There’s no place like home for the BatCats (11-5), who have now run off 7-straight wins thanks to a sweep of Youngstown State in Manhattan over the weekend. And it was indeed all about the bats this weekend as the Cats won two of the three driving in well-over double-digit runs, and nearly hit double-digits in the third.
On Friday at Tointon Family Stadium, the Cats opened up an 8-2 lead before absolutely exploding for 11 runs in the bottom of the 7th, and opened the series with the Penguins with a 20-4 victory. In that 11-run 7th, Raphael Pelletier recorded two RBI (two different plate appearances in the same inning), and not one run came via a ball hit over the fence. It’s the second 20+ run game for the BatCats this season after putting up 25 against Stonehill last weekend.
Saturday’s game was the “pedestrian: game of the weekend, as the Cats opened with a 2-0 lead before falling behind briefly 2-4 in the top of the 4th. But a 3-run bottom of the 4th, and a 3-run 5th solidified things for the Cats on their way to a 9-6 victory to clinch the series. The Cats had just 7 hits on those 9 runs, but took 11 bases on balls to just 7 strikeouts to help drive the scoring output.
Sunday’s game got moved up to a morning start time, but that didn’t seem to faze the Cats, who scored one run in the 1st before exploding for 10-runs in the 3rd en-route to a 16-2 run-rule victory to complete the series sweep and retain their perfect record at home. It’s the 6th game this season that the Cats have scored 14 or more runs in a game. As was the theme with the weekend, the Cats did it with “small-ball”, getting on base via singles and doubles and walks. In fact, the Cats hit just four homeruns on the whole weekend, two of those from Brendan Jones as the sophomore outfielder grabbed the first two homers of his career.
Next up for the Cats is a trip back up north to Omaha, this time to face the Bluejays of Creighton this evening. It’s a one-game foray to Charles Schwab Field, home of the Bluejays and the College World Series, where K-State will look to end their road losing streak and maintain momentum from the homestand before heading south the Waco this weekend to open Big 12 play. First pitch is scheduled for 6pm CDT, and can be seen on FloSports, or heard online at K-StateSports.com or over the air on KMAN (1350AM/93.3/93.7FM) in Manhattan.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the Cats lost to TCU to make an early exit from the Big 12 Championships, you know that Kansas State (23-9, 11-7 Big 12) earned a 3-seed in East Regional of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, it’s second-highest seed since seeding of the tournament began in 1978, and open the tournament against 14-seed Montana State (25-9, 15-3 Big Sky) on Friday in Greensboro, NC at approx 8:40pm on CBS proper. The winner will advance to play the winner of the No. 6 seed Kentucky (21-11, 12-6 SEC) and No. 11 seed Providence (21-11, 13-7 Big East) on Sunday, March 19.
On top of multiple nods as semifinalists for various awards, seniors Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell were selected as Third Team All-Americans by the Associated Press, becoming the first duo in school history to earn the honor. They also become the 8th and 9th players in school history to earn a spot on the AP All-American teams, joining K-State greats Bob Boozer (1958, 1959), Dick Knostman (1952, 1953), Mike Evans (1978), Rolando Blackman (1980), Mitch Richmond (1988), Michael Beasley (2008), and Jacob Pullen (2011). Five of those guys have their “jerseys” hanging in Bramlage, and at least one more is guaranteed to see his there as well. That’s some elite company.
Both also earned All-District 8 First Team honors by the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) and All-District VI team honors by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). The pair were joined on both lists by NABC District 8 and USBWA District VI Coach of the Year Jerome Tang.
The MittieCats (17-16) aren’t quite done either, and after winning the opening-round game in KC, they secured their spot in the WNIT. They host Wichita State (18-14) this Thursday, March 16th, in Bramlage, with a 6pm game being streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. The winner of this game gets the winner of Wyoming/Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and with that game oddly on Friday, the winner tomorrow’s game will get an extra day of rest before the next game.
Other teams/games of note in the WNIT include KU vs Western Kentucky and Missouri vs Illinois State. Why is that notable? Well the winners of those two teams will face off, meaning we could get KU vs MU in post season action. Also, K-State & KU are joined by Texas Tech (and future Big 12 member BYU) in the WNIT this year, meaning 9 of the 10 current Big 12 teams are still playing this season. #ItJustMeansMore, or something like that.
The K-State men’s golf team was sitting 10-strokes off the lead after the opening round of competition on Monday at The Johnnie-O, but crushed the second and third rounds on Tuesday to finish 1-under for the event to claim the tournament title. The Wildcats opened with an 8-over 288, but then shot a 7-under 273 in the second round, followed by a 2-under 278, the lone squad to go under par in the final round, go 1-under 839 for the event. The Cats were lead by a wire-to-wire individual championship performance by senior Tim Tillmans, who carded an impressive 12-under 198 for the event to win the individual championship by five strokes, beating several individually ranked golfers, including teammate Will Hopkins, in the process. And it wasn’t just a fluke win either, the 25th-ranked Cats bested five other ranked squads, including Ohio State and Notre Dame (as well as KU).
Next up is a trip south next week, as the Cats head to Humble, TX (Houston area) for the All-American Intercollegiate on Tuesday and Wednesday.