Wolfe's Confidence Continues to Grow

"Tyler Wolfe is just an extremely good baseball player," said Wildcat junior Nate Williams back in January. "He's up here every day doing extra work, and he's just a great leader. He does everything right on and off the field; he's exactly what you're looking for in a guy coming into this program."
Added senior Max Brown a few months ago, "(Wolfe has) made really big strides since the fall. He's a great kid all around."
A junior transfer from Des Moines Area Community College, Wolfe came to K-State last fall and, from the start, made an impact. So much so that when asked which player stood out the most during fall camp, Wildcat head coach Brad Hill agreed with Williams and Brown. 
"(Wolfe) kind of continues a long line of shortstops that we have had," explained Hill on a cold January day. "Every shortstop we've had since I've been here has been drafted, and I think he should continue that."
Now, fast forward to today, more than halfway through the 2015 season, and Wolfe has yet to disappoint. The Maple Plain, Minnesota, native is leading the Wildcats with a .389 batting average in Big 12 play - which is fourth-best in the league - and has only continued to shine as the conference schedule has progressed. 
"He's done a really good job of being consistent," said Hill yesterday afternoon prior to the Wildcats' three-game series against Texas Tech beginning this afternoon at 3 p.m. "He bounces back and is consistent every day. With Tyler, you get the same guy every day, and that's important in baseball."
His consistency was displayed in the Wildcats' five games last week where Wolfe batted .333 (7-for-21) and recorded a conference-best seven RBI en route to being named the Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week. 
And in a league boasting numerous top-25 ranked teams each week, accolades like that aren't easy to come by. 
"It's very tough to get it, but my team has set me up every time," said Wolfe modestly. "I felt like every time I went up to bat last week, I had guys in the scoring position. That makes my job pretty easy."
What has also made his job "pretty easy" has been playing in a place and for a team that he loves.
"I love the atmosphere here; I love Manhattan," Wolfe said with a smile. "It's a great place. When I came out here on my visit, I just loved it. Everyone is very nice. I like the way we go about our business; we've got a blue-collar atmosphere, and that's what I grew up around. It's what it was like at junior college. So, coming here kind of continued that tradition."
Last Friday against No. 3 TCU, Wolfe had one of his best games of the season as he posted career-highs in hits (4) and runs scored (3) in addition to driving in a run. His solid performance helped boost the Wildcats to a 14-4 win in the series opener and eventually a series victory over the highly-ranked Horned Frogs, marking the first time K-State won a series against a top-five team since 2009.
"He's got a lot of confidence right now," said right-handed pitcher Colton Kalmus, who will get the start on the mound this afternoon. "In the beginning of the year, he was kind of struggling, but the last two or three weeks, you can just see it in his eyes. He has a lot of confidence." 
While Wolfe said it's been a challenging adjustment playing at a new level early on but he's finally feeling more comfortable at the plate, it's helped having his team there to back him up.
"There is a lot of confidence and trust with this team," Wolfe said. "I trust anyone on the mound, anyone who gets out on the field, anyone who steps up to the plate, like on Tuesday when we played Wichita State. I trusted anyone to come up to the plate with the bases loaded and get the job done."
Coming off of that exciting, 5-4, walk-off win in 10 innings over the Shockers on Tuesday, K-State (17-18, 4-8 Big 12) will look to keep the momentum rolling against the 19th-ranked Red Raiders (23-14, 7-5 Big 12) this afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium. The game was moved from 6:30 p.m., to 3 p.m., due to impending weather.
"They're a whole different team than TCU," explained Hill about the Red Raiders. "They still have good pitching, I'm not taking anything away from their pitching staff, but offensively, they just pose a lot of threats. They're very aggressive in swinging the bat and have power potential throughout their lineup." 
While Texas Tech boasts one of the Big 12's top offenses, the Wildcats have been swinging their bats with some grit as well.
"We're just getting the big hits right now," said Wolfe. "We're getting guys in the scoring position. We've been (putting guys in scoring position) all year, but now we're finally getting those big hits when we need them."
For a full preview and more information on this weekend's series, please click here

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