Wildcats look to rebound in home opener

Junior Shane Conlon hits a pop fly to left field in the second inning of the Wildcats' 3-2 defeat of Iowa Mar. 7, 2014 at Tointon Family Stadium. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

After a rocky, impromptu road trip last weekend in California, the K-State baseball team looks to find their bearings in its home opener against Santa Clara.

K-State was outscored 19-5 in the three-game series against the University of California, which was scheduled in place of a home series due to weather.

“I was very concerned about losing three games last weekend, because the competitive nature of the last two games weren’t at the level that they needed to be,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “I was hoping to see (the competitive nature) like we played the weekend before, which is probably why I chose to go to California.”

Junior outfielder Danny Krause had the best weekend overall in what proved to be a poor hitting performance by the Wildcats as a team. Krause extended his hitting streak to eight games against California. He also holds the team’s best batting average at .343.

With K-State starting the first game of an eight-game homestand today, Hill said he hopes to see some consistency from his young team.

“You hope you can get into more of a rhythm and get some guys going a little big,” Hill said. “We’re not doing anything great right now. Our team fielding percentage is not good, we’re not scoring very many runs a game, we’re giving up big innings. That probably why we sit with the record that we do right now. But those are all things that can get corrected.”

K-State starts the series off today with sophomore right-hander Nate Griep (1-1, 3.05 ERA) against the Broncos’ Jacob Steffins (2-1, 3.20 ERA).

The Wildcats are 0-1 against the Broncos with the one game coming in a 9-2 loss at Santa Clara in February 2008.

“Santa Clara is a very good club,” Hill said. “Much better than what they’re record shows. Last year I know their record wasn’t very sparkling, but anytime you can take one game from No. 1 Vanderbilt and possibly could have had two, then you’re a team who has potential. So they’re kind of like us, we’re a team that has potential. We’ve shown that we can play with some pretty good people and shown we can get beat by anybody.”

K-State sends sophomore Colton Kalmus (0-1, 2.70 ERA) to the mound on Saturday against sophomore Peter Hendron (1-0, 6.14 ERA), and wraps up the series with junior Corey Fischer (1-1, 2.97 ERA) versus freshman Kevin George (1-0, 1.88 ERA).

First pitch today is slated for 3 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium.

Tim Everson was born in Wichita, KS in 1994. Before fifth grade he moved up to Manhattan for one year before settling in Riley, KS where he graduated from Riley County High School in 2012. Tim has worked for the Collegian since spring of 2014 and took over as Sports Editor during the summer of 2015. Tim loves sports, music, movies and good food when he can get it.