K-State baseball (14-17, 2-7) will face its highest-ranked opponent of the season this weekend in No. 3 TCU (25-6. 6-3). The three-game series is scheduled to begin tonight in front of an expected packed house at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan.
The Wildcats are coming off a midweek split against two different opponents. K-State fell to Nebraska 5-4 in heartbreaking fashion Tuesday before bouncing back to blowout Nebraska-Omaha a day later, 10-2.
Sophomore starting pitcher Colton Kalmus (0-2, 3.89 ERA) will lead off the series tonight against Mitchell Traver (5-0, 0.99 ERA). On Saturday a Wildcat pitcher to be decided will take on Preston Morrison (6-1, 2.36 ERA). In the series finale on Sunday, a K-State pitcher to be decided will take on Alex Young (6-1, 1.03 ERA).
Kalmus had a very productive start in last weekend’s 8-2 win over West Virginia, throwing four innings of three-hit ball while allowing only a single run.
“(Kalmus) just needs to do what he’s been doing,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “I think that he’s been outstanding. He’s been in command of the strike zone, he’s been competitive. He’s not trying to overdue (anything), so I hope he just relaxes out there and replays in his mind what he’s been doing the past several weekends.”
The Horned Frogs come into the series perched atop the Big 12 and third in the country, winning eight of their last 10 games.
“(TCU is a) great team, great pitching staff,” Hill said. “Obviously with us it’s going to be about trying to score some runs. At the same time they can create a lot of things offensively because they have great team speed. They’re a team playing with great confidence, and they’re always going to be dangerous.”
In the last two weekend series, K-State has been able to take the first game before falling in games two and three.
“You get that first one, you’d think that second one is going to come a little bit easier, but it never does in our league,” Hill said. “Our teams, they understand how to play everyday and we’re still trying to get over that hump a little bit of what it takes every day.”
First pitch between the Wildcats and Horned Frogs is slated for tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium.