MANHATTAN, Kan. – After a 5-2 homestand, K-State travels east for a four-game east coast roadtrip, starting at No. 3 Virginia Tech Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT at English Field at Atlantic Union Park.
Over the season-long homestand, the Wildcats won back-to-back weekend series, including winning two of three games against Baylor over the weekend. The Cats are 6-2 in the month of May and finished their home schedule with a 21-7 record.
K-State closed its home schedule with a come-from-behind 7-5 victory over the Bears Sunday on Senior Day. Trailing 5-1 after seven innings, the Wildcats rallied for six in the eighth inning, highlighted by a go-ahead grand slam by Nick Goodwin to take the series’ rubber game.
The win over Baylor clinched a spot in this year’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, which begins Wednesday, May 25. K-State currently sits in seventh place in the Big 12 standings, two games clear of BU.
Virginia Tech, ranked as high as third in the national polls, will be the sixth different top-25 team K-State will face this season, as the Wildcats have picked up three top-10 wins this year. K-State and VT will meet for just the third time ever and the first time since 2018.
K-STATE (27-23, 8-13 BIG 12) at #3 VIRGINIA TECH (36-11, 16-9 ACC)
Tuesday, May 17 // 6 p.m. CT // Atlantic Union Park (4,000) // Blacksburg, Va.
Projected Starters: RHP Griffin Hassall (4-5, 6.14 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Siverling (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Watch: ACC Network // ESPN app
Radio: News Radio KMAN // Matt Walters, Christopher Brown
Listen Online: K-StateSports.com/Watch // 1350KMAN.com
A LOOK AT K-STATE
K-State embarks on a four-game east coast road swing, starting with a Tuesday night matchup at No. 5 Virginia Tech … The Wildcats have won six of eight games in the month of May after taking two of three games against Baylor in their final home series of the season … K-State bounced back from a 4-2 setback in the series opener to win the series with a 7-5 win Saturday and a Sunday rubber game victory by the same score … Trailing 5-1 after seven innings in the finale, Nick Goodwin launched an opposite-field grand slam in the eighth inning to give the Cats a 6-5 lead … Cash Rugely added a pinch-hit solo homer later in the inning to cap a six-run eighth … The Wildcat offense had managed just one run on three hits through seven innings before breaking through against the BU bullpen, tallying four hits in the eighth inning alone … Justin Mitchell broke a 5-5 tie in the seventh inning Saturday, roping a two-out, two-RBI single with two strikes to even the series … K-State held a 5-0 lead after the second inning, only to see the Bears claw back and tie the game in the fifth … Dylan Phillips recorded back-to-back saves to preserve the Cats’ first series victory over Baylor since 2017 … In the three-game series, the K-State bullpen allowed one earned run over 13 1/3 innings for a 0.68 ERA … Blake Corsentino and Ty Ruhl earned the victories out of the pen Saturday and Sunday, respectively … Corsentino appeared twice in the weekend series and totaled four scoreless innings while Ruhl logged a career-high five innings in Sunday’s contest … As an offense, K-State hit .300 in the series and got home runs from Goodwin, Mitchell, Phillips and Rugely … With the series win, the Wildcats clinched a bid into this year’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas … K-State now sits in seventh place in the Big 12 standings, owning a two-game edge over eighth-place Baylor.
SCOUTING VIRGINIA TECH
Virginia Tech (36-11, 16-9 ACC), ranked as high as No. 3 in the national polls, has won eight of its last 10 following a home series victory over seventh-ranked Louisville … The series win moved the Hokies into second place in the Coastal Division of the ACC standings … As a team, Virginia Tech boasts a .310 average, led by Jack Hurley’s .385 average … Hurley leads his team with 22 doubles along with 11 RBI and 45 runs batted in … The Hokies’ roster features six players with an average of .333 or better and six with double-digit home runs – paced by Cade Hunter and Tanner Schobel with 14 apiece … On the mound, VT owns a 4.09 team ERA while opponents hit .256 against them … Drue Hackenberg leads the staff with 71 strikeouts against just 12 walks … The Hokies are 25-5 at home this season.
INSIDE THE SERIES
K-State and Virginia Tech have met just twice, splitting the two contests … In the last matchup in 2018, the Wildcats came away with a 6-5 victory in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina … The Hokies claimed the initial meeting, 6-3, back in 1989 in Fresno, California … K-State is 8-5 against teams from the ACC but is 0-3 on the road against ACC foes.
AGAINST RANKED TEAMS
Virginia Tech, ranked as high as No. 3, will be the sixth different opponent K-State will face ranked inside the top 25 … So far this season, the Wildcats are 3-10 against ranked opponents, with all three victories coming against teams in the top 10 … K-State won its weekend series with then-No. 7 Texas (April 14-16) at Tointon Family Stadium … Away from home, the Cats are 0-7 against top-25 teams and last defeated a top-10 team on the road in 2017 – upending fourth-ranked South Carolina 6-5 … Under fourth-year head coach Pete Hughes, K-State has racked up 16 ranked victories, with 11 coming against the top 10 … Last season, the Wildcats went 6-10 against ranked opponents – all of which were in the top 10 … Four of the Cats’ top-10 wins came over the season’s final eight games … Hughes is 16-28 against top-25 squads and 11-16 against the nation’s top 10 over his four seasons in Manhattan.
BLACKSBURG TO MANHATTAN
K-State head coach Pete Hughes spent seven seasons as the head man at Virginia Tech (2007-13), compiling a record of 192-174 and leading the Hokies to two regional berths – Columbia Regional in 2010 and Blacksburg Regional in 2013 … It marked VT’s first postseason appearances since 2000 … Additionally, K-State assistant Coach Austin Wates played under Hughes at Virginia Tech from 2007-10 and later graduated from VT in 2017 with a degree in sociology … Wates was an all-American outfielder for the Hokies and was a third-round draft pick of the Houston Astros in the 2010 MLB Draft … Current Hokies head man John Szefc served as the Wildcats associate head coach for two seasons (2011-12) before being hired as Maryland’s head coach in 2013.
BOMBS ARE BACK
K-State ranks second in the Big 12 and 21st nationally with 78 home runs this season, with 63 coming over its last 34 games … K-State has homered in six straight games and in 13 of the last 15 games, with multiple homers in 10 of those outings … The Wildcat offense managed just one homer over the season’s first five games and turned in seven over their first 10 games … Twenty-four times the Cats have hit multiple home runs, including 16 of their last 26 contests … K-State has 31 home runs over its last 15 games and 50 over its last 26 games … In total, 14 different players have hit at least one home run this season … A season ago, K-State launched a single-season program record 89 bombs while its 78 home runs this season are already second-most in any season in program history … Twenty-six of K-State’s 78 home runs have been game-tying or go-ahead home runs, led by five go-ahead home runs by Nick Goodwin (four each from Dominic Johnson and Dylan Phillips) … Goodwin has hit a go-ahead homer in each of the last two weekend rubber games in the seventh inning or later – including his go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning against Baylor Sunday … Home runs account for 125 of the 293 runs batted in on the season (43 percent), including seven of 16 RBI over three games against the Bears.
K-State finished its home schedule with a record of 21-7, marking the second straight season in which the Cats have reached the 20-win plateau at home … It was the first time K-State has put together consecutive 20-win home seasons since three straight from 2009-11 … The Wildcats began their home slate 9-1 for the second straight season … At home, the Wildcat offense hit .303 while slugging .566 with 60 home runs … K-State averaged 6.9 runs a game on 10.2 hits at Tointon Family Stadium … Conversely, the Cats are hitting .263 and slugging .412 in games away from home, averaging 5.5 runs per game and 9.0 hits a game … The Wildcat bullpen boasted a 3.83 ERA at home, striking out 128 compared to 60 walks … In road and neutral contest, K-State relievers have a combined ERA of 8.77 with 107 strikeouts and 81 walks … K-State homered in 24 of 28 home games while 60 of its 78 home runs have come at Tointon Family Stadium … The Cats outscored teams 193-131 in 28 home games with a +54 run differential (80-26) from the seventh inning on … Additionally, K-State outscored its opponents 46-5 in the seventh and eighth innings over its last 14 home games … Jeff Heinrich leads the Wildcats in hitting at home at .375 while Dominic Johnson is next at .349 … Dylan Phillips posted a team-high 10 homers at home while Heinrich added nine.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE ANIMAL STYLE
Jeff Heinrich and Dominic Johnson joined the 10-homer club last weekend, as they both now sit at 10 home runs to go with Dylan Phillips’ team-leading 13 bombs … A season ago, five Wildcats recorded 10 or more homers, led by 16 from Phillips … Phillips is just the second Wildcat to register three seasons with 10 or more home runs, joining Pat Maloney who did it in three straight seasons from 2001-03 … Johnson is one of three players in the Big 12 to reach double digits in both home runs and stolen bases (11) … Phillips needs just two more stolen bases to join the 10 homers-10 steals club… Additionally, Phillips and Oklahoma State’s Nolan McLean are the only players in the conference to have 10+ home runs along with recording multiple saves on the mound.
K-State has a +5 run differential through 50 games this season after outscoring Baylor 16-14 over three games last weekend … The Wildcats have outscored opponents 47-27 in the eighth inning alone and 114-77 from the seventh inning on, outscoring Baylor 9-0 after the sixth inning … The Cats are 23-12 when hitting a home run and 17-7 when hitting multiple homers … K-State has won 11 of 13 games in which it has not committed an error while going 6-13 when committing multiple errors … When holding opponents to five or fewer runs, the Wildcats are 22-6 … Conversely, K-State has a record of 5-14 when scoring five or fewer runs in a game and is 22-8 when scoring at least six runs … K-State is 9-12 in games decided by two runs or less and have played eight straight games decided by three runs or less – seven of which have been two runs or fewer … K-State is hitting .301 on the season with runners in scoring position and .278 with two outs and 101 two-out RBI … Last season, the Cats managed a .271 average with runners in scoring position while hitting .252 with two outs.