K-State Starts 2014 Season at Cal Poly
K-State Starts 2014 Season at Cal Poly
Feb. 13, 2014
Rankings: No. 18 (NCBWA), No. 21 (USA Today Coaches), No. 22 (Baseball America)
Head Coach: Brad Hill
Record at K-State: 338-243-3/10 years
Rankings: No. 29 (NCBWA), No. 27 (Collegiate Baseball)
Head Coach: Larry Lee
Record at Cal Poly: 349-272-2/12 years
Series at Cal Poly
Friday, Feb. 14 - First Pitch: 6 PM PT/8 PM CT
RHP Levi MaVorhis (5-0, 4.77) vs. LHP Matt Imhoff (7-3, 2.47)
Saturday, Feb. 15 - First Pitch: 6 PM PT/8 PM CT
LHP Jared Moore (4-0, 3.73) vs. RHP Slater Lee (Freshman)
Sunday, Feb. 16 - First Pitch: 1 PM PT/3 PM CT
RHP Jordan Witcig (0-0, 3.68) vs. RHP Casey Bloomquist (6-2, 5.02)
The 114th season in K-State baseball history gets underway on Friday. Just like last season ended unlike any K-State season before it, the 2014 campaign has already seen the Wildcats establish new program-firsts.
When K-State faces Cal Poly on Feb. 14 at 8 pm (CT) in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the Wildcats will be boasting preseason rankings from five different national organizations, including four top-25 nods.
The Wildcats were one win away from reaching college baseball's mecca last season, but nonetheless, K-State still captured its first conference championship in 80 years, hosted its first NCAA Regional, won its first NCAA Regional and played in its first NCAA Super Regional.
Since the season ended last June, excitement and expectations have been growing for the Wildcats' upcoming campaign.
K-State is ranked as high as No. 18 in national preseason polls. Along with a No. 21 ranking in the USA Today Coaches Poll and a No. 22 placing in Baseball America's preseason poll, the Wildcats are able to call themselves a top-25 team before a season's first pitch for the first time.
The Wildcats have garnered the preseason attention due in part to 19 returning letterwinners from last year's Big 12 championship-winning squad. Within the 19 returners, all four starting infielders and starting catcher Blair DeBord provide experience and veteran leadership.
Also among the 19 are preseason All-Americans Ross Kivett and Jake Matthys. Kivett, who hit a grand slam with four preseason All-American nods, returns to second base and the leadoff spot of K-State's lineup. The Big 12 Player of the Year will be complemented by Matthys, last year's closer who set K-State freshman records for wins and saves. The Minnesota native was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year, the first Wildcat to earn the conference honor.
K-State's season starts in the state of California for the third time in the last four years but for the first time at Baggett Stadium. Cal Poly, a Regional team from last year that finished second in the Big West conference, also features 19 returning letterwinners, including eight position players that started at least 20 games last season. Friday's starter, left-hander Matt Imhoff, is one of seven returning pitchers.
- K-State trails in the all-time series against Cal Poly, 1-2. The two programs met last season in Manhattan, where the Mustangs won the first two games of the series before the Wildcats salvaged a win in the series in the finale.
- The Wildcats have won two of the first three games in four of their last five seasons. K-State won two of three in the first series in 2009, 2010 and 2013 while it swept Pacific in 2011. The last time K-State did not come out of its opening weekend with a winning record was 2012.
- K-State has won five straight season openers and seven of its last eight. The last time the Wildcats lost their season opener was in 2008 (at California).
- K-State is 8-5 in the state of California since 2011.
- Levi MaVorhis will become the first K-State sophomore to start the season opener since Brad Hutt in 2006. MaVorhis made six starts in his freshman campaign, including four Friday starts to end the season.
- The K-State infield features All-Big 12 First Team selections from last year Shane Conlon (first base), Kivett (second base), Austin Fisher (shortstop) and Blair DeBord (catcher).
- Ross Kivett was named the second-best prospect among college seniors by Baseball America.