The K-State baseball team finished its phenomenal 2009 season Monday when the Wildcats lost to Rice, ranked sixth in the nation, in the Houston Regional of the NCAA College World Series The Wildcats (43-18-1, 14-11-1 Big 12 Conference) finish the season ranked 14th in the country and with a number of individual accolades.
Record-breaking was a common theme throughout the season as head coach Brad Hill led the team to its first-ever regional with 41 wins. Beating Xavier and Rice once, K-State advanced to the championship game before being knocked out of the tournament with two losses to the Owls. At the end of play, four Wildcats were named to the All-Houston Regional team – senior Jordan Cruz, juniors A.J. Morris and Justin Bloxom and freshman Nick Martini.
Adding to an already long list of accomplishments, Morris was named as one of five finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, which honors the top college baseball player in the country, by USA Baseball on Tuesday. Morris hurled his way to the top of the K-State books this year with single-season records of 14 wins and 100 strikeouts, and is the first Wildcat since 1992 to become a first-team All-American. The winner of the Golden Spikes Award will be announced July 14 at MLB’s All-Star FanFest in St. Louis.
The team as a whole also made waves nationally, ranking in the top 25 in triples (22), double plays (64) and win-loss percentage (.702), while finishing second in total stolen bases with 149.
K-State will lose six seniors – Cruz, Drew Biery, Lance Hoge, Rob Vaughn, Todd Vogel and Dane Yelovich. While these seniors played crucial roles this season, the importance of underclassmen to the Cats’ success bodes well for Hill and his 2010 squad.