Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Fresh off a 20-11 domination of the Wichita State Shockers in the first round of the NCAA Manhattan Regional at Tointon Family Stadium, K-State looks to continue their postseason run against the Bryant University Bulldogs. The No. 1 seeded Wildcats will take on the No. 3 Bulldogs at 7 pm this evening.
The Wildcat offense looked as potent as it has all season in taking down Wichita State 20-11. The team knocked in nine runs in the first inning alone (including two home runs) and scored in every inning but the second in securing a 1-0 start to the regional tournament. The Wildcats recorded 19 hits and were walked another nine times. However, the team will have to shore up its defense going forward after giving up 12 hits of their own while committing an error on the day.
Bryant has also gotten off to a solid start with a 4-1 win over No. 2 seed Arkansas. It was the Bulldogs’ (45-16-1) first NCAA tournament victory. The game was the exact opposite of K-State’s, as the two teams were tied 1-1 going into the eighth inning – although Bryant did compile 11 hits over the course of scoring four runs.
Bryant is enjoying one of the program’s best seasons in history, and won the Northeast Conference with a 27-5 (.844) record. The Bulldogs are No. 49 in college baseball RPI, compared to 19 for the Wildcats. Bryant’s starting pitcher will be junior righty Craig Schlitter. Schlitter was a second team all-conference selection this season and went 10-3 this year. He has an ERA of 2.53 and has pitched 78.1 innings.
Opposing Schlitter for the Wildcats will be Joe Flattery. Flattery is 4-4 this year with a 4.02 ERA over 69.1 innings. Flattery is 4-4 over 11 starts. The right-handed freshman has demonstrated improvement over his first year, although he will likely be on a short leash as K-State has demonstrated an amazing bull pen this year. With a win today, K-State secures a trip to the Super Regional regardless of Sunday’s outcome against Arkansas.