K-State baseball picked first in Big 12 poll

By The Mercury

For the first time in program history, the Kansas State baseball team has been selected first in the Big 12 preseason poll, voted by league coaches.

Defending Big 12 champion K-State had never been picked higher than fifth (2011) in the annual preseason coaches poll.

The Wildcats received five first-place votes — their first time ever receiving first-place votes in the poll’s 16-year history — totaling 56 points. Including K-State, four schools received first-place votes — Oklahoma State (2), TCU (2) and Texas (1).

K-State finished five points ahead of the Cowboys and Horned Frogs, who tied for second.  Only six points separated first through fourth-place.

Texas was fourth, followed by Oklahoma, baylor and West Virginia at No. 7. Texas Tech was picked eighth, followed by the Jayhawks, who were in last.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.

K-State was selected seventh in last season’s preseason poll before winning the Big 12 title with a 16-8 record in conference play.

The Wildcats were the first team in the Big 12 to be picked seventh or worse in the preseason poll and win the regular season championship.

The Wildcats are the fourth team to move six spots or higher in the preseason poll from one year to the next.

The preseason favorite has gone on to win the Big 12 regular season championship on five occasions, with the last being Texas in 2010.

Four preseason favorites have won the postseason tournament, which will once again in Oklahoma City this season.

The Wildcats, ranked as high as No. 18 in national preseason polls, return 19 letterwinners from last season’s Super Regional team.

K-State features returning starting infielders Shane Conlon, Ross Kivett, Austin Fisher and RJ Santigate, as well as starting catcher Blair DeBord.

The 2014 season starts Feb. 14 at Cal Poly, while the home opener at Tointon Family Stadium is Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. against Milwaukee.

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