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Baseball Battles Kansas in Key Big 12 Series


GO WILDCATS
GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS

Games 47-49

Kansas State (29-17, 7-11) vs. Kansas (22-26, 8-13)

May 4 6:30 p.m. Tointon Stadium Manhattan
May 5 3 p.m. (FSN) Hoglund Ballpark Lawrence
May 6 1 p.m. Hoglund Ballpark Lawrence

Television:
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net across the Big 12 region with Kevin Eschenfelder and Jack Lazorko calling the action.

Radio:
Friday’s game will be a K-State Sports Network broadcast with Wyatt Thompson, Brian Smoller and Matt Walters calling the action. The final two games will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN in Manhattan and online at k-statesports.com. Brian Smoller and Matt Walters will call the action.

Internet:
Live stats of all three games will be available at k-statesports.com.

Series:
Kansas leads the all-time series, 157-152-1, while the Cats are 87-75-1 at home against the Jayhawks. In Big 12 play, K-State is 20-12 against the Jayhawks.

Watch For: Daniel Edwards
Daniel Edwards has been named a candidate for both the Stopper of the Year and Dick Howser Trophy awards this season.

Kansas State, coming off two midweek wins over Chicago State, gets back into Big 12 Conference play this weekend as it faces the Kansas Jayhawks in a crucial three-game series that will have postseason implications. K-State enters the week with a 29-17 overall record and a 7-11 mark in Big 12 play. The Wildcats are currently in seventh place in the Big 12 standings with three series left, two of which come against Kansas and Baylor, who are both tied for eighth place at 8-13. Oklahoma is a step ahead of the Cats in sixth at 8-10, while Texas Tech is currently in 10th place at 7-13. Baylor and Texas Tech both do not play Big 12 Conference series this weekend. Saturday’s 3 p.m. game will be televised across the Big 12 region on Fox Sports Net. Last weekend in conference play, the Wildcats rallied late on Sunday to knock off the Huskers in Lincoln for the first time since the 1997 season and did so by scoring the tying run in the eighth and adding seven more in the 10th inning to take an 8-2 extra-inning win. Nate Tenbrink’s solo homer to lead off the 10th inning jump-started the seven-run frame and Daniel Edwards pitched the final 3.1 innings to earn his third win of the season. The Wildcat pitching staff has had a solid last six games as it is 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA in 49.0 innings of work during that span. Nine different pitchers have ERA’s of 1.69 or lower over the last six games while the Wildcat offense is hitting .305 as a team with seven players at .333 or higher. Byron Wiley continues to lead the Cat bats as the sophomore is hitting .377 with five homers and 33 RBI in 43 games played.

Noteworthy
Under Brad Hill, Kansas State is 67-32 when its starting pitcher goes six-plus innings.
The Wildcats also are 88-12 under Hill when out-hitting their opponent.
The Cats are also 77-22-1 under Hill when recording 10 or more hits.
Over the last three-plus seasons, K-State is 96-5 when leading after seven innings and 77-25-2 when scoring first.
K-State currently hitting .292 as a team in Big 12 play, which ranks fifth in the league.
K-State pitchers are 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA in their last six games.
K-State is 17-4 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, 75-26, in the eighth, ninth and extra innings this season.
K-State is 24-4 this season when out-hitting its opponent.
The Cats are 20-0 when leading after six innings, 19-0 when leading after seven and 24-1 after eight.
K-State is 28-13 when scoring three or more runs this season.
K-State is hitting .320 as a team in its last 10 games.
K-State has nine players who are hitting .300 or better in the last 10 games.
Adam Muenster is 17-for-38 (.447) with nine runs scored in his last 10 games.
Tyler Ruch has hit safely in nine of his last 13 games and in eight of his last 11.
Byron Wiley has hit safely in 32 of 43 games played this season and in 16 of his last 21 games.
Wiley is also hitting .387 with a .645 slugging and nine extra-base hits in his last 17 games.
Closer Daniel Edwards has 13 career saves, which are the second-most in school history
Edwards has yielded just three runs in his last 31.1 innings of work and has 43 K’s in that span.
Edwards has recorded a win or a save in 14 of his last 18 appearances.

Scouting Kansas
Kansas enters the weekend with a 22-26 overall record and an 8-13 mark in Big 12 play. KU is hitting .275 as a team and is led by John Allman’s .335 mark with three homers and 33 RBI. On the mound, Kansas has accumulated a 4.65 team ERA and Nick Czyz leads the way with a 4.21 ERA and Andy Marks leads the team in strikeouts with 74. The Jayhawks took two of three from No. 27 Oklahoma last weekend with a 9-4 triumph in Norman on Sunday. KU hit three home runs and turned four double plays. Senior Kyle Murphy led the offense, going 2-for-5 with four RBIs, while John Allman, Erik Morrison and Casey Larson all had two hits.

The Series
Kansas leads the all-time series, 157-152-1, while the Cats are 87-75-1 at home against the Jayhawks. In Big 12 play, K-State is 20-12 against the Jayhawks. After winning four straight in the series in 2002 and 2003, Kansas State has gone 3-8 in the last 11 meetings but did pick up a non-conference win on April 3 in Manhattan, 10-6

Postseason Watch
Kansas State heads into the Kansas series in seventh place in the conference standings with three series left to play. The Cats are within striking distance and control their own destiny in their quest towards advancing to the Big 12 Tournament and even NCAA regional play. K-State checked in at No. 25 in the latest NCAA Men’s Baseball RPI ratings (5/1), while the latest Boyd’s World RPI ratings have the Cats at No. 35 after the two wins against Chicago State on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A Call to the Pen
With 10 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 14-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 176.2 innings of work, a number that is slightly skewed after the series at No. 9 Texas and at home against Oklahoma. In those 176.2 innings, pitchers have given up 175 hits and 76 earned runs while striking out 149 batters. Opponents are hitting just .260 against all Wildcat relievers this season. If you take out six games against the Longhorns and Sooners, the Wildcat bullpen is 13-4 with a 3.05 ERA and a .236 opponent batting average in 144.2 innings.

Saving The Day
K-State relievers have picked up 14 saves so far this season out of 29 total wins and are 14-of-15 in those save opportunities. Daniel Edwards, who is a Stopper of the Year and Dick Howser Trophy candidate, leads the team and is second in 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 46 games, the Wildcats are fielding at a .973 clip, which ranks third in the Big 12 Conference. In Big 12-only games, Kansas State leads the league with a .978 fielding percentage. The Wildcats are 21-12 this season when committing one or no errors in a game and have committed one or no errors in 27 of their last 35 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 and the Dick Howser Trophy. Edwards has been brilliant so far with 10 saves in 11 chances and also has picked up three wins. In 18 appearances this season, Edwards is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA with 10 saves. The junior has struck out 41 batters in 28.1 innings while opponents are hitting just .131 against him. Dating back to last season, Edwards has recorded a save or a win in 14 of his last 18 appearances and has yielded three runs in his last 31.1 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 (6th) and walks (3rd). The Tomball, Texas, native leads the Wildcats in 14 different offensive categories and has had multiple hits in 17 games, while recording three or more hits on seven different occasions and reaching base safely in 40 of 43 games played. Wiley also has hit safely in 25 of his last 32 games.

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 22 games, Vaughn is 26-for-74 (.351) with two homers, seven doubles and 18 RBI and has hit safely in 16 of his last 22 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 .288. In his last 10 games, Muenster is hitting .447 (17-for-38) with nine runs scored and five RBI. Muenster has recorded multiple hits in four of his last nine games, including career-best four-hit games at Oklahoma State on April 15 and against Chicago State on May 2.

Trevor Deals
Sophomore Trevor Hurley enters this weekend’s action with a 1-2 overall record with a 3.44 ERA and two saves on the season and has been a steady arm out of the pen and as a starter lately. So far this season, Hurley has recorded multiple strikeouts in 11 of 13 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 against Central Christian and yielded just one hit with three K’s in 2.0 innings, while notching his first career Big 12 start at Nebraska on April 28 when he went 4.2 solid innings.

Eli’s Coming
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 33, and defensively, Rumler ranks seventh in career assists with 395 and needs five 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 35 points from last season as the senior hit .258 last season and heads into this week’s action with a .299 mark through 46 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 .299 mark. Over his last 34 games, Tenbrink leads the team with a .358 batting average, has collected 16 extra-base hits and has driven in 26 runs, 14 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 7-3 this season, ranks 10th in the league in ERA at 3.23 and has gone six-plus innings in eight of 11 starts. Dating back to last season, Hutt has won nine of his last 14 starts and has gotten to the sixth inning in all nine of the  wins.

Two-Way Tyler
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 .299 on the season and has hit safely in nine of his last 13 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 116-92-2 at Kansas State and is 534-183-2 overall as a head coach in 12-plus seasons. Hill needs just 14 more wins to pass Bob Brasher as the fourth-winningest coach in KSU history. In fact, Hill currently needs just 23 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. 35 this week in the RPI ratings, which is sixth among Big 12 teams behind Texas (3), Texas A&M (5), Nebraska (18), Missouri (24) and Oklahoma (27).

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.