MANHATTAN, Kan. – Ten teams that qualified for the 2007 NCAA tournament, including two that advanced to the College World Series, highlights a 56-game slate as the 2008 Kansas State baseball schedule was announced by head coach Brad Hill on Thursday.
Of the 56 games, 29 make up one of the most exciting home schedules in recent memory, which features 20 games against opponents that advanced to regional play in 2007 and three against College World Series participants UC-Irvine and Arizona State.
“This is one of the tougher schedules we’ve put together since I’ve been here,” said Hill, who is entering his fifth year at the helm of the program. “We wanted to challenge our kids more and prepare ourselves for postseason play, and this schedule should give us a good indication of where this program is at.”
The 2008 season gets underway on Feb. 22 in Berkeley, Calif., as the Wildcats will have two games with California – one of three Pac 10 teams on the schedule – and Santa Clara. Following the trip to Berkeley, K-State travels to Beaumont, Texas, on Feb. 28-March 2, for games with Arkansas State, Michigan State and host school Lamar. The Wildcats will then make a four-hour trip west for two games at UT-San Antonio.
Kansas State opens up its home schedule with four games against MAAC champion and NCAA tournament qualifier LeMoyne on March 7-9, followed by one game against Washington State on March 11 before opening up conference play on March 14-16 against Nebraska. The conference opener against Nebraska at Tointon Stadium marks the first time since 2002 that the Wildcats have opened conference play at home.
Following a two-game series in Provo, Utah, against Brigham Young on March 18 and 19, the Wildcats will begin a nine-game home stand – their longest of the season – with three games against Binghamton on March 21-23, one game against Creighton on March 26, its second conference opponent in Oklahoma State on March 28-30, and a two-game series against Central Arkansas on April 1 and 2.
K-State will hit the road in conference play for the first time on April 4-6 as it heads to College Station to take on Texas A&M, the first of seven-straight games against teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament. Following the three in College Station, K-State will host Wichita State on April 8 and Baylor on April 11-13, before heading to Omaha, Neb., to face Creighton on April 15.
After a weekend series at Texas Tech on April 18-20, Kansas State will hit a tough 10-game stretch, which includes home dates with UC-Irvine and Arizona State. K-State will face Irvine in a two-game series on April 22-23 and ASU in one game on May 6. Sandwiched between those two opponents is a home series against Texas on April 25-27, a trip to Wichita, Kan., to face Wichita State on April 29, and a road series at Missouri on May 2-4.
The Wildcats will finish their season with conference dates at Oklahoma on May 9-11 and a split series against Kansas, with the May 16 game in Lawrence, Kan., and the May 17 and 18 games in Manhattan.
The 2008 Big 12 Championship will be conducted May 21-25 at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Okla.