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Cats Face Road Test at No. 8 Oklahoma


GO WILDCATS
GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS

Kansas State (25-16-1, 4-13-1)
at #8 Oklahoma (35-12, 13-5)

Friday May 5 7 p.m.
Saturday May 6 3 p.m.
Sunday May 7 1 p.m.
L. Dale Mitchell Park

Short Hops

RADIO: 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.

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

SERIES: Kansas State 62-169-1 all-time against Oklahoma and are 20-89-1 all-time in Norman. The Sooners have won 11 of the past 13 meetings with the last K-State series win coming in 2001 in Manhattan. K-State is 5-22 against the Sooners in Big 12 play.

RANKINGS: Oklahoma is ranked eighth in this week’s USA Today Coaches’ Poll, ninth in the Baseball America Poll and 11th in Collegiate Baseball. Kansas State is not ranked.

COACH BRAD HILL: K-State’s Brad Hill is 81-71-1 in his third season in Manhattan. In 11-plus years, Hill has a career head coaching record of 499-162-1 record, which includes nine seasons at Central Missouri State and two-plus at Kansas State.

Noteworthy

Joe Roundy has hit safely in 34 of 41 games this season, has 21 multi-hit and has 13 multi-RBI games this season... Barrett Rice has hit safely in 31 of his last 36 games, which includes 20 multi-hit and seven multi-RBI games in that span... Brandon Farr has hit safely in 21 of his last 24 games... K-State has had four players with 10-game hitting streaks this season, inlcuding Farr’s Big 12 season-best 18-game streak...  The Wildcat pitching staff is fifth in the league with 7.02 K/9 innings and have the fewest BB/9 at 2.40... So far this season, K-State is 68-of-76 in stolen bases with 12 different players recording bags... Under Brad Hill, K-State is 70-4 when leading after seven innings, 50-29 when its starting pitcher goes six-plus innings, 59-18-1 when hammering out 10 or more hits and 64-8 when out-hitting its opponent... This season, the Wildcats are 14-4 in 5-plus run games, 23-1 when leading after seven innings, 4-0 when hitting two or more homers and 13-4 when committing no errors defensively... Also, K-State has outscored its opponent, 294-198, including 112-74 in the first three innings... Kansas State’s .314 team batting average is fourth in the Big 12, while its 3.91 team ERA is fifth... K-State’s .972 fielding percentage ranks fourth in the league.

About the Opponent
Oklahoma has been one of the hottest teams in not only the Big 12 Conference but also in the country over the past several weeks. The Sooners head into the series with a 35-12 overall mark and a 13-5 record in league play. Oklahoma is hitting .327 as a team and has eight regular players hitting .300 or better on the season, led by Chuckie Caufield’s .383 mark. On the mound, Steven Guerra is 9-1 with a 3.09 ERA, while Daniel McCutchen is 6-5 and leads the team in strikeouts with 87 in 94.2 innings.

Last Time Out
Freshmen Jordan Cruz and Rob Vaughn each drove in four runs and Eddie Vasquez had four hits as Kansas State got back on the winning track in a big way with a 14-1 win over Kansas Wesleyan Tuesday at Tointon Stadium. K-State started five freshmen Tuesday night against the Coyotes while Derek Bunker got his first career start in left field and freshman Jordan Cruz getting his first start in right. Vasquez led the 18-hit attack with a career-high four hits, while freshmen Drew Biery and Nate Tenbrink also had three hits.

Hill One Shy Of 500 Wins
K-State head coach Brad Hill is 81-71-1 in his third season with the Wildcats. Overall, Hill has a career head coaching record of 499-161-1 in 11-plus seasons, which includes his first two-plus seasons in Manhattan and nine years at Central Missouri. He needs just one more win to reach 500 victories in his career. And, when that happens, Hill will have averaged over 40 wins a season in each of his 12 years as a head coach.

Roundy Named to Howser Watch List
Joe Roundy is one of 64 players named to the 2006 Dick Howser Trophy Watch List, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association recently announced. Roundy has been among the Big 12’s offensive leaders this season and has hit safely in 34 of the Wildcats’ 41 games this season, which included a career-best and then-Big 12 season-long 16-game hitting streak. Roundy is currently among the Big 12’s leaders in eight offensive categories and heads into the week as the league’s No. 5 hitter with his .391 average. Roundy leads all Wildcats with 21 multi-hit games this season and also 14 multi-RBI games. The senior is ranked in the Top 10 in nine different offensive categories in the Big 12 Conference.

What Might Have Been
Kansas State is 7-11 in one-run games over the last two seasons and 2-10 in Big 12 contests that have been decided by one run. This season, K-State is 1-3 in one-run games in league play. Also, the Cats were involved in an 11-11 tie against Texas Tech this season, so if those one-run games were turned into wins, K-State would sit at 8-10 in league play heading into the final few weeks and right in the thick of the things in the middle of the pack.

In the Still of the Night
In 13 night games this season, K-State is 9-4 and his hitting .343 as a team with a 3.29 team ERA. Individually, Joe Roundy is 18-for-46 (.391) in night games with two homers and 15 RBI, while Brandon Farr is hitting .400 (18-for-45). Eleven different Cats are hitting .300 or better in night games with 16 different players recording hits.

TGIF
Kansas State is 8-2 so far this season on Friday’s, which also includes three big Friday night wins in Big 12 play. The Cats are hitting .352 as a team on Friday’s and have pounded out 10 hits and/or 10 runs in each of the seven wins on Friday’s this season. Individually, Jared Goedert is 15-for-36 (.417) on Friday’s with two homers. while Joe Roundy is hitting .368 with 20 runs driven in. Brandon Farr is hitting .419 (18-for-43) on Friday’s while Barrett Rice is hitting .359 (14-for-39). On the mound, Brad Hutt is 2-1 and has lasted at least 7.0 innings in wins over Missouri and No. 3 Nebraska, while Adam Cowart and Chase Mitchell are also 2-0.

At Home And On The Road
Kansas State is 19-9 this season at home, is hitting .321 as a team and has compiled a 3.62 ERA during that stretch. Individually, Joe Roundy is hitting .438 (42-for-96) at Tointon Stadium this season, while Barrett Rice (.429, 42-for-98) is not far behind. Nine players are hitting .300 or better at home this season. On the mound, K-State pitchers have struck out 217 batters to just 61 walks at home this season, led by Adam Cowart’s 42 strikeouts and just four walks. Opponents are hitting just .257 against the Wildcats at home this season. On the flip side, K-State is 4-5-1 on the road and is hitting .308 as a team. Brandon Farr (18-for-45) is hitting .400 while freshman Byron Wiley is 12-for-28 (.429) with two homers and eight RBI on the road to lead the Cats this season.

Defense Wins 
So far in 2006, Kansas State is third in the Big 12 and 30th nationally in team defense with a .972 fielding percentage and has committed 46 errors this season. Also, K-State is 14-2 this season when not committing a fielding error and is 21-7 when committing one or no errors. On the reverse side of things, seven of the Wildcats’ 16 losses have come when they have committed two or more errors, including two at Missouri.

Don’t Get Me Started
K-State’s starting pitchers are 21-12 with a 3.86 ERA so far this season, but more impressively, they have struck out 173 batters in 240.1 innings while walking just 48. Starters Adam Cowart and Chase Bayuk have each thrown shutouts in 11-0 and 9-0 wins over North Dakota State, while Cowart tossed a complete game in a loss to Oklahoma State. Opponents are hitting .285 against all six different pitchers who have started games for the Cats this season.

Relief on the Way
K-State’s bullpen has also been effective this season, especially as of late. Wildcat relievers are 4-4 on the season with a 4.00 ERA in 132.2 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting just .269 against the pen and relievers have struck out 118 batters to walking just 51 this season. Individually, freshmen Ben Hornbeck and Justin Murray have been solid additions in relief as Hornbeck has compiled a 1.80 ERA in 12 appearances. Murray has appeared in 14 games and leads all relievers with 30.1 innings pitched.

No Walk Zone
K-State’s starting pitchers are 21-12 this season and have all gone with the philosophy of filling up the strike zone, attacking hitters and letting their defense play behind them. Wildcat starters have walked just 48 batters in 240.1 innings this season, while the entire staff has walked just 99 in 373.0 innings. In 42 games this season, Wildcat pitchers have walked no one in 11 games, while allowing more than three walks in just three games.

Smooth Criminals
K-State has been very efficient on the bases so far in 2006 as the Wildcats are 68-of-76 in stolen bases through 42 games. Thirteen different Wildcats have stolen bags this season with Brandon Farr leading the way with 12 steals in 13 tries. Joe Roundy is close behind with nine in nine tries. On the reverse side, K-State opponents this season are 48-of-59 on the bases.

Big Ben
Freshman reliever Ben Hornbeck joins Murray as a big freshman out of the pen in 2006. Hornbeck, a Phoenix, Ariz., native and a 48th-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005, struck out five Jayhawks in 4.0 innings last weekend. On the season, Hornbeck has inherited 13 runners and allowed just six to score, while he has retired five of the nine first-batters he has faced. Ben has a 1.44 ERA on the season and a 1.80 ERA as a reliever. He also has struck out 31 batters in 25.1 innings.

Wiley’s Gone Wild
Freshman Byron Wiley has also been a newcomer that has given head coach Brad Hill and company good feelings about the future of the program. Wiley has hit .321 as a true freshman, including hitting safely in five of his last six games, and brings a strong combination of strenght, speed and power to the baseball field. His three homers and 21 RBI rank among the best on the squad and the rookie has also shown tremendous range and speed in center. Byron has also had a lot of success on the road this season as he has hit .429 on the road and has all three homers in games away from Tointon Stadium.

Justin the Nick of Time
Freshman pitcher Justin Murray has been a big plus for the Wildcats out of the bullpen this season. Murray, a Manhattan product, has thrown 9.0 soild innings of relief for the Wildcats in his last two weekend appearances, giving up just one run on six hits against Texas Tech and Kansas. Murray also has inherited 13 runners this season and allowed just four of them to score and has thrown over 2.0 innings in five of those appearances. Of his 14 appearances, Murray also has retired the first batter he has faced nine times.

Steaming Hot Rice
Senior Barrett Rice has gotten hot at the plate for Kansas State over the past month. In his last 37 games, Rice has hit .415 and has belted three homers and driven in 31 runs. On the season, Rice is hitting .397 entering this week’s games and also has had multiple hits in 19 of his last 36 games. Rice also is hitting .347 in his last 19 games.

Eli’s Coming
Junior shortstop Eli Rumler has flashed some leather and showed off a big-time arm at short over the past two years. Now, Eli has come around offensively as of late as Rumler is currently hitting .302 in league play, third-best on the squad. Also, Rumler has stepped it up in big games as he has hit .318 against Top 25 teams this season and has recorded hits in 16 of his last 25 games.

Farr From Average
Senior catcher Brandon Farr has picked things up offensively over the last few weeks as the Cats have begun Big 12 play. The Humble, Texas, native has hit safely in 21 of his last 24 games with a .395 average over that span to raise his season mark to .338. His 18-game hitting streak that was snapped against Kansas was the longest this season in the Big 12 Conference. It also is the fifth-longest in school history.

Down, Set, Hutt
Sophomore Brad Hutt has a calm demeanor about him when he is on the mound. So far this season, Hutt is 5-3 with a 4.31 ERA and has picked up big wins over #19 Wichita State, at Missouri and No. 3 Nebraska in his last three starts. Hutt settled in over the middle innings after being down 3-1 in the fifth inning at Missouri as the sophomore kept the Wildcats in the game by holding the Tigers scoreless in his last three innings of work. Hutt gave up just one earned run and struck out two with one walk in 7.2 innings. Against Wichita State, Hutt pitched 6.2 solid innings to earn his third straight win, scattering eight hits and giving up three earned runs. He also struck out five without yielding a walk. Hutt earned his fifth straight win of the season to move to 5-0 after tossing 7.0 innings against No. 3 Nebraska and scattering 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

Wildcats Ink 10 During Fall Signing Period
Kansas State head baseball coach Brad Hill announced the signing of 10 players to National Letters of Intent to play baseball for the Wildcats beginning in the spring of 2007. The class consists of eight high school players and two junior college players.

2006 Kansas State Baseball Fall Signees

Name  Po.  Ht.  Wt.  Hometown (Last School)
Justin Bloxom  C  6-2  180  Phoenix, Ariz. (Goldwater HS)
Brock Floro  RHP  6-0  160  Atwater, Calif. (Buhach Colony HS)
Jim Lewis  RHP  6-0  175  Shawnee, Kan. (Bishop Miege HS)
Paul McCoy  OF  5-11  165  Killeen, Texas (Killeen Ellison HS)
J.J. Muse  OF  6-1  185  Albuquerque, NM (LaCueva HS)
Nick Phillips  RHP  6-0  175  Bartlesville, Okla. (Bartlesville HS)
Austin Presley  RHP  6-0  200  Austin, Texas (Westlake HS/Hutchinson CC)
Tyler Ruch  LHP  5-9  155  Fountain Hills, Ariz. (Fountain Hills HS)
Ronnie Welty  OF/P  6-4  195  Gilbert, Ariz. (Mesquite HS)
Trevor Whipkey  RHP  6-2  170  Baxter Springs, Kan. (Coffeyville CC)