11 NCAA Tournament Teams Highlight 2002 K-State Baseball Schedule

Junior OF Pat Maloney is one of four starters returning for the 2002 season.

Oct. 31, 2001

Manhattan, Kan. - Eleven NCAA Tournament teams, including defending national champion Miami (Fla.) and College World Series participant Nebraska, highlight the 2002 Kansas State University baseball schedule released by university officials Wednesday.

In addition to the Hurricanes and Cornhuskers, the 59-game schedule features battles with NCAA Tournament participants Baylor, Florida International, Kent State, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma State, Rutgers, Texas, Texas Tech and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In all, the schedule includes 23 games with NCAA Regional teams and 16 contests with teams ranked in the final 2001 Baseball America Top 25 and/or Collegiate Baseball Top 30 polls. Last season, the Big 12 posted the second-most selections to the 64-team NCAA Tournament with five bids, trailing only the Southeastern Conference (nine) for the most conference bids to the postseason tournament.

"We tried to put together a competitive schedule that will prepare us for the rigors of Big 12 Conference play," said 16-year head baseball coach Mike Clark. "We also wanted a schedule that allows our team to find some locations early where we can ensure we are going to get some games in. With the number of new guys that we brought in this fall, we needed a schedule that would give our team some valuable experience before heading into conference action."

Kansas State will face an always difficult 27-game Big 12 Conference slate. The Wildcats open conference play March 22 with a three-game series against NCAA Regional participant Oklahoma State at the recently-renovated Frank Myers Field in Manhattan. K-State also entertains Nebraska, Texas and Baylor at "the Frank" for three-game series in league play. The team begins the road portion of their league season on April 12 with a three-game series against Texas Tech at Dan Law Field in Lubbock. The Wildcats also make visits to Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Missouri. The Kansas-Kansas State series will continue its format adopted a season ago, as the two teams will play the first of a three-game series in Lawrence on Friday, May 18, while the two remaining games will be contested in Manhattan.

In addition to the five Big 12 series, the 30-game home schedule includes a four-game series with Western Illinois, a three-game series with Air Force and two-game series with Arkansas-Little Rock, C.W. Post and Northern Iowa. The Wildcats also face single-game tests from regional foes Creighton, Southern Nazarene and Wichita State. Kansas State will open its 102nd season of baseball, including 16th year under Clark, when the Wildcats host Air Force on Feb. 8.

Kansas State will participate in three tournaments during the 2002 season. The Wildcats make two trips to the Sunshine State during the spring, first for the Homestead Challenge in Homestead, Fla., on Feb. 22-24 against the likes of Liscomb (Tenn.), Saint Francis (N.Y.), defending NCAA champion Miami and Florida International before spending Spring Break in Boca Raton, Fla. on March 14-20 against Miami-Ohio, Wagner, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Cornell and Rutgers. K-State will also compete in the Wiregrass Baseball Classic in Dothan, Ala., on March 1-3 against NCAA Regional participant Kent State, host Troy State and Pac-10 foe Washington State.

Kansas State is looking to build on the successes of the 2001 season, in which, the Wildcats came within a game and a half of making the Big 12 Tournament for the first time in school history. Despite playing one of the nation's toughest schedules, K-State amassed a 25-28 overall record and a 10-17 mark in Big 12 play that included wins over defending national champion LSU and NCAA Tournament participants Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. The Wildcats return four starters and 12 lettermen in 2002, including first team All-Big 12 selection Pat Maloney and honorable mention all-conference pick Osmar Castillo.

For ticket information, contact the Kansas State Athletic Ticket Office at (785) 532-7606 or (800) 221-CATS.