With Home Series Cancelled, Bat Cats Head West

Taking on the California Golden Bears (5-3) at Evans Diamond in Berkeley, California, the Wildcats will begin play tomorrow evening with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. (PT). 
"We won't be playing at home against Eastern Illinois. That's what we wanted to be doing, but we're not, so we have to flip the switch and get focused on heading out west and playing another Pac-12 opponent," said head coach Brad Hill on Tuesday afternoon immediately after learning his team was officially headed to California. "They're going to be really good and they're playing on their home yard. So, we lose three home games and get three away games, and that's not easy against a quality opponent."
Along with Saturday evening's game, K-State will play Sunday at 1 p.m. (PT) and Monday at 10 a.m. (PT). 
"We just found out we're headed to California, and it's interesting, but this team takes it game by game. I think we're ready for the challenge," said Wildcat senior Carter Yagi, who is leading the squad with a .333 batting average. "It's the same preparation. We do a pretty good job of preparing for each opponent every week, so we just have to go out there this weekend and play our game."
Overall, Cal leads the series against K-State, 4-0, and the last time the two teams faced off was in 2011 where K-State lost, 8-1, at the Caravelle Resort's Baseball at the Beach tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
"They're a good team that's always pitched extremely well," said Hill when asked about Cal's style of play. "They're going to have really good arms, which will be a challenging thing for us. They're going to do a lot of California-type things - hit and run, drag, push, slash, a lot of pickoff-type things - so we're going to have to be really ready for everything that they'll throw at us. It'll be a nice challenge."
Having seen their fair share of the Pac-12 already during this 2015 season, the Wildcats are coming off of a trip to Arizona where they went 2-2 at the Big 12/Pac-12 Challenge. The Wildcats earned wins over Utah (3-2) and Washington State (12-3) but suffered a pair of one-run losses to Oregon State (10-9) and Washington (6-5). 
"I think at the (Big 12/Pac-12 Challenge), if you graded effort and competitiveness, we were at a high level," said Hill. "The baseball side of it, we probably didn't do some things where we could have gotten out of that thing with three, maybe even four wins, but they played hard, they competed and they didn't quit. We were down 6-0 to Oregon State and came back to take the lead."
Though the Wildcats didn't have enough to muster up wins against Oregon State and Washington, losing both games in walk-off fashion, the Wildcats were right there both times. It showed the team had fight, grit and that it had grown since the beginning of the season. 
"I think we're playing at a very high level," added Yagi. "Everyone is competing, and everyone knows their roles. I like the way we're competing. We fought back in some close games last week and that was good to see."
K-State's home opener will now take place on Friday, March 6, against Santa Clara at 3 p.m. The Wildcats and Broncos will play a three-game series, which kicks off an eight-game home stand. 
For fans who already purchased tickets for this weekend's home series against Eastern Illinois, the tickets can be redeemed for a future K-State home game this season, based on availability.
Season and single-game tickets are available now for the 26-game home schedule and both options can be purchased by visiting www.k-statesports.com/tickets, calling 1-800-221-CATS (2287), or stopping by the K-State Athletics Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum.

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