Sometimes, serendipity makes you look like a prophet. For instance, at the end of Thursday’s article on Mark Smith signing with Kansas State, our man Drew Schneider opined that Smith might not be an upgrade over Dajuan Gordon talent-wise, but he might well be a better fit.
We’re going to get the comparison directly now, as Gordon announced his new home yesterday: Missouri. That piece by Eric Blum at the Columbia Daily Tribune never mentions Smith, strangely enough; Gordon’s transfer means that we get the interesting opportunity to see what a straight-up trade of two players between two college programs looks like.
We’ll have more on this in the coming days with our friends over at Rock M Nation, as the Unholy Alliance suddenly sparks back into existence with a burning question: did K-State and Missouri just help one another?
The WBCA names 10 players to its Division I All-America team, and everyone else who got votes gets honorable mention. So honorable mention in the WBCA is a little more prestigious than the same honor would be from the AP or USBWA, although also somewhat more expansive.
Nevertheless, this morning sophomore Ayoka Lee was given honorable mention on the 2021 WBCA All-America team after her stellar season, becoming the first Wildcat to receive such recognition under Jeff Mittie.
In the series opener Thursday night, a 17-1 throttling at the hands of #3 Texas Tech which saw Jordan Wicks get beaten up so badly that his season ERA rose to 3.40, the only bright spot for the BatCats was Zack Kokoska’s conference-leading tenth homer. But there’s a reason you get to play a three-game series, right?
Last night, Cameron Uselton and Dylan Phillips homers accounted for three runs in the bottom of the first, while three more runs scored in the third via the singles train. That gave K-State a 6-0 lead, and Carson Seymour had his best outing of the season as he held the Red Raiders off the scoreboard until the fifth when he gave up two runs. He survived, but after loading the bases with two outs in the sixth finally surrendered to Tyler Eckberg, who struck out Dylan Neuse to escape the jam. Chris Ceballos homered in the bottom half, and then Eckberg hurled three more brilliant innings — striking out six while walking none and allowing only one hit — to record his fourth save of the campaign. The result: K-State (14-11, 1-4) claimed a 7-2 win over Texas Tech (20-5, 3-2). Seymour got the win and improved to 2-2, 4.29 on the season.
Today’s series finale is at 4:00 at Tointon, airing on ESPN+.
K-State’s crews are in Sarasota, Fla., for the Sunshine State Invitational. Yesterday, results were on the one hand a bit of a disappointment; the 1v4+ and 1v8+ crews each finished third, but within shouting distance of the winners. The 2v4+ and 2v8+ boats each finished fifth. Both Central Florida and Clemson outpaced the Cats in all four races, while Miami and Kansas also beat K-State in the 2v starts.
The story from the athletic department claims there’s more action today, but K-State doesn’t appear on any of today’s start lists at the official race site so that’s a bit confusing.
K-State (6-7, 1-3) hosts #44 Kansas (7-7, 1-2) today at 1:00 in the Sunflower Showdown, the first of five consecutive home matches to close out the 2021 regular season. That’s good for the Cats, who’ve played brilliantly at Body First while struggling on the road.
You know what? We love and support all our teams at K-State, and I would hate for anyone to think this section is a diss track on the teams. Our complaint here is not in any way their fault, and we’re not about to slander athletes who are cumulatively posting a GPA better than 3.6 overall.
But we cannot, in good conscience, “congratulate” our cross country teams for earning Academic All-America honors from the USTFCCA when 220 Division I men’s teams (319 sponsor the sport) and 255 Division I women’s teams (out of 349) received the honor. Guys, that’s two-thirds of the division. It’s a worthless distinction, little better than a participation trophy.
THAT SAID: The men’s team earned a 3.463 GPA, better than 157 other teams on the list, while women’s team posted the second-best team GPA in Division I at 3.846 — a fact which the K-State release utterly fails to even mention — and that absolutely is worthy of congratulation. Individually, Jaybe Shufelberger — K-State’s only NCAA qualifier this year — received individual recognition. She was one of 269 individual women to earn the honor, which really, really points out the absurdity of 255 women’s teams earning it.