FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The K-State baseball team, coming off a 2013 season in which it won its first conference title in 80 years and reached the Super Regionals for the first time, has announced its slate of 55 regular season games in 2014. The new campaign kicks off on February 14 while the home portion of the schedule starts on February 28.
The schedule features five teams that reached last season’s regional round of the NCAA Tournament, four regular season conference champions and home games against in-state rivals Wichita State and Kansas. Nonconference opponents include Cal Poly, San Francisco, Portland, St. Mary’s, UC Davis, Milwaukee, Nebraska, Iowa, Omaha, Northern Colorado, Air Force, Creighton, Wichita State and Bakersfield. The total of 22 opponents combined to go 654-582 (.529) last season.
“Coming off a season of firsts – which has helped generate incredible amounts of enthusiasm and passion shown by our fans and an unprecedented increase in season ticket sales – we are excited to announce a slate of games in which our student-athletes will be challenged in nonconference and Big 12 action,” said head coach Brad Hill. “Most importantly, the schedule will help us look to improve upon last year’s success. Our goal is to compete at a high level day in and day out, with Omaha as the endpoint. Our 55-game schedule, from our first road trip to California to our last home series against Big 12 foe Texas, will test us against championship-level opponents all season long. We cannot wait to start the season, especially our home opener in front of K-State fans at Tointon Family Stadium on February 28.”
K-State returns 19 letterwinners from last year’s squad that helped the program reach new heights. In addition to the Big 12 regular season title, the Wildcats set a school record for wins (45) and were atop the Big 12 in several offensive categories, including runs, batting average and stolen bases. Key returnees include 2013 Big 12 Player of the Year and All-American Ross Kivett, All-Big 12 First Team members Shane Conlon, Austin Fisher and Blair DeBord, and Big 12 Freshman of the Year Jake Matthys.
Season tickets are on sale now, starting for as low as $2 a ticket per game. Single-game tickets will go on sale at a later date.
The season gets underway with a 10-day stretch of firsts for K-State. The Wildcats will head west and begin their campaign in the state of California for the third time in the last four seasons. K-State will match up against Cal Poly in a three-game series from February 14-16 for the first meetings between the two programs in San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly reached the NCAA Regionals in 2013 after notching a school record 40 wins.
After the series at Cal Poly, the Wildcats head north to face another NCAA Regional participant, University of San Francisco, for a game on February 18 in San Francisco. K-State wraps up its trip to the Golden State with four games in the Gael Invitational, including two contests against host St. Mary’s (February 21 and 23). The Wildcats will also face Portland and UC Davis during the four-day tournament. K-State has not faced St. Mary’s (CA), San Francisco or UC Davis before in baseball.
The 28-game home schedule kicks off on February 28 when the Wildcats take on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the first contest of a three-game series. UW-Milwaukee captured the Horizon League regular season championship in 2013.
After a quick trip to Lincoln, Neb. on March 4 to take on Nebraska – the first of three games against the Cornhuskers over the season – the Wildcats will enter a nine-game homestand from March 7-19. The homestand starts with a three-game series against Iowa from March 7-9 and also includes a mid-week matchup against Omaha on March 12 and a brief two-game set against Air Force on March 18 and 19. The Wildcats face Northern Colorado in a three-game series at Tointon Family Stadium from March 14-16. Northern Colorado will begin its first season in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) after capturing the now-defunct Great West’s regular season championship in 2013.
The Wildcats’ Big 12 slate gets underway from March 21-23 when K-State travels to Norman, Okla. to take on Oklahoma. The Sooners reached last year’s Super Regional round – joining K-State as the only Big 12 teams to do so – after Oklahoma won the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Tournament in Oklahoma City.
The Wildcats welcome Nebraska to Tointon Family Stadium on Wednesday, March 26 for the only game against the Cornhuskers in Manhattan during the season.
After facing Nebraska in Kansas, the Wildcats head to the Cornhusker State’s largest city to take on Creighton (March 28-30) and Omaha (April 1) in Omaha. Creighton joined the BIG EAST over the summer and it will be the first time K-State has faced a team from the BIG EAST since 2010.
K-State and Kansas will renew their rivalry in baseball when the Sunflower Showdown takes place in Manhattan from April 4-6. The Wildcats swept the Jayhawks in a three-game set in Lawrence in 2013.
To wrap up a five-game homestand, the Wildcats will face another in-state rival Wichita State on April 8. K-State takes on the Shockers, who were defeated by the Wildcats in the Manhattan Regional last season, in Wichita on May 6 for the final regular season matchup against Wichita State.
The Wildcats return to Big 12 action from April 11-13 against Texas Tech in Lubbock followed by another road game at Nebraska on April 15.
K-State starts its second five-game homestand in the month of April when it takes on Baylor from April 17-19. The homestand ends with a two-game set against Bakersfield on April 21-22. The Roadrunners won the WAC’s regular season championship last season.
The Wildcats’ second-longest stretch of road games of the season begins on April 25 at West Virginia. K-State will face the Mountaineers for a three-game set at Hawley Field in Morgantown. The following weekend, May 2-4, K-State faces TCU in a three-game set of conference games in Fort Worth. The May 6 game at Wichita State completes the seven-straight road games for the Wildcats.
K-State completes its 2014 home and regular season schedule with back-to-back series against Oklahoma State and Texas from May 9-11 and May 16-18, respectively, in Manhattan. Oklahoma State joined K-State and Oklahoma as the three Big 12 teams that reached the NCAA Regional round in 2013.
The Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Tournament is set for May 21-25 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.