Baseball opens tournament at Coastal Carolina after Pacific wins

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Several K-State students are starting to figure out their spring break plans, but the Wildcat baseball team is taking a trip to the beach a little early.

K-State will play Thursday at the Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach tournament in South Carolina. The four-day tournament is set to take place in Myrtle Beach and Conway. The Wildcats will face four different teams during their stay, starting with Thursday’s matchup against Coastal Carolina.

Under head coach Brad Hill, the Wildcats are off to a 3-0 start in 2011 after earning a three-game sweep over Pacific in Stockton, California last weekend. It was just the second time in team history that K-State opened a season with a sweep on the road, with the first occurrence coming way back in 1959. Hill’s squad will try to keep its road record perfect against a Chanticleer team that has won three of its first four contests to open the season.

During their first three games, the Wildcats have been led at the plate by junior outfielder Nick Martini. The 2010 Big 12 Player of the Year and 2011 preseason All-American currently owns a .455 batting average in 11 at-bats this season. Freshman outfielder Jared King is also off to a hot start, as he’s begun his collegiate career with a .429 batting average and three runs batted in.

Coastal Carolina only has one player hitting above .400 this season (catcher Tucker Frawley, .429), but run production has come from all across the Chanticleers’ roster throughout their first four games. Outfielder Hayes Orton and second baseman Tommy La Stella currently lead the offensive charge with five and four RBIs, respectively.

Junior pitcher Kyle Hunter will make his second start of the season for the Wildcats. In his first outing, he held Pacific to two runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings of work. The Illinois native is still in search of his first win of the season after earning a no-decision against the Tigers. Despite working without one of its top relievers in senior Thomas Rooke, who is out for the season with an injury, the K-State bullpen allowed just two runs in a combined 13 innings in the first three games of the year.

First pitch for today’s game is set for 3 p.m. at Myrtle Beach’s BB&T Coastal Field. Fans interested in following the action can catch a live radio broadcast on the K-State Sports Network. Live stats will also be available at k-statesports.com.

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