Three weeks prior to the 2013 college baseball season, the Kansas State baseball team began preparations for the 113th year in program history Friday with a two-hour workout at Tointon Family Stadium.
Over the next 21 days, the Wildcats will conduct 17 practices before their season-opening weekend at The Citadel Memorial Challenge Feb.15-17, held at Riley Park in Charleston, S.C. The Wildcats open the season against High Point before taking on The Citadel and George Mason to close out the weekend.
K-State brings back 15 letterwinners, including a pair of All-Big 12 performers in junior Jared King and senior Tanner Witt. The Wildcats have plenty of experience returning in the field, as six of the nine players in last year’s starting lineup are back, as well as eight pitchers from a team that advanced to the postseason for a sixth-straight season.
Both King and Witt have earned honors prior to the season as King was named a Second Team All-American by Perfect Game and a First Team All-Big 12 performer by College Sports Madness. Witt was a second team all-conference preseason pick by College Sports Madness.
Along with Witt, the Wildcats will be led by three other seniors in outfielder Jon Davis and pitchers Jake Doller and Joe Flattery.
K-State also boasts a strong, experienced junior class that includes King, catcher Blair DeBord, infielders Ross Kivett and RJ Santigate, and pitchers Gerardo Esquivel and Jared Moore.
Brad Hill, who ranks seventh among active coaches with a career winning percentage of .692, enters his 10th year at the helm of the Wildcats and is just seven wins shy of becoming the second coach in school history with 300 victories.
Pitching coach Josh Reynolds is back for his third year, while 2013 will be the first season for hitting coach Mike Clement, a former assistant on the Texas A&M staff.
Following play at The Citadel Memorial Challenge, the Wildcats return to South Carolina the next weekend to take part in “Baseball at the Beach” at TicketReturn.com Field in Myrtle Beach.
K-State faces host school Coastal Carolina on Feb.22 before taking on Elon on Feb. 23, and Kentucky on Feb. 24.
The Wildcats open their 31-game home slate and a 19-game homestand with a three-game series against Oakland, March 1-3. The homestand also includes the start of Big 12 play, March 15-17, as the Wildcats welcome conference newcomer West Virginia to Tointon Family Stadium.