Throughout this season, the story for Kansas State baseball has been about how the upperclassmen stepped up as leaders to steer the team in the right direction.
But in the series at Kansas, it was a pair of sophomores who came up with some of the biggest hits of the weekend. And one of them is leading the team in hitting.
Starting shortstop Austin Fisher and designated hitter Mitch Meyer combined to go 10 for 26 with 11 RBIs and six extra-base hits as the Wildcats swept the Jayhawks to set up a shot at winning the Big 12 title this weekend against visiting Oklahoma.
Fisher is leading the team with a .358 batting average this season, while also riding a 17-game hit streak going into tonight’s three-game series opener against the Sooners, beginning at 6:30.
Despite being one of the younger contributors in the lineup, Fisher said age is never an issue with this team — as long as you take care of business.
“I don’t really see myself as a young guy,” he said this week. “Everybody looks at each other as the same age, age isn’t really a thing around here. If you’re confident and you can get it done, everybody sees you as one of their own.
“Everybody’s selfless, nobody is concerned about how many hits they get. Everybody is trying to win. Everybody is doing what they have to do to win.”
Fisher hit .295 as a freshman in just 44 at-bats, but said he’s improved his game this season on the mental side. And that, he said, has helped him boost his batting average.
Aside from the average, Fisher has added a team-leading 18 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 33 RBIs, which ranks second on the team.
“Confidence wise, last year I was messing with my swing too much,” he said. “I felt like that got me out of the groove of what I was trying to do. This year I haven’t changed anything, really, all year. I haven’t had, really, any major ups or downs.”
Meyer has started the most games of any DH for the Wildcats at 20 — playing in 42 of the 52 games this season. He’s hitting just .278, but he leads the team with five triples to go with his 22 RBIs. He’s also third on the team with four home runs.
Meyer, who is 10 for 27 in his last seven games, said consistently playing has helped his approach at the plate.
“I’ve gotten a few more consistent at bats lately because I’ve been having a little bit more success, ” he said. “It’s been helping me see the ball and make me relax a little bit, not put anymore pressure on me to get a hit in the situation.”
Putting pressure on himself has often been one of his biggest flaws. Meyer said a season-long rotation at DH as coaches looked for a solid option there, often made it difficult to find a rhythm at the plate.
Meyer said he’s learned to adjust to the situation and value each opportunity more.
“Sometimes you put the pressure on yourself that you have to get the hit here or you’re not going to play the next game,” he said. “It’s just added stress that doesn’t help you play baseball. I’ve just relaxed and it’s helped me out. It’s tough with everyone rotating, but you’ve still got to keep grinding.”
If the Wildcats win a game this weekend against Oklahoma, Meyer and Fisher will put their names in a small group of players in K-State history that have ever won a league title — the first to do so in 80 years at K-State.
Meyer said if the Wildcats treat each game like they have all season, then they can accomplish that goal this weekend — giving the Wildcats Big 12 titles in football, men’s basketball and baseball, all in the same season.
“It’d be pretty cool to put our names in the K-State record book,” he said. “I think it’d be nice and if we play the way we’ve been playing, we’ll get it done.”