Category Archives: baseball

K-State Q&A: Have the Wildcats locked up a spot in the NCAA Tournament? Plus, Iowa State, running back options and baseball

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another K-State Q&A.

Let’s go ahead and jump into your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.


Yeah, K-State will be a part of March Madness. Ending the regular season with three losses, falling to the No. 7 seed in the Big 12 Tournament and losing to TCU in Kansas City would leave the Wildcats sweating on Selection Sunday, but I think they will make it. The bubble is very soft this year. No team that goes .500 in the Big 12 is missing the NCAA Tournament. They face a wide scenario of seeds, though. If they win out and hoist a trophy in Kansas City they could be looking at a 5 seed. Four straight losses could put them in the First Four. More realistically, they will win two or three more games and claim a seed in the 7-10 range. Right now, most online projections have them as a No. 9 seed.
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Kansas State will start Jake Matthys in Game 3 of super regional

Kansas State’s Jake Matthys on Saturday after beating Oregon State in Game 1 of an NCAA super regional in Corvallis, Ore. (TRAVIS HEYING/THE WICHITA EAGLE)

Kansas State assistant director of athletic communications Ryan Lackey just came over to press row a few minutes ago to tell us that K-State coach Brad Hill has decided to start Big 12 freshman of the year and All-Big 12 relief pitcher Jake Matthys (9-1, 9 saves, 1.88 ERA) in the deciding Game 3 of the Wildcats’ NCAA super regional against Oregon State at Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Ore.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons — first, because I think it was widely assumed Hill would hand the ball to Gerardo Esquivel, who got the regional-clinching win over Arkansas in Manhattan. Second, because it will be Matthys’ first start of the season.

What this means, though, is that if the Wildcats can somehow get 4-5 innings out of Matthys — his longest outing of the seasons have been 4.1 innings against Oklahoma State on April 21 (win) and 4,0 innings against Oklahoma on May 25 (loss) — then hand the ball to Esquivel … and whoever else they might need, they’ve probably got a shot. Oregon State will start lefty Ben Wetzler (8-1, 1.98 ERA), an All-Pac 12 selection.

TA

Can Kansas State do the unthinkable?

Kansas State’s Ross Kivett scores the tying run in the ninth inning on Saturday night in Corvallis, Ore. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)

Picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 preseason poll — out of just 9 teams — the Kansas State baseball team is on the verge of doing the unthinkable here in Corvallis, Ore.

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Super Regional Gameday – Kansas State vs. Oregon State

Kansas State coach Brad Hill before practice on Friday in Corvallis, Ore. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)

 

Greetings from Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon, where Kansas State is about an hour away from taking on Oregon State in a best-of-3 NCAA super regional. It’s K-State’s first time in a super regional.

Yesterday was crazy busy for myself and Eagle photog Travis Heying as we hit Corvallis in the morning to talk with the Wildcats before they practiced at Goss, then booked it to Eugene for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field championships, where we saw K-State’s Erik Kynard fall short in his bid to become a three-time NCAA outdoor high jump champion. .

Here’s some links from Kansas.com and our friends to get you ready for today’s game:

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Why Jared King is Kansas State’s best pro prospect

L-R: Ross Kivett, Jared King and Jon Davis (Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle)

L-R: Ross Kivett, Jared King and Jon Davis (Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle)

With the Major League Baseball draft beginning tomorrow and Kansas State playing in its first super regional starting Saturday at Oregon State, I thought we could take a look at what makes Kansas State junior center fielder Jared King the Wildcats’ top pro prospect. I talked to a couple of guys who know a few things about college baseball — Baseball America national college baseball writer Aaron Fitt and Rob Buska, host of The Bush Leagues on NBC Sports Radio, about King’s future. Fitt has been with Baseball America for nine years. Buska was the play-by-play man for Cal State Fullerton from 2001 to 2004, including College World Series trips in ’03 and ’04 including  a national championship game in ’04. He also spent a couple of years in our fair state as the Sports Director for the Western Kansas Broadcast center in Garden City.

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Sunday at the Manhattan Regional

L-R: Ross Kivett, Jared King and Jon Davis on Saturday night after King’s amazing catch in the fifth inning (Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle)

Kansas State is one win away from advancing to a Super Regional for the first time in school history after defeating Bryant 7-1 last night in Manhattan. The Wildcats will play the Arkansas-Bryant winner (that game is going on right now) tonight at 7 p.m.

-Here’s my gamer from last night.

-Here’s notes from the Manhattan Regional from WSU beat writer Paul Suellentrop and myself. 

-Here’s a photo gallery from The Eagle’s Bo Rader out of last night’s K-State-Bryant game.

Kansas State freshman RHP Blake McFadden will get the start today – he’s 6-2 this season with a 4.04 ERA.  Kansas State has scored 27 runs in two games so offense hasn’t been a problem for the Cats so far — their pitching wasn’t great in the first game against Wichita State but was sharp last night against Bryant after starter Joe Flattery settled down. I think they need to get at least 5 good innings out of McFadden tonight and then their bullpen is more than capable of taking over. If they can get the ball in Jake Matthys’ hands for the last two innings with a lead that puts them in a pretty good spot.

Follow me on Twitter @t_adame for updates from tonight’s game.

TA

Yes, Kansas State scored a lot of runs

ROSS KIVETT (BO RADER/THE WICHITA EAGLE)

Kansas State put it on Wichita State in Friday’s NCAA Regional opener in Manhattan with a 20-11 victory, advancing the Wildcats to play the winner of Friday’s late game between Arkansas and Bryant.

Here’s some links for you from the game:

-Big 12 player of the year Ross Kivett sparked Kansas State’s offense with two home runs.

-Here’s Wichita State beat writer Paul Suellentrop’s game story.

-Replay of how the game went down on Twitter, if that’s your thing.

-Video of WSU coach Gene Stephenson talking about the loss

-Video of KSU catcher Blair DeBord talking about that crazy play at the plate on Johnny Coy. 

We’ve got some more notes coming out of Manhattan from myself and Paul, plus a gallery from Bo Rader coming in the near future. Kansas State plays at 7 p.m. tomorrow night, so stay tuned at Kansas.com and follow me on Twitter – @t_adame for updates.

TA

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Manhattan Regional Rumblings

Kansas State is hosting its first NCAA Regional beginning Friday in Manhattan — Bryant, Arkansas and Wichita State are the other teams — and Thursday was the day all the media types and teams got together. Here’s some short bits on each team that rolled out on what started off as a rainy day in Manhattan but turned pretty gorgeous.

KANSAS STATE

The Wildcats, first up to practice, were actually the only team that had to do everything indoors, including interviews. They seemed relaxed, excited. “When you see them putting in bleachers (at Tointon), that lets you know something a little different is going on,” K-State coach Brad Hill said. “Other than that, though, it’s business as usual.”

Here’s a couple of stories from K-State beat writer Kellis Robinett — on Kansas State baseball’s ascension from the dark ages aka the late 1980s. Here’s another one on K-State center fielder Jared King.

ARKANSAS

The Razorbacks, ranked No. 1 in the country in the preseason, have struggled at the plate all season and it was pretty evident where their focus was during Thursday’s practice. Every batter that came up during a scrimmage got major, major pointers from coach Dave Van Horn – and they weren’t the kindest remarks. On the flip side, the Razorbacks probably have the best pitching staff in the nation.

BRYANT 

The team from tiny Smithfield, R.I. was probably the loosest of the  four at Thursday’s practices. And their dugout was pretty spectacular – a mix of Northeasterner accents from Massachusets, Rhode Island, Jersey and New York. This team was NCAA Division II just 5 years ago and now they’re in the NCAA Tournament. That ain’t easy to do.

WICHITA STATE

Some things are best said … in video. Which I shot of Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson and designated hitter Johnny Coy on Thursday.

 

We’ve got a ton of stories/coverage coming out of Manhattan the next couple of days, so check Kansas.com.

TA 

 

K-State closing in on third conference championship of 2012-13 academic year

The Kansas State baseball team is on the verge of making a special year even better for the Wildcats’ athletic department.

The Bat Cats (37-15, 14-7 Big 12) hold a two-game lead over Oklahoma and West Virginia in the Big 12 standings. They can clinch at least a share of their first Big 12 championship with one more victory, and can clinch an outright title with two wins or one win combined with a West Virginia loss.

K-State, which broke into the Baseball America Top 25 poll at No. 19 on Monday, hosts a three-game series against the Sooners this weekend at Tointon Family Stadium. Given all that is on the line, and the big crowds that should turn out with good weather on the way, it might be the biggest series in program history.

With just one victory, the Wildcats will have their third conference championship of the 2012-13 academic year. The football team won 11 games to claim the crown in December. The men’s basketball team shared the Big 12 title with Kansas in March. The baseball team can add to the trophy collection and make it a Trifecta this weekend.
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My brief conversation with Tad Boyle

Just got off the phone with Colorado basketball coach Tad Boyle.

Here is what he had to say about the open head coaching position at Kansas State.

“As long as I’m the head coach at the University of Colorado, I will never comment publicly on any other jobs,” Boyle said.

Boyle just finished his second season with the Buffaloes. He has been successful in Boulder, guiding Colorado to a Pac-12 Tournament championship this season and winning a game in the NCAA Tournament before losing to Baylor in the third round. Last year, he had a great team behind Alec Burks that beat K-State three times and just missed out on the NCAA Tournament.

K-State athletic director John Currie and Boyle share a connection. They both worked at Tennessee in 1997, and have stayed in contact through the years. Sources close to K-State say Boyle is a candidate in Currie’s coaching search.

In recent days, Boyle has said he is extremely happy at Colorado and isn’t looking to go elsewhere. He is a Greeley, Colo. native and has referred to Colorado as his dream job.

When asked if he wanted to repeat some of those comments during our interview, he referred me back to the comment published above.

But a Colorado spokesman told me this afternoon that Boyle is “not interested in any jobs.”

Boyle reportedly turned down feelers from Nebraska when its basketball coaching job was open.

But he does have ties with Kansas (he played at KU and coached as an assistant with Wichita State) and has always liked the Big 12. And K-State could more than double his contract, which reportedly paid him about $1 million last season.

That’s all I got for now. What happens from here could be interesting.