SERIES INFORMATION NORTHERN COLORADO at K-STATE Overall: K-State leads, 10-0 In Minneapolis: K-State leads, 10-0 Last Meeting: K-State K-State swept a two-game series, 6-3 and 16-3, March 29-30, in Manhattan, Kan.
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State wraps up its five-game homestand this week with a pair of games against Northern Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday at Tointon Family Stadium. K-State swept a two-game set from the Bears last year and has won all 10 games in the series. The brief midweek series gets underway with a 6:30 p.m., first pitch on Tuesday night and concludes Wednesday at 3 p.m. Both games can be seen world-wide on K-StateHD.TV and will be aired in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN with Brian Smoller and Matt Walters on the call. Also, free live audio will be available online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.
Fans can purchase tickets through the K-State Athletics Ticket office online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or in person either at the main ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum or at the Tointon Family Stadium box office prior to the game. Select concession items will be available for only $1 Tuesday night.
K-STATE AT A GLANCE The Wildcats are looking to bounce back from a 0-4 week that included a three-game sweep at the hands of No. 5 Baylor. K-State had leads in the final two games of the series, but the Bears scored 10 unanswered in the second game and received an 11th-inning home run in the finale to complete the sweep. The series featured a combined 56 runs on 83 hits and five half innings of at least four runs.
The Kansas State offense recorded 19 earned runs and hit .297 in the series against a Baylor pitching staff that held opponents to .240 hitting and tallied a 3.22 ERA entering the series. The Wildcats, who rank fourth or better in the Big 12 in nine offensive categories, are led by sophomore outfielder Jared King’s .397 average. The Dublin, Ohio, product leads the team with 18 multi-hit games this year, while he ranks in the top 10 of the conference in nine areas, including second-place marks in average and hits (52). Wade Hinkle is second on the club with a .353 average and paces the squad with seven home runs, a mark that is tied for second in the league. Tanner Witt saw his career-long streak of 25-straight games reaching base safely come to an end on Friday, but the junior outfielder has reached base in 31 of his 34 games played this season as he is 10th in the Big 12 with a .347 batting average and seventh in the league with a .465 on-base percentage.
The Wildcats are scheduled to start left-hander Jared Moore on Tuesday, while K-State is undecided on a starter for Wednesday’s contest. Moore is 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA this year in 12 games, which includes four starts. He threw in relief for the first time since late March on Sunday, tossing 0.2 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts. The sophomore started last Wednesday’s game at Missouri State when he took a tough-luck loss after allowing two unearned runs on one hit in three innings of work. DID YOU KNOW • Head coach Brad Hill will coach his 500th game at Kansas State on Friday at Missouri. • The Wildcat pitching staff has reached double digits in strikeouts 10 times this year, which is already tied for the fifth-most under head coach Brad Hill. • K-State leads the Big 12 with a .981 fielding percentage, and the Cats ranked fourth nationally last week. • The Wildcats also ranked in the top 15 of the NCAA in three other categories last week, including steals (6th), on-base percentage (8th) and walks (14th). • K-State has been hit by 20 pitches over the last 10 games and ranks second in the Big 12 with 54 total this season. • Catcher Dan Klein has more pickoffs this year (six) than six of the other eight Big 12 teams. • Tanner Witt has reached base safely in 31 of his 34 games played this season. • Last Wednesday at Missouri State, Jared King became the 75th player in school history to record 100 career hits.
PLENTY OF OFFENSE Last weekend’s series against No. 5 Baylor featured plenty of offense by both teams as the Wildcats and Bears combined for 56 runs in the three-game set, including 26 in the second game and 23 in the finale. K-State came away with 25 runs in the series, the most against a ranked Big 12 team since plating 28 at No. 15 Oklahoma in 2010. It was also the most combined runs for the Wildcats and a league opponent since 2010 in Norman (66). Of the 25 runs, 19 were earned against a pitching staff that held the second-best ERA in the Big 12 at 3.22.
TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM Kansas State, which has shown over the last several years that it will do all it can to get on base, has drastically increased its hit-by-pitch total over the last few weeks. After being hit by 34 pitches in the first 25 games (1.36 per game), K-State has recorded 20 hit batters over the last 10 games (2.00 per game) and has been hit by at least one pitch in the last 10 games. With the boosted total, the Wildcats now rank ninth in school history with 54 this season and were 33rd nationally a week ago.
NORTHERN COLORADO AT A GLANCE Northern Colorado enters the midweek series on a high note following a four-game sweep of NYIT last weekend. The Bears won the series by a combined total of 52-11, including three wins of at least 10 runs. UNC, which is 14-17 overall and 5-3 in Great West play, sports wins at Nebraska and Washington State on their resume.
The Bears are hitting .313 as a team after totaling 53 hits against NYIT. They are led at the plate by junior infielder Adam Hilker, who is hitting .425 with seven extra-base hits and 25 RBI. Behind Hilker at .389 is senior outfielder Adrian Schenk, who leads the team with 27 RBI thanks to eight in the NYIT series. Tony Crudo, a senior infielder, paces the squad with three home runs and is hitting .300. Senior Casey Coy leads the Bears in both doubles (9) and triples (5).
Northern Colorado is expected to start right-hander Chris Hammer on Tuesday, while the Bears are also undecided on a starter for Wednesday’s contest. Hammer holds a 3-1 record and a 5.88 ERA in nine games this season with just four walks and 23 strikeouts. The sophomore is coming off a seven-inning complete game shutout during the second game of a double header last Friday. In that contest, Hammer worked around four hits and did not issue a walk while registering six strikeouts. He also earned the win in relief at Nebraska when he allowed one run in three innings of work.
Left-hander Cameron Tallman leads the team in appearances with 12, while right-handers Jess Amedee and Kevin Willman have been called upon in 10 games apiece. Amedee, who is 4-1 with a 4.45 ERA, has recorded both of UNC’s two saves this season.
THE NORTHERN COLORADO SERIES Kansas State, which holds a 10-0 lead in the series against Northern Colorado, will be playing the Bears for consecutive seasons for the first time since 2004 and 2005. All 10 previous games have been played in Manhattan, while the series dates back to 1990 when the Wildcats swept a three-game series. All-time against current members of the Great West Conference, K-State is 23-1 as its only blemish was a loss to UT-Pan American in 1999.
Last season against UNC, Kansas State scored five runs in the first three innings of the series opener and held on for a 6-3 victory. Tanner Witt and Wade Hinkle each recorded two-hit games, while Jared Moore, who will start Tuesday’s contest, threw a scoreless inning with one strikeout. In game two, the Wildcats came out on fire by scoring 10 runs in the bottom of the first, including four on a Jason King grand slam, en route to a 16-3 victory. King hit two home runs on the day, while the 10-run first inning was the Wildcats’ most runs in a frame since scoring 11 times in the seventh inning at South Dakota State on May 17, 2005.
THROW ‘EM A CHAIR The Kansas State pitching staff has had one of its better seasons in terms of strikeouts as the Wildcats have average 7.5 per nine innings, the highest mark since 7.7 in 1998. The high strikeout total is propelled by 10 games with 10 or more fanned batters, which already ranks as the fifth most in head coach Brad Hill’s nine seasons at Kansas State. K-State also has four 10-plus strikeout games in conference play, which is tied for the fourth most under Hill.
K-State, which has averaged nearly nine strikeouts in its last four Big 12 games, are led by senior starter Kayvon Bahramzadeh with 48 to tie for 10th in the Big 12. Half of the right-hander’s strikeouts have come in the last three games, including 17 in his last two Big 12 starts. Another senior starter, Matt Applegate, sits just outside the top 10 with 45 strikeouts, and he has 168 in his career to rank ninth in school history.
SMOOTH CRIMINALS A staple of the K-State offense over the last three seasons is its ability to steal bases, and that aspect of the game is prevalent again in 2012. The Wildcats, who have led the Big 12 in steals the last three seasons, are second in the league with 79, just six back of first-place Texas A&M. Last week, the Wildcats were ranked sixth nationally in that department and they are four steals shy of entering the school’s top 10. K-State has hit the four-steal mark in 12 games, going 10-2 in those contests.
Four Wildcats rank in the top 10 of the Big 12 in steals, including sophomore Ross Kivett, who is second with 18. Right behind Kivett with 17 to tie for fourth is Tanner Witt, while Jake Brown is tied for eighth with 14 and Jared King is tied for 10th with 12.