Editor’s note: Added a featured photo.
No. 22 Kansas State 28-17 (11-7)
K-State baseball reached new heights this year with its No. 22 ranking. After defeating No.14 Texas Tech in a gritty three-game series, the Wildcats have caught fire. The last three series victories have come with excellent hitting and timely pitching. The hitters have continued to put up runs, scoring 10 in the series-clinching win over the Red Raiders. At the same time, late-game pitching, especially from Tyson Neighbors with eight saves, makes the Wildcats a tough team to beat.
Southeast Missouri State 26-20 (14-4)
The Redhawks have thrived in Ohio Valley play but struggled against out-of-conference competition. Southeast Missouri State has faced only one Power Five opponent in Arkansas, losing 12-2 in just seven innings. Nevertheless, the bats for the Redhawks continue to shine, scoring five or more runs in its last 18 games before Tuesday’s loss. The consistent offense has been led by the outfield duo of Jevon Mason and Josh Cameron, both hitting above a .325 average.
Matchup to Watch: K-State bullpen vs. Redhawk hitting
Hitting should be no concern for the Wildcats this weekend. Facing a Southeast Missouri State pitching staff with a 5.14 ERA, K-State’s main concern is the Redhawk hitters. Posting a 4.88 ERA themselves, the Wildcats could struggle against the top-end talent for Southeast Missouri State. With six hitters with a .300 or greater batting average, late game pitching will be crucial.
K-State’s bullpen has been highlighted by Neighbors’ prowess. Neighbors has delivered when called upon to close, posting a 1.06 ERA. Fellow late-game pitchers in Ty Ruhl and Mason Buss had great performances mixed with some struggles. Their consistency will be a major factor in if the Wildcats can dominate the Redhawks in all three games.
Prediction: K-State sweeps 3-0