K-State looks to earn second Big 12 series win against No. 19 Texas Tech

Senior outfielder Max Brown returns the ball to the field during the K-State vs. Santa Clara baseball game series on March 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. (File Photo by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

K-State baseball (17-18, 4-8) enters this weekend’s Big 12 series against No. 19 Texas Tech (23-14, 7-5) on a high having won three of its last four games, including a series win against then No. 3 TCU and a come-from-behind win in extras over Wichita State.

The Wildcats and Red Raiders will play three games in Manhattan this weekend, with the first pitch of the series set for 3 p.m. today.

While the recent results have been a stark contrast from the team’s earlier performances, K-State head coach Brad Hill said he insists that nothing has changed.

“We’re playing the same way,” Hill said Thursday. “We don’t see anything different. We’re getting some big hits that we didn’t get earlier, but really the guy’s approach has been the same.”

Texas Tech, which started the season with lofty goals coming off an appearance in the 2014 College World Season, has been surging like the Wildcats. The Red Raiders enter the three-game series riding a four-game winning streak that extended this past weekend with a sweep of Baylor.

“They’re a whole different team than TCU,” Hill said of Texas Tech. “They still have good pitching. I’m not taking anything away from their pitching, because obviously (Texas Tech starting pitcher Randy Mosley and Cameron Smith), those guys are both really good. But offensively they just pose a lot of threats. They’re very aggressive in swinging the bats. They have power potential throughout their lineup. That’ll pose a little bit of a challenge for us this weekend.”

K-State’s series win over TCU earned the attention from the conference as senior outfielder Max Brown and junior infielder Tyler Wolfe were awarded with Player of the Week and Co-Newcomer of the Week conference honors Monday.

Wolfe enters the weekend series with a .389 batting average versus Big 12 opponents and is tied for first in runs scored with 11 and third in on-base percentage with a .465 mark.

The matchup against Texas Tech is the fifth-straight weekend that K-State has faced a ranked opponent, but rather than focus on that fact, the Wildcats say they’ve been taking things one step at a time.

“It’s a long season, so it’s definitely going to wear on you,” sophomore starter Colton Kalmus said. “It’s just a big mental thing where every week is a new week. If you just take it day-by-day through the week and leading up to that Friday, Saturday, Sunday, whatever it is, it takes some of the pressure off of every week and not having to worry the next week and just worrying about taking it day-by-day.”

Kalmus (1-2, 3.70 ERA) will lead things off for K-State on Friday taking on the aforementioned Randy Moseley (3-3, 2.84 ERA). Last time out, Kalmus got a win over TCU after pitching a career-high 6 3/4 innings.

Saturday’s game will feature Red Raider left hander Cameron Smith (4-2, 2.77 ERA) against a K-State starter yet to be announced. Both pitchers for Sunday’s matchup have also yet to be announced.

First pitch for the series is slated for 3 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium today after a move was made to accommodate bad weather that is expected to hit Manhattan starting tonight.

Tim Everson was born in Wichita, KS in 1994. Before fifth grade he moved up to Manhattan for one year before settling in Riley, KS where he graduated from Riley County High School in 2012. Tim has worked for the Collegian since spring of 2014 and took over as Sports Editor during the summer of 2015. Tim loves sports, music, movies and good food when he can get it.