Editor’s note: Every week through the remainder of the college baseball season, Talking12.com will report, and sometimes comment, on unusual news and notable numerical achievements around Big 12 baseball.
Defending Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas State is at Texas Tech this weekend in its third conference series of the 2014 season. The Wildcats are 2-4 this season in league play and looking to win their first series against Big 12 opponents this season. K-State won one game each in losing earlier series against Oklahoma and Kansas. The Cats lost only two of eight series in the conference all of last season.
The Wildcats started out the season on the West Coast, losing their first five games and seven of their first eight. Since March 14, however, K-State has gotten its offense rolling and has won 10 of its last 16. The Cats lead the conference in hitting and are the only team hitting above .300, at .301, and the only team above .400 in on-base percentage (.401).
Since March 14, K-State hitters are batting a collective .334 and have a .435 on-base percentage, with 140 runs, 42 extra-base hits and an average of almost eight runs per game. The Wildcats have drawn 134 walks this season, third most in the conference, over the past 18 games.
K-State is the only team in the Big 12 this season that can boast six different players with 20 or more runs batted in: Tanner DiVinny 26, Kivett 24, Mitch Meyer 23, Austin Fischer and Shane Conlon 21 and RJ Santigate 20. The Cats are tied with Texas Tech, their opponent this weekend, at the top of the Big 12 with 205 RBI this season.
Kansas State second-baseman Ross Kivett, the Big 12 Player of the Year in 2013, is batting .500, with five hits in his last 10 at bats in the last three games, Prior to that, Kivett was struggling at the plate, going one for 16 in the three previous games.
West Virginia defeated Baylor twice to open the Big 12 portion of its schedule, but then were swept last weekend in a three-game series at TCU. The Mountaineers (16-12, 2-3) are back home this weekend to host Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are currently 5-4 and tied for third in the conference standings and own an overall record of 23-10.
Despite the disparity in wins and losses, the Mountaineers come into their weekend series against Oklahoma State with a Ratings Percentage Index of 24, 82 spots higher that the visitors from Stillwater. The difference appears to have a lot to do with the separation between the two teams in strength of schedule. The RPI formula rates West Virginia’s schedule strength as 51st in the country and Oklahoma State’s as 194th.
In its second full season as a member of the Big 12, TCU began conference play taking one of three games in its first two series with Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs rebounded last weekend, however, sweeping three games over West Virginia, and they kept the momentum going in the first game of the three game series at Kansas on Friday, claiming a 5-2 victory.
TCU first-baseman Kevin Cron hit two home runs on Friday night vs. Kansas, giving him four for the season, two behind a group of four league leaders, who have six.
The win in the first game of the Kansas series give TCU six consecutive wins, its longest winning streak in two seasons, and improves the Horned Frogs conference record to 6-4, tied with Oklahoma State for second place in the standings.