By Ryan Lackey
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State senior first baseman Wade Hinkle was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week after leading the Wildcats to a series victory over in-state rival Kansas, the conference office announced Monday.
Hinkle, who earned his first-career citation, became the third K-State player to earn weekly honors this season as Jake Brown was named player of the week on March 12 beforeJared King picked up the award last week. K-State, which had two pitcher of the week and two newcomer awards last season, saw three players earn awards in the player of the week category in a single season for the first time since 2001 and in consecutive weeks for the first time in conference history.
The Albuquerque, N.M., product, who was playing in his final home series, led the Wildcats at the plate by going 4-for-8 with a double, a home run, five walks and a .692 on-base percentage. With half of his hits going for extra-bases, Hinkle tallied a 1.000 slugging percentage and also tied for team-high honors with three runs scored in the three games.
Hinkle began his week by singling in the first inning on Friday before using great patience at the plate to tally three-straight walks in a 2-0 K-State win. He drew another walk on Saturday before finishing out his home career on fire on Sunday. In the rubber match of the series, Hinkle led Kansas State to a 9-3 win by going 3-for-4 with his 10th home run of the season in the first inning and a RBI double as part of a four-run eighth. Hinkle’s home run followed a King homer, marking the first time K-State hit back-to-back home runs in conference play since 2009.
A former transfer from Cochise College in Arizona, Hinkle is one of just two players in the league with 10 or more home runs this season. The first baseman ranks 11th in the Big 12 in batting average (.333), second in walks (44) and on-base percentage (.489), and third in RBI (47).
Kansas State closes out the regular season with a three-game series at Texas Tech, Thursday through Saturday, at Rip Griffin Park. First pitch on Thursday and Friday is set for 6:30 p.m., while the regular-season finale is slated for a 1 p.m., first pitch. All three games will be aired in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN and online at bothwww.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com. Saturday’s game will be shown nationally on FSN.