June 10, 2013; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers catcher Jake Rodriguez (13) prepares to tag out Kansas State Wildcats player Blair DeBord (9) in the 8th inning of the Corvallis Super Regional at Goss Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Opening day for the Kansas State baseball team is just around the corner.
“Practices couldn’t have gotten here quick enough as far as I’m concerned,” said head coach Brad Hill told kstatesports.com. “I’ve been anxiously awaiting the start of this season.”
The Wildcats began practice on Friday, Jan. 23 for the upcoming season.
Just two years removed from a trip the Super Regionals, the ‘Cats look to bounce back from a 25-30 season.
If the Wildcats want to make it back to the postseason, they will have to do it with a team that will feature 22 newcomers, a group that includes 13 transfers and nine freshmen.
“With the influx of new kids, new faces, the exciting thing about that is that there’s a lot of excitement and a lot of enthusiasm,” Hill said. “There’s a lot of teaching going on, so we’re so actively involved in everything it seems like this year. There’s some anxiousness with the newness, and we’re not sure how kids are going to respond and all, but I sure like the energy that they’re bringing. They’re very attentive to what we’re trying to teach because it’s all new to them.”
K-State will return 14 letterwinners from last year’s squad, led by a group of three seniors, Max Brown, Shane Conlon and Carter Yagi.
Brown ended the season starting 16 of the final 19 games and batted a .380 during that stretch.
Conlon is coming off a 2014 campaign in which he had a career-high 29 RBIs to go along with his .296 batting average, 11 extra-base hits and eight stolen bases.
Yagi, meanwhile, finished the season batting .261 with 16 RBIs and six stolen bases while also logging time at four different defensive positions.
The team also returns six pitchers, led by the trio of juniors Nate Williams and Levi MaVorhis along with redshirt sophomore Nate Griep.
Griep and MaVorhis combined to make 23 starts last year.
MaVorhis paced the team in innings pitched (84 1/3), wins (6) and complete games (2), while Griep had a 4.66 ERA in his first season.
Meanwhile, Williams is a former All-Big 12 Freshman Team selection who has a 2.99 career ERA.
The season gets underway on Friday, February 13 with the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida. After four games in three days against the likes of Iowa, Pittsburgh, George Mason and Saint Louis, the Wildcats will play four games in the Big 12/Pac-12 Showdown in Arizona the following weekend before opening their 29-game home schedule on Friday, February 27 against Eastern Illinois.