Wildcats Enter Second Half of Big 12 Schedule vs. No. 21 Mountaineers
Wildcats Enter Second Half of Big 12 Schedule vs. No. 21 Mountaineers
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State baseball team enters the second half of its Big 12 schedule as the 21st-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers visit Tointon Family Stadium for a three-game series beginning Friday.
Friday night’s game between K-State (19-18, 2-10 Big 12) and West Virginia (22-13 8-4 Big 12) is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and features a black T-shirt giveaway with purchase of a promotional ticket. First pitch for Saturday is slated for 4 p.m., and fans can get in for $3 with a Spring Game football ticket. Sunday’s finale will start at noon and is Military Appreciation Day with the first 250 fans receiving camouflage K-State baseball dog tags.
K-StateHD.TV and COX Channel Kansas will broadcast Friday night’s contest while ESPN3 and WatchESPN will stream both Saturday’s and Sunday’s games. Fans can also listen to K-State baseball on KMAN 1350 AM, 93.3 FM and streaming free at k-statesports.com.
A LOOK AT K-STATE
Kansas State (19-18, 2-10 Big 12) swept a Tuesday doubleheader with New Mexico, its first consecutive wins since March 17-18 ... The Lobos led 8-1 after an inning and a half but the Wildcats rallied to take game one, 12-10, and won another close game in the nightcap, 3-2 ... K-State dropped its fourth straight Big 12 series to begin the conference slate over the weekend vs. No. 6 Texas Tech ... For the second consecutive series, K-State opened with a win behind Justin Heskett before falling in the next two games of the series to open league play at 2-10 for the first time since 2005 ... Jake Scudder belted three homers in the final two games and hit another one Tuesday to take sole possession of the Big 12 lead in home runs with 10 for the season ... In the series finale, K-State jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings but TTU came back to win the rubber game, 12-8.
A LOOK AT WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia (22-13, 8-4 Big 12) enters the series in Manhattan as the 21st-ranked team in the country ... WVU has won two-of-three games in all four conference series in which it has played this season, including over then-ranked No. 3 TCU, NO. 10 Baylor and No. 23 Oklahoma State ... Both of the Mountaineers’ top two starters rank in the top 10 of the Big 12 in terms of ERA: Michael Grove, 6th (2.70) and BJ Myers, 10th (3.38) ... The Mountaineer offense is paced by Brandon White and his .356 batting average, putting him fourth in the Big 12 ... As a team, West Virginia has the second-highest team batting average at .287 in the conference.
A LOOK AT THE SERIES
West Virginia leads the all-time series, 7-5, dating back to 2013 when WVU joined the Big 12 ... K-State won two-of-three games last season in Morgantown ... In four conference series, the two sides have each claimed two series wins ... K-State has a 3-3 record vs. WVU at home ... The Mountaineers took two games in Manhattan in 2015 ... K-State is 4-6 in the last 10 vs. WVU.
K-State head coach Brad Hill has 435 career victories as the Wildcat skipper after two wins Tuesday... Hill has equaled longtime K-State head coach Mike Clark’s program record of 435 wins ... Clark was the program’s longest tenured head coach from 1987-2003 (17 seasons) ... Hill is in his 14th season at the helm of the Wildcats.
Jake Scudder blasted three homers in the series with No. 6 Texas Tech over the weekend, including his first career multi-homer game on Friday ... After a homer Tuesday against New Mexico, Scudder now has sole possession of the Big 12 lead with 10 homers on the season ... The 10 long balls is a new career high for Scudder after hitting seven last season ... The 10 homers are the most by a K-State hitter in a single season since 2012 when Wade Hinkle hit 10 ... The senior first baseman leads the teams in homers for the second straight season after posting seven in 2016; no Wildcat has led the team in home runs in consecutive seasons since Pat Maloney did it from 2001-03.
ALL OR NOTHING
K-State is 19-18 through the season’s 37 games ... Wildcat hitters have a combined 143 RBI in games won compared with 43 runs driven in in lost games - a 100-run difference ... In the 19 victories, the Wildcats hit .315 and average 8.3 runs per game on 10.6 hits per game ... In their 18 losses, the Cats hit just .193, score 2.8 runs a game with 6.4 hits a game ... The team ERA in losses is 6.02 with over five walks/game ... In wins, the team ERA drops to just 3.53 and three and a half walks per game allowed ... K-State pitchers have allowed 40 fewer earned runs in victories as opposed to losses.
So far in 2017, K-State has hit 32 home runs (eclipsing 2016’s total of 30) in 37 games and had 20 through its first 13 games ... The 32 dingers are the most by a K-State team since 2011 when it posted 35 ... The Cats have hit four bombs in a single game twice and have had one five-homer game ... Four times a Wildcat has posted a multi-homer game and the team has combined to hit three grand slams ... In 2016, K-State had just one multi-homer game (Tyler Wolfe) ... Before this season, K-State had not had a grand slam since 2013 ... Quintin Crandall and Grant Reuben have gone back-to-back twice this season ... Before this year, K-State had not had back-to-back homers since 2012 ... Eleven of K-State’s 32 homers have been with two outs.
NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Freshman Will Brennan has taken over the title of hitting leader for K-State and was named Newcomer of the Week by the Big 12 last Monday ... Brennan has catapulted himself to second on the Big 12 hitting list with his .367 average ... Brennan could challenge the freshman batting average record of .346 set in 1973 (Steve Anson) ... Since moving to the leadoff spot (9 games), Brennan is hitting .452 with an OBP of .595 and seven runs batted in ... The left-handed outfielder also remains the toughest hitter to strikeout in the conference, with one strikeout every 18.2 at-bats - the 12th-best ratio in the country among qualified hitters ... Brennan also leads the team with a .450 average with runners in scoring position.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Junior-college transfer Justin Heskett got his fifth straight series-opening start Thursday vs. No. 6 Texas Tech ... Heskett has thrown three consecutive quality starts and in four quality starts in his last five outings ... Twice he has gone seven shutout innings ... April 7 at Oklahoma State, Heskett had a career-high eight strikeouts and did not walk a batter ... In his last three starts, Heskett has 15 strikeouts compared to three walks allowed ... He leads the team with a 2.84 ERA (7th in Big 12).
This season, Rigler threw the ninth no-hitter in K-State program history on March 5 in a 14-0 thrashing of Eastern Illinois ... The no-hitter spurred a string of three consecutive quality starts from March 5-18 ... The streak of three straight quality starts is the longest of Rigler’s career (6 QS last season) ... The senior southpaw had a season-high seven strikeouts vs. Texas Tech Friday.
BY THE NUMBERS
K-State is 8-3 in one-run games this season (3-10 in 2016) ... K-State has three wins when trailing or tied after eight innings this season after going 0-26 in the same situations last season ... K-State has a 0 run differential this season (208-208) ... This season, K-State is hitting .287 with runners in scoring ... K-State is 18-8 this season when scoring at least three runs ... The Cats are 15-5 when scoring first and 10-6 when scoring in the first inning ... When hitting a home run, K-State is 9-5 ... The Wildcats are 14-0 when leading after six innings ... The Cats have shut out opponents four times this season while being shut out four times this season.
TALE OF TWO SEASONS
K-State jumped out to an 11-2 start to begin the season, matching its best start since 2011 ... Since then, K-State is 8-16 and was a game under .500 for the first time since starting the season 0-1 ... Since the 11-2 start, the Cats are hitting .216 and average just over three runs a game ... In the seasons’ first 16 games, K-State was hit .292 and averaged over seven runs a game ... The Wildcat bats exploded for 20 homers in the first 16 games and have hit just 12 over the last 22 games ... The pitching staff’s combined ERA in the first half was 3.78 and is 5.19 over the last 24 games.