College baseball is a little bit different than other major collegiate sports. In football, teams typically finish playing all out-of-conference opponents before they dive into their conference schedule. Basketball tends to go the same way.
Such is not the case in baseball.
At 6 p.m. today, the K-State baseball team, 11-10, will partake in its first Big 12 game of the season against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who are 14-7.
Oklahoma State enters tonight’s game on a bit of a hot streak. Of their last nine games, the Cowboys have only lost one, a 4-2 loss to the Michigan Wolverines. And although the Cowboys are not on any sort of winning streak, they are coming into tonight’s game with loads of confidence.
Oklahoma State is fresh off of a 17-0 beat down that they put on the Wichita State Shockers Tuesday evening.
The bats were on fire for the Cowboys in that game as nine different players recorded hits off of the Shockers’ pitching staff. Senior outfielder Corey Hassel and junior outfielder Ryan Sluder both took pitches over the fence for home runs.
It has been the play of senior infielder Donnie Walton that has the Cowboys clicking so far this year. Walton is batting an average of .338 this season and leads the team with 25 hits. Walton and the Cowboys’ offense will be a tough challenge for the K-State pitching staff, which has a collective ERA of 5.06 runs per game.
It will not be a cakewalk for the Cowboys, however, as the Wildcats’ ace pitcher, senior Levi MaVorhis, is assumed to be taking the mound. MaVorhis will face the Oklahoma State offense with a 3-0 record and a 2.6 ERA that will look to slow the Cowboys’ bats down.
Sophomore Thomas Hatch will pitch for Oklahoma State. He takes the hill at 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA.
For the Cowboys, the key to slowing down K-State’s offense will be slowing down junior infielder Jake Wodtke. The Shawnee, Kansas, native continues to lead the Wildcats statistically and is tied for third in the Big 12 individual batting average rankings with a .377 average.
Wodtke has 18 runs batted in, 29 hits and has scored 24 runs this season for the struggling BatCats.
The Wildcats will look to stop their losing skid and turn the young season back around when it all gets underway tonight at Tointon Family Stadium.