K-State begins Big 12 home slate against West Virginia

Senior infielder Shane Conlon tries to tag out Missouri State sophomore outfielder Blake Graham out during the first game of the series on March 13, 2015 at Tointon Family Stadium. The Cats won the first opener 4-0. (File Photo by Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

After two-straight weekends on the road, K-State baseball (12-14, 1-5) returns home for their Big 12 home opener today against West Virginia (16-10, 2-4).

The Wildcats are coming off a 2-1 series loss against No. 12 Oklahoma State. K-State won the series opener — their first Big 12 win of the season — thanks to a dominant performance by senior infielder Shane Conlon, who drove in three of the Wildcats’ four runs including a home run.

“A lot of it is experience and getting back where he (Conlon) was a couple years ago,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “I thought last year (Conlon) was in a ‘try too hard mode,’ and he wasn’t the Shane that we know. He’s getting back to trying to do the little things.”

West Virginia is coming off a win over rival Pittsburgh and has taken one game a piece from both Texas and Baylor on the road this season.

“They’re well coached, number one,” Hill said, referring to the Mountaineers. “They’re kind of starting over a little bit. They had a lot of kids leave with graduation and the draft. They play extremely hard and they’re very confident in themselves. They play with no fear.”

Hill added that it’s important for the Wildcats to get off to a strong start against the Mountaineers.

“They play with a lot of emotion,” he said. “We’ll have to handle that. They’ll try to be kind of the intimidators, and we’re going to have to be able to stand up to that and play with some toughness ourselves.”

Sophomore Colton Kalmus (0-2, ERA 4.11) will take the mound for K-State against freshman Conner Dotson (0-2, ERA 3.33) of West Virginia.

Last time out, Kalmus did not factor into the Wildcats 4-3 win over Oklahoma State, having only pitched four innings and allowing two runs on three hits.

K-State has not announced starters for the rest of the series, but West Virginia will send junior Ross Vance (3-2, ERA 3.45) to the bump on Friday and sophomore Chad Donato (4-3, ERA 1.50) on Saturday.

First pitch today is slated for 6:30 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.