Kansas State (26-15, 6-9) at Nebraska (23-17, 8-10)
April 27 6:35 p.m.
April 28 2:05 p.m.
April 29 1:05 p.m.
Hawks Field (8,500) Lincoln, Neb.
All three games will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN in Manhattan and online at k-statesports.com. Brian Smoller and Kenny Lannou will call the action.
Live stats of all three games will be available at k-statesports.com.
Nebraska leads the all-time series, 154-97, while the Cats are 34-83 on the road against the Huskers. NU holds a 10-25 advantage all-time in Big 12 Conference play.
Watch For: Daniel Edwards
Daniel Edwards has yielded just two total runs in 25.0 innings this season, which includes 24.0 shutout innings, while striking out a team-high 40 batters and collecting a Big 12 Conference leading 10 saves.
Kansas State, coming off a big 2-1 win at No. 7 Wichita State on Tuesday, gets back into Big 12 play this weekend when it visits Hawks Field for a three-game series with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:35 p.m., while the Saturday game is slated for a 2:05 first pitch. Sunday’s series finale will begin at 1:05 p.m. All three games will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN in Manhattan and online at k-statesports.com. The Wildcats enter the weekend in eighth place in the Big 12 standings but are only one game out of fifth as the league is seeing one of its more competitive seasons from top to bottom in recent memory. Kansas State used five pitchers to hold No. 7 Wichita State to no earned runs on just five hits in a solid non-conference win on the road Tuesday. Closer Daniel Edwards tossed the final 2.0 shutout innings to earn his Big 12-leading 10th save of the season. Edwards has yielded just two total runs in 25.0 innings this season, which includes 24.0 shutout innings, while striking out a team-high 40 batters. The Wildcat offense has picked things up over the last eight games as the Cats are hitting .332 as a team over that span and has collected 10 or more hits in six of those eight games. Byron Wiley continues to lead the Wildcat bats as the sophomore is currently ranked fifth in the Big 12 with his .384 batting average and leads the league in on-base percentage with a .506 mark. Wiley leads the Cats in 14 different offensive categories and has reached base safely in 37 of 39 games played this season.
Under Brad Hill, Kansas State is 66-32 when its starting pitcher goes six-plus innings.
The Wildcats also are 85-12 under Hill when out-hitting their opponent.
The Cats are also 74-22-1 under Hill when recording 10 or more hits.
Over the last three-plus seasons, K-State is 94-5 when leading after seven innings and 75-25-2 when scoring first.
K-State currently hitting .300 as a team in Big 12 play, which ranks fourth in the league
K-State’s .300 team hitting mark in league play is currently the highest in four years under coach Brad Hill.
K-State is 16-4 this season when giving up three or less walks in a game.
K-State relievers are 14-for-15 in save opportunities and have retired 67-of-99 first batters.
K-State has outscored its opponent, 62-22, in the eighth and ninth innings this season.
K-State is 21-4 this season when out-hitting its opponent.
The Cats are 18-0 when leading after six innings, 19-0 when leading after seven and 24-1 after eight.
K-State is 25-11 when scoring three or more runs this season.
K-State is hitting .332 as a team in its last eight games.
K-State has 12 players who are hitting .300 or better in the last eight games.
Adam Muenster is 12-for-26 (.462) with seven runs scored in his last eight games.
Muenster is currently riding a career-best seven-game hitting streak.
Tyler Ruch has hit safely in five of his last six games and in six of his last seven.
Byron Wiley has hit safely in 29 of 39 games played this season and in 13 of his last 17 games.
Wiley is also hitting .375 with a .609 slugging and eight extra-base hits in his last 18 games.
Closer Daniel Edwards has 13 career saves, which are the second-most in school history
Edwards has yielded just two runs in his last 26.1 innings of work and has 40 K’s in that span.
Edwards has recorded a win or a save in 13 of his last 16 appearances.
Nebraska heads into the weekend’s series with a 23-17 overall record and an 8-10 mark in league play. The Huskers had two midweek games against North Dakota State cancelled due to weather. On the mound, the Huskers are led by starters Tony Watson and Johnny Dorn. Watson, a left-hander, is 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA and has struck out 56 batters in 65.1 innings, while Dorn is 6-2 with a 5.19 ERA and 41 strikeouts. Jeff Tezak paces the Husker offense with a team-leading .358 batting average, while three other everyday players are hitting .300 or better. Six players have hit three or more home runs for the Huskers, led by Andrew Brown’s six.
Nebraska leads the all-time series, 154-97, while the Cats are 34-83 on the road against the Huskers. NU holds a 10-25 advantage all-time in Big 12 Conference play and has won 12 of the last 13 meetings heading into this weekend’s action. The Wildcats’ last win in Lincoln was back in 1997, while the Cats have not won a series in Lincoln since the 1974 season.
Kansas State heads into the Nebraska series in eighth place in the conference standings with four series left to play. The Cats are within striking distance and contro their own destiny in their quest towards advancing to the Big 12 Tournament and even NCAA regional play. K-State checked in at No. 31 in the latest NCAA Men’s Baseball RPI ratings, while the latest Boyd’s World RPI ratings have the Cats at No. 23 after their win at No. 7 Wichita State. Five of the Cats’ next six league games are on the road (Nebraska and Kansas) before they close the season with a home series against Texas A&M and a road series at Baylor.
A Call to the Pen
With 15 games left in the 2007 regular season, K-State has seen its pitching staff put up solid numbers, especially the bullpen. K-State’s relievers are 13-4 with a 4.02 ERA in 161.0 innings of work, a number that is slightly skewed after the series at No. 9 Texas and at home against Oklahoma. In those 161.0 innings, pitchers have given up 157 hits and 72 earned runs while striking out 135 batters. Opponents are hitting just .257 against all Wildcat relievers this season. If you take out six games against the Longhorns and Sooners, the Wildcat bullpen is 12-4 with a 3.14 ERA and a .229 opponent batting average in 129.0 innings.
Saving the Day
K-State relievers have picked up 14 saves so far this season out of 26 total wins and are 14-of-15 in those save opportunities. Daniel Edwards, who is a Stopper of the Year candidate, leads the team and the Big 12 Conference with 10 total this season. His 13 career saves are also the second-most in school history and he needs five 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 is on track to make a run at a third. So far through 41 games, the Wildcats are fielding at a .974 clip, which ranks third in the Big 12 Conference. In Big 12-only games, Kansas State is second in the league with a .977 fielding percentage. The Wildcats are 19-9 this season when committing one or no errors in a game and have committed one or no errors in 24 of their last 32 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. Edwards has been brilliant so far with 10 saves in 11 chances and also has picked up two wins. In 17 appearances this season, Edwards is 2-0 with a 0.72 ERA with 10 saves. The junior has struck out 40 batters in 25.0 innings while opponents are hitting just .115 against him. Dating back to last season, Edwards has recorded a save or a win in 13 of his last 17 appearances and has yielded two runs in his last 28.0 innings.
Daniel Climbing the Save Charts
Daniel Edwards’ 10 saves this season are the second-most in single-season school history and he needs just one more to move into a tie for first. For his career, Edwards now has 13 saves, which are the second-most in school history and he needs five more to tie the school record of 18, set by David Johnson. Edwards also ranks second in school history in career relief appearances with 52.
The Big Bopper
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 (1st), batting (5th) and walks (3rd). The Tomball, Texas, native leads the Wildcats in 14 different offensive categories and has had multiple hits in 16 games, while recording three or more hits on seven different occasions and reaching base safely in 36 of 39 games played. Wiley also has hit safely in 22 of his last 28 games.
Wiley Providing a Power Surge
Wiley gave the K-State offense some needed power this past weekend against Oklahoma, collecting five extra-base hits in three games, including two homers. In fact, Wiley has reached bases by way of an extra-base hit eight times in his last 17 games to raise his current slugging percentage to .543.
Senior Eddie Vasquez has been one of the more consistent hitters for the Wildcats during Big 12 Conference play. Besides hitting safely in four of his last five games, Vasquez is also hitting .346 over his last 16 games and is currently ranked seventh in the Big 12 with his .357 batting average during conference play.
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 18 games, Vaughn is 21-for-60 (.350) with two homers, five doubles and 15 RBI and has hit safely in 13 of his last 18 games.
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 .277. In his last seven games, Muenster is hitting .464 (13-for-28) with six runs scored and two RBI. Muenster has recorded multiple hits in three of his last six games, including a career-best four-hit game at Oklahoma State on April 15.
Sophomore Trevor Hurley enters this weekend’s action with a 1-1 overall record with a 3.07 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 10 of 12 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 also has inherited nine runners with just two of them scoring and has retired 10 of the 11 first-batters he has faced in relief. Hurley earned his first career start last Wednesday against Central Christian and yielded just one hit with three K’s in 2.0 innings.
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 31, and defensively, Rumler ranks seventh in career assists with 384 and needs 16 more to move into sixth. Rumler also has 14 career sacrifice bunts, which ties for fifth in school history. Rumler also has seen his batting average rise 25 points from last season as the senior hit .258 last season and heads into this week’s action with a .275 mark through 41 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 180 points to his current .291 mark. Over his last 29 games, Tenbrink leads the team with a .359 batting average, has collected 13 extra-base hits and has driven in 22 runs, 12 of which have come with two outs.
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 7-2 this season, ranks eighth in the league in ERA at 2.94 and has gone six-plus innings in eight of 10 starts. Dating back to last season, Hutt has won nine of his last 13 starts and has gotten to the sixth inning in all nine 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 4.08 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 .300 on the season and has hit safely in six of his last eight 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 113-90-2 at Kansas State and is 531-181-2 overall as a head coach in 12-plus seasons. Hill needs just 17 more wins to pass Bob Brasher as the fourth-winningest coach in KSU history. In fact, Hill currently needs just 26 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 32nd-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. 31 this week in the RPI ratings, which is fourth among Big 12 teams behind Texas A&M (6), Texas (7) and Oklahoma (19). This week’s opponent, Nebraska, checks in at No. 30 in the ratings.
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.