K-State looks to get bats going against Oklahoma State

Senior left-hander Parker Rigler pitches the ball during the K-State game against TCU at Tointon Stadium on April 1, 2017. (Sabrina Cline | The Collegian)

The Kansas State baseball team will look to get in the win column in Big 12 play when they take on Oklahoma State in a three-game series this weekend on the road.

The Wildcats’ season got off to a hot start, but they have struggled in recent weeks. They have lost seven games in a row and have started their Big 12 slate 0-6 for the second straight season. The Wildcats’ issues stem from their struggles at the plate.

K-State has been outscored 42-10 during the losing streak. The Wildcats were shut out in four of those seven games.

“We are going to have to figure out a way,” head coach Brad Hill said to K-State Sports after their loss to TCU on Sunday. “It’s all about your mental state right now. From a hitter’s standpoint, we’re not where we need to be. We are going to change things up a little bit, shorten down some swings and try to do some different things that will make us more competitive.”

The Wildcats will rely on the one thing that has been solid for most of the season: their pitching. Senior left-hander Parker Rigler is fourth in the Big 12 in ERA with a 2.04 mark. He is also fifth in the Big 12 in batting average against at 0.191.

Rigler is set to take the mound against the Cowboys in the second game of the series on Saturday. Junior right-hander Justin Heskett will start the first game of the series. Heskett has also been very successful on the mound this season, coming into the series with a 2-2 record and a 2.37 ERA. Sunday’s starter has yet to be announced.

Oklahoma State is coming into the game with a disappointing start to Big 12 play. The Cowboys were expected to compete for the Big 12 title before the season started, and they were picked to finish second in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll. But they have stumbled to a 1-5 conference record.

The Wildcats and Cowboys will hit off their series in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The first-pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. today. The two teams will then play again at 3 p.m. on Saturday and at noon on Sunday.

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