Three newcomers to watch ahead of the 2023 Wildcat baseball season

Infielder Roberto Pena takes an at-bat at a Feruary team practice. Pena enters his first year at Kansas State after playing at Florida, College of Central Florida and South Florida. (Photo Courtesy of Kendall Spencer of K-State Athletics)

Kansas State baseball reloads its roster following last-season losses on the mound and at the plate. Replacing starting pitchers Connor McCullough and Blake Adams was a priority, so the Wildcats brought in pitchers Owen Boerema and Mason Buss as a potential solution. For improvement with the team’s hitting, Roberto Pena brings in another bat with multiple years of college experience.

Roberto Pena

Traveling from the Sunshine State, Pena is expected to make an immediate impact after being named one of the team’s three captains. The Venezuela-born infielder transferred from South Florida after starting his career at Florida and playing a season at Central Florida.

Pena smashed 17 home runs, four triples and 14 doubles during his two seasons as a South Florida Bull. Although Pena hit .236 this past season, his college career batting average is .258, including a .330 at Central Florida during the COVID-19-shortened season.

Owen Boerema

Following a stellar career at the University of Northwestern in Minnesota, Owen Boerema could earn his way into the weekend starting rotation to accompany Griffin Hassall and captain Blake Corsentino. The 6-foot-5 left-handed pitcher earned Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year honors in the 2021-22 seasons at the Division III level, tossing a 1.88 ERA in 28 appearances. His play also earned him first team All-American honors by the NCCAA, ABCA and D-III baseball, according to K-State Athletics.

Mason Buss

K-State head coach Pete Hughes signed freshman pitcher Mason Buss as the No. 17 prospect from Wisconsin, according to Perfect Game.

With Corsentino and Hassal in and out of weekend rotations in 2022, pitching roles are likely flexible. Therefore, an open competition exists between last season’s mid-week starters, mid-game relievers and highly-touted signees like Buss.