This Kansas State pitcher had must-see celebration after Wildcats won NCAA Regional

It’s not often that the Kansas State baseball team makes it all the way to a Super Regional, so no one could blame JJ Slack for celebrating in an unforgettable way when the Wildcats did exactly that on Sunday at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

As soon as the final out was recorded in a 7-2 victory over Southeast Missouri State and the Bat Cats clinched a berth in just their second Super Regional in program history, Slack showed off a combination of pure excitement and raw athleticism by doing a back-flip in front of the pitcher’s mound.

Slack, a senior relief pitcher from Liberty, Texas, closed out the victory in 1-2-3 fashion after he entered the game with two men on and no outs in the ninth inning. He showed personality and poise in facing three SEMO batters, striking out one and getting two others to line out.

Then he jumped high into the air, flipped his body around 360 degrees, landed on his feet and screamed at the top of his lungs.

It was a fitting end for K-State at the Fayetteville Regional.

No one knew for sure if the Wildcats were going to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team last week when the field of 64 was announced on Selection Monday. And very few picked them to get past Arkansas, Louisiana Tech and SEMO in the days that followed.

But K-State got hot and swept its way through the first round of the postseason.

Coach Pete Hughes and his team got things started with a 19-4 win over Louisiana Tech, followed that up a gutsy 7-6 win over Arkansas and then closed out the weekend triumph over SEMO.

Slack was on the mound for the final out. That felt appropriate, given that his story personifies the journey of this team in many ways.

Slack transferred to K-State after starting out his college career at the Division III level with Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. He played both baseball and football while he was there. But he decided to focus just on baseball as he made the move up to Division and the Big 12.

It’s been an up-and-down season for him, as he has only pitched 25 innings and posted an ERA of 4.32. But he delivered when Hughes called upon on in the biggest moment of the year.

K-State’s usual closer, Tyson Neighbors, was unavailable after throwing 67 pitches Saturday in the late innings against Arkansas. And the Wildcats were struggling to throw strikes in the ninth inning against SEMO. So Hughes called on Slack, and he got the job done.

Slack is clearly an athletic and outgoing person. Anyone who has seen the movie “Major League” recognized the way he pumps himself up before his first pitch. He looked exactly like Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn out there. He also wears the No. 99 and throws the ball hard.

Oh — and he can do a back-flip.

That celebration sent K-State on to the next round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will travel to No. 12 Virginia later this week for a three-game Super Regional series.

A berth in the College World Series will be on the line.