Baseball Begins Big 12 Season
The Wildcats (11-9, 0-0 Big 12) kick off their Big 12 Conference slate this afternoon with a doubleheader against No. 14 Texas (13-8, 2-1 Big 12) at 4 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. - depending on weather - at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin, Texas.
The teams were scheduled to open the series yesterday evening, but rainy weather in the Lone Star State forced the teams to postpone until today.
"We should be fresh," said K-State head coach Brad Hill when asked about the effect the rescheduling has on his team. "We've done nothing but light workouts and yoga (laughing). We have our legs underneath us and look to bring lots of energy. Our guys are ready to go play."
K-State enters Big 12 play following an early-season slate where it earned victories over Pac-12 opponents such as Utah and Washington State and went an impressive 6-2 at Tointon Family Stadium.
However, today's games serve as the Cats' first competition against a ranked opponent, on the road nonetheless, which will bring new challenges to the young and new Wildcat roster.
"I'm hoping they can get over the 'Texas' factor," explained Hill. "With 22 new guys, I hope we understand that we expect to compete with (Texas) and look to win a series, even if it is in Austin."
In addition to this weekend's series, there will be no easy games ahead in the Big 12. The conference is coming off one of its best years in history where four teams - TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State - closed 2014 ranked in the top 10 of the major national polls. Those same four teams are currently ranked in the top 25 with No. 1 TCU and No. 10 Texas Tech leading the way.
"It's going to be an ultra-competitive year," said Hill about the Big 12. "In my 12 years, this is probably going to be one of the more competitive years, particularly with the top six to seven teams. Then again, you never know with the people chosen at the bottom during the preseason. They are all good teams on any given weekend. I think anyone can win a series. It's one of the more balanced conferences I have seen."
The Wildcats are led at the plate by senior Shane Conlon with a .351 batting average (27-for-77). The first baseman also paces the squad in extra-base hits (10) and has recorded 13 RBIs. Along with Conlon, junior Clayton Dalrymple is also a threat as he has recorded a .373 average (22-of-59) in 19 games with seven RBIs and 14 runs scored.
The Wildcat pitching staff is paced by sophomore Nate Griep, who is expected to start the first game this afternoon. Boasting a 2.08 ERA, Griep is among the Big 12's best pitchers. Currently holding a 3-1 record, he has thrown a Big 12-best 34 2/3 innings while ranking third in the conference with a career-high 33 strikeouts.
Though the Cats have positioned themselves with a winning record through early-season nonconference action, Hill said there is still much room to grow.
"(We've been) inconsistent," said Hill on his assessment of where his team is at entering Big 12 play. "We have just not been able to put together a streak of where we play eight, nine or 10 games in a row where we play well. However, we just finished up one of the more competitive nonconference schedules that we have played in my 12 years. So now, it's just a matter of how we are going to play in conference? It's going to be a tough and challenging year."
After this weekend's series, the Wildcats will return to Manhattan for a mid-week matchup against Omaha at 6:30 p.m., on Wednesday. The team will continue its Big 12 slate next weekend at Oklahoma State, taking on the 23rd-ranked Cowboys in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
For a full look at this year's K-State baseball schedule, please click here.
BRAD HILL RADIO SHOW BEGINS MARCH 23
Starting on Monday, March 23, the Brad Hill Radio Show, featuring the K-State baseball head coach, will return for the 2015 season at 6 p.m. on News Radio 1350 KMAN.
Hosted by the voices of K-State baseball Brian Smoller and Matt Walters, the hour-long show will be held every other Monday from March 23-May 18 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan. Fans are welcome to attend the live show and hear from Hill and select baseball players and coaches.
To continue reading about the Brad Hill Radio Show, please click here.
ROWING OPENS SEASON AT TULSA
K-State women's rowing kicks off its 2015 spring campaign with head-to-head competition against the University of Tulsa on the Verdigris River. Training for the past week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for their annual Spring Camp, the Wildcats will send out five boats - 1st Varsity 8, 2nd Varsity 8, 3rd Varsity 8, 4th Varsity 8 and 1st Varsity 4 - this Saturday to wrap up their visit.
This weekend's action will mark the second-straight season K-State has faced Tulsa in spring-opening competition. Last year the formerly Conference USA now-Big 12 foes went head-to-head at the Longhorn Invitational on Lady Bird Lake with the Wildcats notching victories in the 1st Novice 8, 2nd Varsity 4 and 2nd Varsity 8 races.
To continue reading about today's competition, please click here.
TENNIS EASES PAST WEST VIRGINIA
K-State women's tennis broke free of a three-match losing streak yesterday afternoon by blanking West Virginia, 4-0, at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium for the first Big 12 win under head coach Danielle Steinberg.
"Today was a good day overall," said Steinberg after the match. "We came out well in doubles and our No. 3 team took care of business early on, which took the pressure off of the other teams. The energy and intensity level was good and we carried it over to singles. We know we are tough to play at home and we have to feed off that confidence even more. Today needs to carry over to Sunday for another big match for us. We are hoping to get a big crowd for our last home match and Senior Day."
To continue reading about the Wildcats' first conference victory of 2015, please click here.