Just days after a monster opening weekend that saw the Cats put up 41 runs in three games, the BatCats showed no signs of slowing down with 16-4 and 19-9 wins over Northwestern State on Tuesday and Wednesday to improve to 11-2 on the season.
Yes, that’s 35 runs in just two games, bringing the Wildcats five-game homestand total to an astonishing 76 runs, or a wild 15.2 runs per game. Those 35 runs came on 38 hits, as the Wildcats set and tied their season-high for hits, knocking 19 in both games against the Deamons.
And it’s come in all sorts of ways, but probably the biggest has been 15 home runs over the five home games, to bring the season total to 20. At this rate, the Cats will blow past their last-season mark of 30 before conference play even starts.
Lead-off man Cameron Thompson continues to pace the Cats at the plate, batting .500 and .667 in the two mid-week games, including his first-ever homerun on Wednesday as part of his 4-6 effort in the Cats 19-run outburst. The mid-week games have pushed his season average up to .433 through 13 games.
Clean-up man Jake Scudder, now hitting .365 on the season, improved his homerun total to five after big hits in each of the mid-week games, including a grand-slam, the first of the season for the Wildcats, in Wednesday’s game. His grand-slam knock also pushed him back into sole number one spot for homeruns among Wildcat batters, as Quintin Crandall did not join in Wednesday’s five-home run parade and still sits at four on the season.
And as an optional feature of college baseball, the run-rule was in effect for the Wednesday game, and so the Cats did not play a full eight innings of home offense as the game ended once the Cats pushed the lead to 10 in the bottom of the 8th.
As good as the bat-part of the BatCats has been, the pitching staff has been working through some growing pains at home. Aside from Parker Rigler’s no-hitter on Sunday, the Wildcat pitching staff has given up 34 runs during this five-game home stretch.
Starters Colton Kalmus and Caleb Littlejim, the latter finally pitching after serving his suspension following his ejection against South Carolina and not being needed in Sunday’s game, gave up four runs each in their starts and didn’t factor into either game’s decision. Reliever Kasey Ford had the worst outing though, and after a scoreless 4th inning on Wednesday, gave up five runs on five hits and only notching one out in the 5th.
K-State returns to action on Friday to start another home series, this time hosting the Highlanders of UC Riverside. This will be an important test for the Wildcat offense, as the Highlanders feature at least four pitchers that are Big 12 caliber and have not allowed double-digit runs all season. This weekend may also be a little extra rough for the visitors, as there is snow expected in Manhattan on Saturday.