After opening the season 4-0 for the first time in over a decade, the BatCats proceeded to drop their next four, albeit against much stiffer competition. Though if you were looking for signs the Cats might be competitive in the Big 12 this season, this was not a great weekend.
A little less than a week ago, the Cats fell 3-4 at Lamar — a team that had just beaten then-#5 Texas A&M 7-4 in College Station the day before and are now 8-0 on the season. The Cats dug an early 0-2 then 1-4 hole through just three innings, but held the Cardinals in check enough to nearly claw all the way back.
Then in this weekend’s action at the Round Rock Classic, the Cats opened strong on Friday against #1 LSU before ultimately succumbing to to the Tigers 3-7. K-State struck first and took a 1-0 lead in the opening frame, before the Tigers could tie things up in the bottom of the second. And it was knotted at 1-1 until the 6th, when miscues from previously solid Ty Ruhl led to two runs. The Cats pulled back within one in the top of the 7th, but four runs on four hits by LSU in the bottom of the 7th all-but closed the door on K-State down the stretch.
Saturday wasn’t any better for the Cats against the Bearkats of Sam Houston, as the BatCats fell behind 0-4 through the first four innings. A 7th & 8th innings rally by K-State closed the gap to 3-4, but a 4-run 9th from the Bearkats was too much for K-State to overcome and Sam Houston prevailed 8-3. Again, this is a tough loss to swallow, but Sam Houston was picked to finish 2nd in the solid WAC and features a Preseason All-American.
Sunday, it looked like the Cats might be able to steal one from Iowa, who knocked off LSU on Saturday. The Cats again dug an early hole, falling behind 0-4 before a run in the bottom of the 3rd opened the scoring for K-State. Then the bats finally came alive in the 4th, as the BatCats put up 3 runs to tie the game at 4-4. K-State took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the 6th, but the Hawkeyes answered in the 7th to tie things up, then retook the lead in the top of the 9th. K-State sent just three batters to the plate in the bottom of the 9th, sealing their fate. The 5-6 loss was the closest of the weekend, and at the hands of a team picked 3rd in the Big 10 and with a trio of preseason All-Americans.
The Cats showed fight on the weekend, but issues with pitching and fielding continue to cause major problems for K-State against teams capable of capitalizing on those mistakes. And if continued, will lead to far too many losses in Big 12 play.
The BatCats are on the road one more time before their home-opener this weekend, and will be up in Omaha today to face the Mavericks at the 3-year-old Tal Anderson Field in downtown Omaha. The Mavericks are just 1-6 on the season after a southern California trip netted them three losses to UCLA, and three more to Fresno State before finally earning a 1-0 win over the Bulldogs on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 5pm CT, and a free live stream will be provided by the Omaha Athletic Communications department or you can listen to the K-State broadcast at kstatesports.com.
It was a 2-0 week for the Kansas State men’s basketball team, thanks in large part to the dynamic duo of Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson. And for the second time this season the duo swept the weekly Big 12 awards, with Nowell picking up his league-leading third Big 12 Player of the Week selection and Johnson picking up his league-leading fifth Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honor.
Nowell’s week included the 14-point, 10-assist double-double agianst Baylor on Tuesday — where he turned over the ball exactly zero times — followed by an impressive 22-point, 8-assist effort on the road in Stillwater on Saturday. One bad thing did happen to Nowell this weekend, as his free throw streak ended at 32 made to keep him from catching one more of Steve Henson’s school records.
The Cats return to action for one final time in Bramlage this season, with Senior Night slated for a 7pm CT tip on Wednesday, March 1st. Nowell will be one of several seniors honored, including walk-on Nate Awbrey, who spent just one season with his hometown team, but was called an “answered prayer” by Jerome Tang. (I know Nate personally, and he’s a great kid. I’m so proud that he earned this opportunity to rep my Alma Mater!)
The TangCats weren’t the only ones the receives honors, and despite a 1-1 week, Serena Sundell earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors for her week that saw her post two 20-point games while leading the MittieCats to a 63-45 win over KU in Bramlage, and a furious comeback against West Virginia on the road that ultimately came up short in a 67-58 loss. This is just the second time this season that a Wildcat has won the conference’s weekly top-player honor, as Gabby Gregory received the nod on Nov 14th, the week after the Cats knocked off #5 Iowa in Bramlage.
Next up for the MittieCats is trip to Norman to face 13/11 Oklahoma at 6pm on Wednesday. Hopefully they can start an OU sweep on Wednesday, but it’s likely that the hot-shooting Sooners will run away with the one in Norman, especially considering they won 85-68 in Bramlage earlier this season.
- Thursday - Felix Anudike-Uzomah
- Friday - Julius Brents
- Saturday - Malik Knowles
- Sunday - Deuce Vaughn
You should be able to catch most of the action on NFL Network, but NFL+ should have the full live stream of the on-filed positional drills as well.
NIL is still a murky world, but it has benefited K-State and the athletes in the programs. Notably, sophomore wide receiver Xavier Lloyd was strongly considering transferring from K-State because the walk-on couldn’t afford tuition. But the Wildcat NIL collective stepped in and awarded Lloyd, along with teammates Jack Blumer and Ty Bowman, an NIL scholarship deal that paid for their tuition.