K-State concludes home stand against Missouri State

Sophomore infielder Jake Wodtke returns the ball to the field during the K-State vs. Santa Clara baseball game series on Mar. 7, 2015 at Tointon Family Stadium. The Wildcats took a victory throughout the three day game series with 4-1 on Day 1, 17-5 on Day 2, and 10-3 on Day 3. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

After splitting a two-game, mid-week series against Creighton, K-State baseball (8-8) will take to their home diamond once again as they begin a three-game series against Missouri State (9-4).

After a nightmare sixth inning saw the Wildcats snap a four-game winning streak against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, K-State is focused on bouncing back and finishing their eight-game homestand strong.

With conference play around the corner, redshirt sophomore infielder Jake Wodtke said that this young K-State team is starting to come together and take shape.

“We’re finding roles,” Wodtke said. “Everybody has their own role. With these young guys, they’re starting to see some innings and kind of getting a feel for what they need to do to help us win.”

Sophomore Nate Griep (2-1, 2.60 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound to start the series against the Bears’ undefeated junior Matt Hall (3-0, 2.67 ERA). Sophomore Colton Kalmus (0-1, 3.12 ERA) is scheduled to throw against junior Andy Cheray (2-1, 2.78 ERA) on Saturday, and K-State is scheduled to end the home series with junior Corey Fischer (1-1, 3.66 ERA) against a Missouri State pitcher that has yet to be announced.

K-State head coach Brad Hill said he has mostly liked the consistency his weekend starters have shown, but he is waiting for the entire group to take that next step.

“I think for sure Fischer and Griep have done that,” Hill said. “I thought Fischer got a little sloppy the other day when he had four zeros on the board and gave up three in the fifth (against Santa Clara). Other than that, I think he’s been fairly solid. Griep has been consistent all the way through. Colton is the one that we need to see have a good bounce back for us on Saturday.”

The Bears carry a three-game win streak into Tointon Family Stadium, and have played common opponents in Iowa and Washington State. The Bears lost to the Hawkeyes and beat the Cougars, while K-State beat both teams earlier this season.

The Wildcats will look to win back-to-back games against Missouri State for the first time since K-State won five-straight from April 1991 to May 1992.

“Good team, they’ve always played tough and always have good arms,” Hill said of the current Bear squad. “They swing their bats very aggressively. They’re well coached, obviously coach (Keith) Guttin has been there a long time. I respect what they do and how they go about their business.”

The series will be the last time K-State will play at home until March 25, as the Wildcats are scheduled to play eight of their next nine games on the road.

First pitch is scheduled for today at 6:30 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium.