Baylor and is currently riding a five-game hitting streak.

Eli’s Coming
Senior Eli Rumler, one of two seniors on this year’s squad, has surpassed the 100 career starts mark this season and has had a great season both offensively and defensively. Currently, Rumler holds the K-State career hit-by-pitches records with 36, and defensively, Rumler ranks fifth in career assists with 417 and needs four more to move into fourth. Rumler also has 14 career sacrifice bunts, which ties for fifth in school history. Rumler also has seen his batting average rise 20 points from last season as the senior hit .258 last season and heads into this week’s action with a .276 mark through 55 games.

Nate Has Been Solid of Late
Sophomore Nate Tenbrink has really come on strong after a slow start to the season at the plate. Tenbrink started the season in a 1-for-27 drought but came through with a clutch home run against UCSB that got things going. Tenbrink has seen his batting average rise over 180 points to his current .292 mark. Over his last 43 games, Tenbrink leads the team with a .336 batting average, has collected 18 extra-base hits and has driven in 31 runs, 18 of which have come with two outs. Tenbrink is also hitting .338 with eight extra-base hits and 13 RBI in his last 20 games.

Two-Way Tyler
Freshman Tyler Ruch has made an instant impact for the Wildcats as a true freshman, and not in just one capacity. Ruch has been very effective out of the bullpen as a situational reliever, but also has started games at first base, the outfield and seen several pinch-hit appearances. On the mound, Ruch has compiled a 4.08 ERA in 12 appearances and earned his first win on February 24 against Ohio State after 1.1 solid innings. Ruch has also been effective with first batters as 11 of the 12 first hitters he has faced in relief have been retired. At the plate, Ruch is currently hitting .271 on the season and has hit safely in 14 of his last 21 games, including going 7-for-21 in his last six games with two multi-hit games.

Hill Tops Century Mark
Kansas State head coach Brad Hill picked up his 100th win as head coach of the Wildcat program against North Dakota State on March 10. In three-plus seasons, Hill is 119-97-2 at Kansas State and is 538-188-2 overall as a head coach in 12-plus seasons. Hill needs just 11 more wins to pass Bob Brasher as the fourth-winningest coach in KSU history. In fact, Hill currently needs just 20 more wins to move all the way up to second place on the chart and pass Phil Wilson for second place.

Young Faces, Key Roles
Kansas State, with 24 total underclassmen on its squad this season, has seen many of those newcomers make an immediate impact on the field. Six freshmen position players have seen action so far this season, while four freshmen pitchers have seen time on the mound. At the sophomore level, six position players have played key roles this season while four second-year pitchers have logged innings.

Youth is Served
Kansas State fields one of the youngest teams in the Big 12 Conference this season, and with 34 players on the roster, 24 of those are underclassmen (13 freshmen and 11 sophomores). Nebraska and Baylor are the only two teams in the league that are comparable with 26 and 25, respectively. In terms of experience, the Wildcats boast two seniors, which are the fewest of any Big 12 team, and eight juniors to total 10 upperclassmen, which are the fewest in the Big 12 Conference.

Bulking Up RPI
Kansas State has bulked up its non-conference schedule in 2007 as it prepared for tough three-game stretches in league play down the road. In fact, the Wildcats currently have the 33rd-toughest schedule in the country according to Boyd’s World and head into this week’s action with 19 regular games against teams that are ranked in this week’s Top 25. And, speaking of ratings, Kansas State checks in at No. 32 in the latest Boyd’s World RPI ratings, which is sixth among Big 12 teams behind Texas (2), Texas A&M (9), Missouri (15), Oklahoma (24) and Nebraska (27).