It’s been a fun couple weeks for the Wildcat baseball team. Headed into the first part of the split series with Nebraska-Omaha back on April 10th, the Wildcats were 13-20 and coming off and embarrassing week’s worth of action that saw two shutouts and two ridiculous blowouts. But on the April 10th, the Wildcats beat the Summit League-dominating Mavericks 7-2. Then followed it up with consecutive series victories over Top 20 opponents (for the first time in school history) Texas and TCU, and the series with Texas was in Austin. Since the Mavericks came to Manhattan, the Wildcats had dropped just two games in eight contests.
But the Wildcats weren’t about to let that go last night. The BatCats came out roaring, picking up 5 runs in the first inning, and eight total in the first three before cruising to a 9-2 victory at Werner Park in Papillion, NE over the home-team Mavericks to sweep the series with Omaha. Caleb Littlejim picked up his third win in as many starts (all mid-week games against teams from the Cornhusker State), and also recorded a 2-RBI single in the first inning. With the victory, the Cats improved to 20-22 overall and will put their 7th-place ranking on the line against 5th-place OU this weekend at Tointon Family Stadium.
Before yesterday’s game, a K-State pitcher was selected as Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for the second-straight week, this time it was freshman Griffin Hassall who earned the honor after a career-high 7-2/3 innings of work in last Friday night’s win over TCU. Hassall has earned wins in each of his last two starts, the first two wins of his young career, and both have come over ranked opponents.
First up, on the local front, Chris Klieman joined the Big 12 football coaches’ teleconference on Tuesday, and spoke on the state of his program following spring football practice, with Kellis Robinett reporting on Kliemans “wide-ranging thoughts”.
It’s NFL draft week, so we’ve got features on the two Wildcats most likely to hear their name called later this week. Kellis Robinett reports that longtime ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper is high on Dalton Risner, but sees him going in the second round. He’s also been impressed with Alex Barnes, and thinks it’s possible that a third Wildcat gets selected (that player was unnamed, but would most likely be either defensive back Duke Shelley or Eli Walker). Barnes was the focus of yesterday’s Sports Extra, and the Pittsburg, KS product is ready to prove himself again.
The Big 12 Men’s Golf Championship tees-off this weekend, and today’s Sports Extra is a feature on the Wildcat unit that has been surprising many, but not themselves, with strong play, including the program’s first team victory since 2012 and five straight top-four finishes.
Three RacketCats earned Academic All-Big 12 honors, as announced by the Big 12 Conference on Tuesday. Maria Linares, Ines Mesquita, and Anna Turco all earned First Team nods for their strong performance in the classroom. This is the second career academic honor for Mesquita, while Linares and Turco picked up their first academic nods.