K-State baseball ready to kick off 2016 season

K-State Athletics Communications

Watch highlights from Kansas State University baseball's first practice of the season. (Video: K-State Athletics)

It’s a new year, a new season, and K-State baseball is ready to get back to work. 

After kicking off the season with a road trip Feb. 19-28 at UC Riverside and against Oregon State and Utah in the Big 12/Pac-12 Challenge held in Surprise, Arizona, the Wildcat baseball squad will face several other non-conference challengers before beginning conference play March 24 at home versus Oklahoma State. 

“We have a great mindset heading into the season,” said senior right-handed pitcher Corey Fischer. “I feel like we’re ready to go. We had a really strong fall, so now we’re just putting on the finishing touches and really focusing on coming together as a team.” 

K-State head coach Brad Hill said he likes the team’s mentality and focus heading into the 2016 season, and, although he hasn’t worked with his team much since its fall camp, he was happy to see that each and every one of them took it upon themselves to stay in shape during the winter months. 

“Right now for me, everything is about conditioning, and when our guys came back everybody passed the conditioning test,” Hill said. “That’s a huge positive. Everybody passing on the first try, that hasn’t happened in a few years, so that’s always a good, good sign.” 

This year’s Wildcat baseball team features 13 freshmen, two sophomores, nine juniors and eight seniors, the largest senior class for the program since 2006. While there are more seniors than usual on the roster, there also are quite a few freshmen who will be looked upon to make an impact early on. 

“Our freshmen are going to have to play, some of them are going to have to play a lot and contribute for us to be successful this year,” Hill said. “But our older guys have done a pretty good job so far of taking the younger guys under their wing and showing them how to go about their business. They’ve been very positive with them and are trying to be a good example from a preparation standpoint. This game is all about preparation and how you go about preparing, and I think our older guys do a pretty good job with that.” 

K-State enters the 2016 season coming off a campaign where it went 27-30 overall (10-14 in Big 12 play). Despite capping off its season with a close 3-1 loss to Oklahoma at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship, K-State was playing some of its best baseball at the end of the season. The Wildcats hope to carry that momentum into this upcoming year. 

“I hope we take the confidence we finished last season with [and carry it with] us into this season,” Hill said. “We played with a lot of confidence and were more comfortable in the last five weeks of the [2015] season. It took us some time to get there, unfortunately — we went through some growing pains — but when we got to the Big 12 tournament, we were playing some really good baseball.” 

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