It was not a good week for the BatCats. After having their Tuesday game rained out, the Cats fell 4-3 to Air Force on Wednesday to break their winning streak. Then things got worse for Kansas State.
The Cats headed to Fort Worth to open Big 12 play (on the road for the 6th-straight season...), and struggled across the board while getting swept by the #19 Horned Frogs, a team the Cats managed to go 3-3 against last season.
On Friday, the Wildcats battled back from an early 3-0 hole with 2-runs in the 3rd, and then rallied again in the 9th to close the game to 7-5, but it just wasn't enough against the home team. Then on Saturday, the Cats actually took an early 2-0 lead, and were up 5-2 through four innings. But a 3-run 5th, followed by a 8-run 6th propelled the Horned Frogs to a dominating 14-5 victory. On Sunday, the Cats again surrendered an early 3-0 lead, by rallied back to tie things up 3-3 in the 6th, before K-State’s bullpen fell apart and surrendered consecutive innings of 3, 1, and 4 runs to help TCU complete the sweep with an 11-3 victory.
K-State’s bullpen issued a combined 22 walks over the weekend and hit two batters, while issuing just 12 strikeouts over the weekend. The offense wasn’t much better, and the Cats stranded 27 base-runners over the three-game stretch, despite putting up 37 hits on the weekend.
The losses drop K-State back to .500 overall at 11-11, and start the Cats again in a 0-3 hole to start Big 12 play.
Next up for the Cats is a mid-week home series against Northern Colorado, scheduled for today and tomorrow. The Bears are just 6-19 this season, and hopefully the Cats can pick up a couple of wins before #6 Oklahoma State comes to Manhattan this weekend. Both games against UNC are at 6pm CDT and can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ if you can’t make it out to Tointon Family Stadium for the game. Today’s game should be nice, though windy, but it could be cold and rainy tomorrow.
Former K-State great Dick Knostman passed away a couple weeks ago (March 16) at the age of 90 in Wickenburg, Arizona. Knostman was a two-time All-American for K-State under Jack Gardner, and during his three seasons from 1950-53, he helped lead the Wildcats to three consecutive Top 10 finishes, and was a part of the 1951 team that won the Big Seven and lost to Kentucky in K-State’s only appearance in a national title game. Knostman, a Wamego, KS native, is a member of the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame (2003) as well as the State of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (2008), and his number 33 jersey hangs in the rafters of Bramlage Coliseum.
The Wildcats new head man is “the ultimate self-made man”, and credits having to work hard for everything to his coaching successes. Tang’s journey really is an incredible story.
But Tang will have to do his “elevation” of K-State without one player from last year’s team, as sophomore guard Selton Miguel has elected to transfer from K-State. Miguel averaged 7.2 points and four rebounds this past season, but missed several games after sustaining an ankle injury and never developed as a shooter after a promising freshman campaign. With signed recruit Taj Manning still expected to come to K-State, Coach Tang now has two scholarship spots open to fill this offseason.
The Wildcats re-found their winning stroke this weekend, sweeping through their non-con pair of Tulsa an Wichita State. On Saturday, the Cats came back from dropping the doubles point to pick up four of the five singles points to take down the No. 41 Golden Hurricane 4-2 on Saturday in Manhattan. Then on Sunday, led by senior Maria Linares’ dominant sweep (going 6-0, 6-0), the Cats beat the Shockers 6-1 on Sunday for a nice win over a fellow in-state squad. With the wins, the Cats get back to .500 overall at 8-8 (0-4 Big 12) on the season.
The Cats remain at home again this weekend, their last in Manhattan this season, taking on Iowa State on Friday and West Virginia on Sunday. Sunday’s matchup against the Mountaineers will also be Senior Day for the Cats.
The Wildcats had a very solid start to the outdoor season this past weekend, recording multiple winners as well as a record-setter at the Texas Relays, the Bobcat Invitational, and the ESU Relays. Day on we reported on Friday, with day two of the Texas Relays featuring the men’s distance medley relay team taking first with a time of 9:42.04, edging second-place Princeton by fourth-tenths. Day three of competition saw several high podium finishes, highlighted by K-State’s Grace Thompson and Jaycee Schroeder going 1-2 in the women’s shot put at the ESU Relays.
Next up, the Wildcats reconvene to head to Tuscon, Arizona for the Jim Click Shootout, starting Thursday and running through Saturday.