Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas State’s baseball program has been steadily improving, and continues reaching new heights with a spot in the Manhattan Regional Championship Game this evening. The team, having already tied the single season record for wins with 43 (43-17 on the year), will next go for its first NCAA Super Regional berth.
The Wildcats are coming off a 7-1 victory over Bryant in which the team displayed a much better defensive effort than Friday, when the team surrendered 11 runs to Wichita State but ultimately won 20-11. The offensive firepower wasn’t as evident Saturday, but the team was spot-on in situational hitting as the team brought in its seven runs on only eight hits and one walk. Bryant also recorded eight hits, but also committed two errors and couldn’t take advantage of its opportunities in one scoring one run.
Joe Flattery provided five solid innings over which he spread seven hits and allowed one earned run. He is now 5-4 on the season. Nate Williams was brought in to start off the sixth and pitched 1.2 innings, allowing one hit and walking two while striking out one. Jake Matthys was then brought in to close out the game after Williams put two on base with walks, leaving him with two out and runners on first and third in the seventh. Facing eight batters over 2.1 innings, Matthys struck out two and recorded his eighth save of the year.
Bryant and Arkansas are both 1-1 in the regional, with #3 seed Bryant having defeated #2 Arkansas 4-1 on Friday. Arkansas defeated Wichita State 3-1 yesterday to eliminate the Shockers in the double elimination tournament. Bryant and Arkansas will face each other at two this afternoon, with the loser going home and the winner facing K-State at 7 pm tonight. Should the Wildcats win that game, they will advance to the Super Regional round. A loss would force a sudden death rematch on Monday to determine the region’s champion.
Ross Kivett, who was recently named an All-American and helped lead the team by going 2-of-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored yesterday, had these frank words of wisdom yesterday:
This has been an aggressive team all year, and its batters have done an excellent job of putting balls in play to give base runners the chance to score. Let’s see if the players can do it one more time tonight and take the team farther than it’s ever been before.