When K-State (41-17) takes the field for its first regional hosting experience in the history of the program, postseason history will not be on its side. In three prior NCAA tournament appearances, the Wildcats did not advance to the Super Regional. However, coming off the school’s first regular season conference championship since 1933, the Wildcats will look to break through while holding hold field advantage with a confidence not regularly projected by the BatCats. The first hurdle to advancement resides just south of Manhattan (well, comparatively) in the Wichita State Shockers (39-26).
Wichita State, on the other hand, is a program rich in history. The Shockers have had a program at three different points in the school’s history, and which has been continuously operating since 1978. The program has had seven College Word Series appearances in that time frame, including a national championship in 1989. Since 1980, Wichita State is second in all-time wins and winning percentage behind Florida State. It also controls the all-time series against K-State, 53-32. However, this script should be severely flipped against a K-State team that will look to outhit WSU for its first of many postseason victories.
This game is by no means a gimme, but the Wildcats should feel confident against the regional’s #4 seed. For one, K-State brings an RPI rank of 17 into postseason play, while Wichita State is number 107. K-State played a home-and-home series with Wichita State this year, taking both games, 7-6 and 4-1. However, Wichita State swept the 2012 series by scores of 9-7 and 10-3 with a very similar roster. Here are some quick hits to consider for Friday afternoon’s game:
- K-State will be starting right hander Levi MaVorhis, who squares off against Wichita State’s right handed Cale Elam. Although Elam posted a better ERA this year (2.60 v. 3.51), MaVorhis enters the postseason with the superior record. MaVorhis was undefeated on the season, going 5-0, while Elam was 7-4.
- Elam is tied for third nationally in games started with 16. MaVorhis has only started five games this year (winning all five), which is sixth on the team – although he has seen relief work in 16 other games and as the freshman gradually worked his way into the starting line up over the year.
- K-State doesn’t bring a lot of power to the batter’s box, but is one of the best team’s in the nation at getting on base. The Wildcats are hitting .323 on the season compared to .294 for Wichita State.
- That advantage extends to each team’s respective on-base percentage. K-State sits at .405, compared to Wichita State’s .375 ob%.
- Wichita State was only 12-11 in true road games this year. K-State was 24-7. Tickets are sold out for the game, and if you get the opportunity to watch without getting excited, The Jug seriously suggests someone check you for a pulse.