BatCats to host Texas in 3-game series

Brogan Heinen, freshman, pitches to Oklahoma State University in the seventh inning of the Wildcats game at Tointon Family Stadium on Thursday March 24, 2016. (File Photo by Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

When asked how it felt to finally get a win, with a chuckle K-State head baseball coach Brad Hill answered that it felt really good.

Before defeating Nebraska on Tuesday, Hill’s team had lost four games in a row. Winning has not been something that the Wildcats, 13-17 and 0-6 in the Big 12, have been accustomed to recently, so Tuesday’s win had to have felt relieving for Hill.

Now, hoping to avoid losing for the foreseeable future, K-State will face a three-game homestead against the 12-17 overall and 3-3 in Big 12 play Texas Longhorns.

“You hope you feel a little momentum, because that’s what baseball’s all about,” Hill said. “But each day’s always a new day, so we’ll see how we respond this weekend. I know the guys have to feel better after getting that win, (after) being in a situation where we could’ve lost.”

The Longhorns come to Manhattan trending in a different direction, however. A program that Hill said is led by one of the greatest coaches of all-time has lost five of its last six outings this season. The Longhorns are entering the series fresh off of their midweek game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which was a 5-0 shutout loss.

Although the Longhorns have struggled recently, Hill said he has confidence that they will give K-State a challenge over the weekend.

“It’s Texas; they’ve played a tough schedule, they have great arms, great defense, they won’t beat themselves,” Hill said. “It’ll be games like at Nebraska, I hope, where we’re pitching well and doing what we need to do and not getting them extra outs. I think that’s really what they thrive on is when you give them extra outs.”

Texas’ leader at the plate this season has been sophomore infielder Joe Baker. With a .314 average at the plate, Baker has also recorded five runs, 16 hits and five RBIs.

K-State’s offensive production is still flowing through senior outfielder Clayton Dalrymple, who is batting .339 and leads the team in runs and hits with 31 and 41, respectively.

Looking to slow down their opponents’ bats this weekend for the Wildcats will be pitchers junior Parker Rigler, senior Levi MaVorhis and senior Corey Fischer, in that order. Texas will counter with sophomore Morgan Cooper, senior Ty Culbreth and sophomore Kyle Johnston.

Tonight’s game will begin at 6:35 p.m., and the first 150 fans will receive black T-shirts as the Wildcats attempt to “black out Tointon.” Military Appreciation Day and Junior Wildcat Day on Saturday will begin at 2:05 p.m. At Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. game, the first 150 fans will be awarded with free camouflage hats.