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SLATE: BatCats survive the storm to snap losing skid

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Plus Tang announces first official addition to staff, and some more transfers

NCAA Baseball: Big 12 Conference Baseball Championship Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball

On a stormy night across the Great Plains, the Kansas State Wildcats managed to outlast both Mother Nature and Northern Colorado to pick up an 8-6 win to snap a four-game losing streak.

The game’s start was delayed nearly an hour due to lighting in the area, but that didn’t delay the K-State offense, who, once the game got going, put up six runs in the first three innings, highlighted by a 4-run 3rd that featured Dylan Phillips 36th-career homerun — that puts him just one behind the K-State career record mark of 37 set by Scott Poepard during his run from 1994-97. But then lighting struck again, literally, and the game was delayed an hour before the 4th inning could start. After the break, the Bears started the chip away at the K-State lead, picking up two runs in the 4th and 7th, and single runs in the 5th and 8th to put some pressure on the Cats. But Tyler Rhul was able to collect the save allowing just one hit and tossing four strikeouts in the final inning and two-thirds.

It wasn’t a very clean game for either team, with the Cats the beneficiaries of five UNC errors, five walks, and a wild pitch. And while the Wildcats weren’t credited with a fielding error (for what feels like the first time in forever), three untimely walks and a hit-by-pitch late made things messier than they needed to be. The K-State battery did toss a combined 17 strikeouts, but also gave up 13 hits on the evening.

Next up is the rubber match (assuming the weather holds out), with a 6pm CDT scheduled start that can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ (if you can’t make it out to Tointon Family Stadium for the game).

Basketball

In what is likely the beginning of a trend of news releases this week, Jerome Tang and the K-State basketball team announced the hiring of Jareem Dowling as assistant coach, the first hire to be made officially official. Dowling has been at North Texas with Grant McCasland the past five seasons, and has been coaching for 16 years overall, with 12 years of international head coaching experience including having served as the head coach for the U.S. Virgin Islands Junior National Team. His biggest claim to fame is his recruiting chops, and Dowling was credited with helping North Texas land three of the best players in recent school history, including the 2020 C-USA Player of the Year, and the 2022 Newcomer of the Year.

And he’ll need to get to work immediately on the recruiting front, as two more Wildcats, Luke Kasubke and Carlton Linguard, have elected to transfer from K-State. Their decision, coupled with the departure of Selton Miguel late last week, means the new Wildcats coaching staff now has four open spots to fill this offseason. Stay tuned, because it is possible that there may be a few more names into the portal before the dust settles on the new hires.

Mark Smith is getting a bit of a boost in his pro aspirations, as he has been invited as part of a group of 21 seniors to the 2022 NABC - Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game, which is set for 3:30pm CDT on Friday, April 1 at Caesars Superdome as part of the Final Four in New Orleans. Smith will play on the West squad, coached by new Missouri coach Dennis Gates. Smith becomes the first Wildcat since Barry Brown to be invited to the event. The game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network if you are interested.

Football

The media were invited to attend K-State’s early morning spring practice on Tuesday, the first “open” practice of the spring. Nebraska transfers QB Adrian Martinez participated in some drills, though did not throw while still recovering from shoulder surgery this offseason. And players recovering from surgery has been a big theme this offseason, and so of course the Cats were thin at spots during drills, enough so that some players are practicing out of position this spring to make sure there are enough bodies (like defensive tackle). Also of note, two big recruits were on campus for the practice, as the highly-sought Kansas duo of Avery Johnson (4* QB, Maize) and Dylan Edwards (3* RB, Derby) were both in attendance for the practice session.