Wildcats prepare for Super Regional

By Joel Jellison

After wrapping up the first regional title in school history on Sunday, the Kansas State baseball team used Monday — it’s day off — to do what it has all season.

The Wildcat players relaxed, hung out together and watched the final regional games on Monday evening before shifting its focus toward the Super Regionals this weekend against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore.

Big 12 Player of the Year Ross Kivett said he got a good chance to experience Manhattan in the summer.

“I played golf Monday, come out here Tuesday with a light practice and get ready for another weekend,” Kivett said. “There’s not as much traffic. I like when they’re (students) here because I’m a social guy and I enjoy it, but no complaints. You get through the Chipotle line and on the course easier.”

Kivett said the team took advantage of the 24-hour rule on Monday, not practicing for one full day after its weekend series ended. The Wildcats’ second baseman said they will treat this weekend like a Big 12 weekend.

The Super Regional is played as a best of three format, with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

K-State will be facing an Oregon State team that ranks second in the country with its pitching staff, and is the No. 3 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats hosted the No. 1-ranked staff in Arkansas and a top 10 staff in Bryant this past weekend, as well as playing against top 10 staffs in TCU and Oklahoma during the season.

K-State coach Brad Hill said his team will benefit from the tough pitching its faced so far this season.

“We’ve faced challenges all year long like this, we know what we’re going to be up against, it’s never easy,” he said. “It’s going to be can we compete, scratch off enough runs and will our pitching and defense be up the challenge?”

Hill said on Tuesday they had yet to seriously scout the Beavers, but would before they headed to Oregon on Thursday. Hill had taken a look at Oregon State’s stats though, and said he’d seen some numbers that caught his eye.

“You see a 13-1 and a 10-2, that’s pretty impressive,” he said. “Just reading a little bit about their last weekend, you know they are deep pitching. We’ve just heard a lot of rave reviews about how they don’t beat themselves.”

The Wildcats began this past weekend’s regional starting Levi MaVorhis in the opening game against Wichita State, and Joe Flattery and Blake McFadden followed against Bryant and Arkansas.

Hill indicated that order might not reflect what they will do this weekend, though, as he is yet to make a decision on the weekend rotation.

“We’re in TBA mode right now,” he said. “I’m going to sleep and dream and see if a vision of something is going to happen this weekend.”

King on the clock

K-State center fielder Jared King might be a little anxious this Thursday, when the MLB Draft begins.

King has been projected by numerous publications to get selected in the 2-4 rounds of the draft, meaning he could be selected prior to the Wildcats first game this weekend against Oregon State.

Hill, who noted several other guys might be drafted along with King, said it will be a first for the Wildcats to have a guy selected while they’re still playing.

“It will be kind of interesting,” he said. “Jared has done a great job of just going with the flow. He might be thinking about it a little bit, but his No. 1 focus is on what we’re doing in Corvallis (Ore.), and whatever happens, I’m glad it’s Thursday and not Saturday, but that’s what people this time of year have had to deal with for a long time.”

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