Kansas State (21-8, 3-3) vs. #29 Missouri (22-8, 4-2)
April 6 3 p.m.
April 7 2 p.m.
April 8 1 p.m.
Tointon Stadium (2,331) Manhattan, Kan.
All three games will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN in Manhattan and online at k-statesports.com. Matt Walters and Brian Smoller will call the action.
Live stats and webcasts of all three games will be available at k-statesports.com.
Missouri leads the all-time series with Kansas State, 155-97-1, while the Wildcats are 52-81 in Manhattan and 12-21 in Big 12 play against the Tigers.
Watch For: Daniel Edwards
Once Kansas State gets into the late innings with a lead or in a close contest, Daniel Edwards has been masterful this season. So far in 2007, Edwards is 2-0 with nine saves and has not yielded a single run in 18.0 innings while striking out 28 batters.
Kansas State returns to Big 12 Conference play this weekend as the Missouri Tigers travel to Tointon Stadium for a three-game league series. The series was originally going to take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but the threat of inclement weather forced the series to be pushed back to Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The opening game on Friday will begin at 3 p.m., while game two is set to start at 2 p.m. The series finale will have a 1 p.m. first pitch on Easter Sunday. All three games will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN in Manhattan and online at k-statesports.com. The Wildcats, who are still receiving votes in this week’s NCBWA poll, are coming off a 10-6 midweek win over rival Kansas in a non-conference game at Tointon Stadium, while No. 29 Missouri did not play during the week and last saw action in a three-game set with Kansas, one that the Tigers took two-of-three games. K-State has seen its offense take giant strides forward of late and five different players head into the Missouri series with hitting streaks of three games or more, including Drew Biery’s career-long nine-game streak. Justin Bloxom enters the weekend as the Big 12’s leading freshman hitter in conference games, while Daniel Edwards currently leads the league in saves with nine. Edwards has been brilliant so far this season as the junior heads into the weekend with a 2-0 record with nine saves and has yet to give up a single run on the season. In fact, Edwards has tossed 21.0 straight scoreless innings, dating back to last season, and has struck out 29 batters in those 21 innings.
Kansas State is 3-3 in Big 12 play for the first time since the 2002 season.
Under Brad Hill, Kansas State is 64-30 when its starting pitcher goes six-plus innings.
The Wildcats also are 80-8 under Hill when out-hitting their opponent.
The Cats are also 71-19-1 under Hill when recording 10 or more hits.
Over the last three-plus seasons, K-State is 89-5 when leading after seven innings and 72-23-2 when scoring first.
K-State is leading the Big 12 in fielding percentage at .986 in conference-only games.
K-State is 13-2 this season when giving up three or less walks in a game.
K-State relievers are 12-for-12 in save opportunities and have retired 44-of-64 first batters.
K-State has outscored its opponent, 47-11, in the eighth and ninth innings this season.
K-State is 16-0 this season when out-hitting its opponent.
The Cats are 14-0 when leading after six innings, 14-0 when leading after seven and 19-0 after eight.
K-State is 21-6 when scoring three or more runs this season.
Freshman Justin Bloxom has 11 RBI in his last 11 games and has collected 11 two-out RBI this season.
Bloxom is the top-hitting freshman in the Big 12 for league games with a .421 average.
Rob Vaughn is 12-for-24 (.500) with two homers and nine RBI over his last nine games.
Drew Biery is riding a career-best nine-game hit streak and is hitting .364 (12-for-33) with 11 RBI in those games.
Eli Rumler ranks sixth in school history with 13 career sacrifice bunts.
Defensively, Rumler also ranks seventh in school history with 355 career assists.
Pitcher Justin Murray has a 2-0 record and 2.70 ERA in 6.2 innings as a reliever this season.
Closer Daniel Edwards has 12 career saves, which is tied for second-best in school history.
Edwards has not yielded a single run in his last 21.0 innings of work and has 31 K’s in that span.
Edwards has recorded a win or a save in 12 of his last 13 appearances.
Mizzou heads into the weekend with a 22-8 overall record and a 4-2 mark in conference play. The Tigers took a series victory over Kansas last weekend, winning the final two games of the weekend after dropping the opener. Through its first 30 games of the 2007 season, Mizzou has a 3.52 ERA, which is fourth best in the Big 12 Conference. Opponents are hitting .244 off the Tigers, which is second best in the league and MU’s 2.55 walks per nine innings average ranks third in the Big 12. Mizzou is led on the mound by Aaron Crow, who is 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA, while Evan Frey, who hit two homers in last weekend’s series against Kansas, is the Tigers’ leading hitter at .354 with two home runs and 21 RBI in 27 games.
Missouri leads the all-time series with Kansas State, 155-97-1, while the Wildcats are 52-81 in Manhattan and 12-21 in Big 12 play against the Tigers. Head coach Brad Hill is 3-6 against the Tigers since 2004 and picked up his first Big 12 series win against the Tigers in 2004 with two wins in Columbia, Mo. Mizzou has won the last two meetings between the two schools while the series is tied, 11-11, over the last 22 meetings.
K-State is 19-4 this season in day games, as K-State and Missouri will do battle in three afternoon contests this weekend. So far this season, the Cats are hitting .298 as a team in afternoon games, with seven players hitting .300 or better. Byron Wiley has hit .394 with two homers and 15 RBI in day games, while all nine Wildcat homers have also come with the sun shining. On the mound, Brad Hutt is a perfect 5-0, while the projected weekend rotation for the Cats is 9-2 with 78 strikeouts in afternoon tilts.
Twenty-nine games into the 2007 season, K-State has seen its pitching staff put up solid numbers, especially the bullpen. K-State’s relievers are 11-3 with a 3.91 ERA in 103.2 innings of work, a number that went up steadily after the tough series at No. 9 Texas. In those 103.2 innings, pitchers have given up 100 hits and 45 earned runs while striking out 91 batters. Opponents are hitting just .258 against all Wildcat relievers this season. Six relievers have accumulated ERA’s of 5.00 or lower, three of which are 1.93 or lower in 65 total appearances.
Save the Day
K-State relievers have picked up 12 saves so far this season out of 21 total wins and are a perfect 12-of-12 in those save opportunities. Daniel Edwards, who earned All-Tournament honors in Tampa with two saves, leads the team and the Big 12 Conference with nine total this season. His 12 career saves are also the second-most in school history and he needs six more to move into a tie for first. Sophomore Trevor Hurley has also picked up two saves, while Jason Linn closed out a close win in the season opener.
Start It Up
K-State continues to get solid pitching performances from its starters as 13 have gone six-plus innings in starts this season, including Brad Hutt who has lasted 6.0 innings in six of seven starts. Hutt is 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA and has won seven of his last 10 starts on the mound, dating back to last season. In fact, K-State starters are a combined 10-5 with 119 strikeouts this season.
Flashing Some Leather
Kansas State has set new school records in fielding percentage in each of the last two seasons and this year’s squad is on track to make a run at a third. So far through 29 games, the Wildcats are fielding at a .974 clip, which ranks second in the Big 12 Conference. In Big 12-only games, Kansas State leads the league with a .986 fielding percentage. The Wildcats are 14-7 this season when committing one or no errors in a game and have committed one or no errors in 16 of their last 20 games.
Edwards Slams the Door
Junior closer Daniel Edwards has settled in nicely this season as the Wildcats’ new closer. After coming off a big summer as a stopper in the Northwoods League, Edwards has been brilliant so far with nine saves in nine chances and also has picked up two wins. In 12 total appearances this season, Edwards is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA with nine saves. The junior has struck out 28 batters in 18.0 innings while opponents are hitting just .082 against the right-hander. Dating back to last season, Edwards has recorded a save or a win in 12 of his last 13 appearances and has not yielded a run in his last 21.0 innings, dating back to last season.
Daniel Climbing the Save Charts
Daniel Edwards’ nine saves this season are the second-most in single-season school history and he needs just two more to move into a tie for first. For his career, Edwards now has 12 saves, which are tied for the second-most in school history and he needs six more to tie the school record of 18, set by David Johnson. Edwards also ranks fourth school history in career relief appearances with 47.
Give Me Vaughn
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 nine games, Vaughn is 12-for-24 (.500) with two homers, three doubles and nine RBI and has seen his batting average rise to his current .274 mark.
Bloxom is Clutch With Two Outs
True freshman Justin Bloxom has stepped up nicely for the Cats at first base and/or designated hitter this season. Bloxom, who is the top freshman hitter in Big 12-only games, has raised his batting average to .313 and is tied for the team lead in RBI with 20. Bloxom, who has hit safely in eight of his last 11 games and 16 of his last 22, has driven in 11 runs over the last 11 games and has collected 11 two-out RBI on the season.
Biery Coming on Strong
Drew Biery had a strong end to the 2006 season offensively for the Cats and the sophomore has picked things up as of late in 2007 after battling the injury bug. In his last nine games, Biery is 12-for-33 (.364) with 11 RBI, while he is hitting .284 as a starter in 18 games. The sophomore is also ranked 18th in Big 12-only games with a .368 batting average.
Justin From the Pen
Sophomore Justin Murray has been solid in relief as of late after earning four starts earlier this season. Murray, a local product of Manhattan High, has picked up two wins in his last three outings, both of them coming in league play. As a reliever this season, Murray is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 6.2 innings and has picked up wins at No. 9 Texas and at home against Texas Tech.
Sophomore Trevor Hurley enters this weekend’s action with a 1-1 overall record with a 3.12 ERA and two saves on the season and has been a steady arm out of the pen lately. So far this season, Hurley has recorded multiple strikeouts in six of eight outings, has yielded no runs in five appearances and earned his first win of the season last weekend with 3.2 solid innings of relief against Texas Tech.
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 first half of the season both offensively and defensively. Currently, Rumler holds the K-State career hit-by-pitches records with 26, and defensively, Rumler ranks seventh in career assists with 355 and needs 45 more to move into sixth. Rumler also has 13 career sacrifice bunts, which ranks sixth in school history. Rumler also has seen his batting average rise 55 points from last season as the senior hit .258 last season and heads into this weekend’s action with a .312 mark through 29 games.
Nate Has Been Solid of Late
Sophomore Nate Tenbrink has come up with several key two-out hits this season, including a three-run homer in the eighth inning of the Cal-Santa Barbara game. Tenbrink had entered the at-bat in a 1-for-27 drought but came through with a clutch hit to send the game into extra innings. Tenbrink also had a two-out, two-run single in a win over BYU and has since raised his batting average over 160 points to his current .269 mark. Over his last 17 games, Tenbrink leads the team with a .377 batting average, has collected 10 extra-base hits and has driven in 17 runs, 10 of which have come with two outs.
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 weekend among the Big 12’s best in several offensive categories, including on-base percentage (1st), batting (7th) and walks (t5th). The Tomball, Texas, native leads the Wildcats in 12 different offensive categories and has had multiple hits in nine games, while recording three or more hits on four different occasions and reaching base safely in 25 of 27 games played. Wiley also has hit safely in five straight games and in 18 of his last 21.
Friday Night Lights
Junior right-hander Brad Hutt has been solid as the Friday starter for the Wildcats. Hutt tossed 6.2 shutout innings against Penn State in the opener, giving the Wildcats their first season-opening shutout since the 1998 season, and followed with seven strong innings in Tampa in a win over Seton Hall. Hutt is 5-1 this season, ranks seventh in the league in ERA at 2.68 and has gone six-plus innings in six of seven starts. Dating back to last season, Hutt has won seven of his last 10 starts and has lasted six-plus innings in all seven of the wins.
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 4.50 ERA in nine 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 eight of the nine first hitters he has faced in relief have been retired. At the plate, Ruch is currently hitting .261 on the season and leads the team in pinch-hitting with a .667 mark (2-for-3) with one run driven in.
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 108-83-2 at Kansas State and is 526-174-2 overall as a head coach in 12-plus seasons. Hill needs just 22 more wins to pass Bob Brasher as the fourth-winningest coach in KSU history. In fact, Hill currently needs just 31 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 prepares for tough three-game stretches in league play down the road. In fact, the Wildcats currently have the 66th-toughest schedule in the country according to Boyd’s World and head into this weekend’s action with 19 games against teams that are ranked in this week’s Top 25. And, speaking of Boyd’s World, Kansas State checks in at No. 32 this week in the RPI ratings, which is fourth among Big 12 teams behind Texas (4), Texas A&M (5) and Oklahoma (9).
Wildcat Baseball on the Tube
Kansas State will have three of its 2007 baseball games air regionally on television as both the Big 12 Conference and the Kansas State Athletic Department announced their baseball television packages. The Big 12 has announced its six-game league package with Fox Sports Net and the May 5 Wildcat game at Kansas was one of the selections. First pitch for the game is set for 3 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence with the entire Big 12 region gaining television access. K-State also had its Saturday game against Texas Tech and its Tuesday night game against Kansas televised on Fox Sports Net.