BatCats prepare for out-of-conference battle

Coaching staff meets with senior pitcher Levi Mavorhis, senior catcher Tyler Moore and junior first baseman Jake Scudder on the mound during the fifth inning at the baseball game against Oklahoma State on March 24, 2016. (Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

It was not a friendly weekend for the Wildcats this past week as they were swept by the No. 19 Oklahoma State Cowboys. But the Wildcats will look to get back on the winning track on today as they host the University of Nebraska Omaha at 6:35 p.m. inside Tointon Family Stadium.

The Wildcats lost the three-game series against Oklahoma State by a combined three runs, falling 2-1, 5-4 and 5-4 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, respectively.

K-State had a hard time taking advantage of when runners were in scoring position, something that senior outfielder Clayton Dalrymple explained after Friday night’s loss.

“It’s frustrating,” Dalrymple said. “We emphasize doing our job and it’s hard. They’re a great pitching staff and we’re going to credit them, but when you’re in situations when you need to get the job done and you don’t, it’s really frustrating.”

The Wildcats are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, but it’s not because they aren’t close, head coach Brad Hill said.

“There are no moral victories in losing three one-run games to a top-25 ball club, but on the positive side of it, it’s three one-run games to a top-25 ball club,” Hill said to K-State Sports. “It’s that close. It’s the little mistakes, and that’s what also defines losing. Little mistakes beat you. The first day, we can’t drive a run in with runners on third base. The next day, it’s walks, and today, defense.”

But now the Wildcats turn their attention to two straight games out of conference play as they host the Mavericks and then Oral Roberts on Wednesday night.

K-State is 11-13 this season and 0-3 in conference play while the Mavericks are 14-10 and have won five of their last six games, all of which were in conference play. They are 2-4 on the road this season and haven’t played on the road in two weeks.

Nebraska-Omaha senior infielder Clayton Taylor has seven home runs this season and is batting .393 and has a team high 41 RBIs. The Wildcats will also have to keep an eye on senior outfielder Cole Gruber, who is batting over .400 with 31 runs and six doubles and a team high 41 hits.

K-State will look to its pitching to get them back in the win column, which is something Hill noted after Saturday’s game.

“We could have easily chunked it today, pitchers come out and give up runs,” Hill said to K-State Sports. “We didn’t do that, to our credit. But we do need to get it turned around. Someone needs to get a big hit. Someone needs to make that play, and we don’t need to walk some guys in key situations.”