K-State cancels home opener, heads west to California for three-game series

Taylor Anderson, sophomore infielder, returns the ball to the field at the K-State vs. Baylor Baseball game on Apr. 17, 2014 at Tointon Family Stadium. The Wildcats took a victory of 8-2 against the bears. (Taylor Alderman | The Collegian)

K-State baseball will have to wait a little while longer for their home opener.

Mother Nature has forced the Wildcats to cancel their home opener this weekend against Eastern Illinois. Instead, K-State (4-4) will head west to take part in a three-game series against the University of California (5-3).

K-State head coach Brad Hill said he was disappointed in having to put off the first game of the season at Tointon Family Stadium. With the forecast calling for 9-12 inches of snow; however, Hill said he understands the circumstances call for the cancellation.

“We will adjust,” Hill said. “You have to do what you have to do. It’s scramble time; it’s trying to find the best spot where you felt like if you were going to spend the money. We were going to play and it looked like Berkeley, California was the best bet.”

The Bears will be the fifth Pac-12 team K-State has played this season. The Wildcats are coming off a 2-2 finish at the Big 12/Pac-12 Showdown last weekend.

K-State experienced both the downside and upside of late-game, clutch hitting in Arizona. The Wildcats lost twice on walk-off singles before finally winning on a walk-off single of their own. Senior outfielder Max Brown said he has seen a lot of tenacity in the Wildcats’ first eight games.

“It’s great to see the whole team just really into it, competing and fighting until that last out, last play,” Brown said. “We just have little baseball things we need to work on, but it’s just nice to have a good week of practice to fix those up.”

Sophomore pitcher Nate Greip (1-0) will make his third start of the season on Saturday, taking his 2.51 ERA against California right-handed pitcher Daulton Jefferies (1-1), who has a ERA of 3.86.

Greip is coming off his second-career complete game, giving up two runs in a win over Utah.

“Greip has been pretty good; (he has) shown us two good outings,” Hill said. “He overcame some adversity in his last game and did really well. Obviously he shows that he can go deep into a game. He’s a great, conditioned athlete; his maturity level seems to be up.”

On Sunday, K-State will send sophomore Colton Kalmus to the mound to take on Ryan Mason (1-0). Junior pitcher Corey Fischer will finish off the series on Monday against a Bear pitcher that is still to be announced.

The Wildcats are 0-4 against California all-time. First pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 8 p.m.