It sure doesn’t feel like baseball season, but here we are. At 3pm this afternoon, live on KMAN and KStateHD.tv audio, the BatCats will begin the 2018 season at the Brittain Resorts Baseball on the Beach event in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The opening day opponent: the South Alabama Jaguars.
The Cats will play two on Saturday as they face Indiana and the hosts (and 2016 College World Series champions) from Coastal Carolina, and then finish on Sunday with an early game against Virginia Tech.
Of course, the real question this year will be whether the team once again performs well in the non-conference schedule and then pulls a Lucy to our Charlie Brown. Things have been bleak since the 2013 Big 12 title run, and with college baseball it’s legitimately hard to tell whether the team’s going to be good or not until late March.
In yesterday’s Sports Extra, Corbin McGuire previews the season, and the term “dirt bags” is thrown around a lot. Come on, guys, that’s Long Beach State’s unofficial nickname.
If we’ve got football ahead of the winter sports in a February Slate, it must be important. Kellis Robinett, working off an initial report from GoPowercat, reports that K-State is taking aim at Tulsa’s co-defensive coordinator Brian Norwood to take over coaching the defensive backs from the retired Tom Hayes. No word on whether this means he’ll share coordinator duties with the newly-promoted Blake Seiler.
One minor red flag, for us: Norwood’s career stops include working for both Joe Paterno and Art Briles at Penn State and Baylor, the latter as Briles’ assistant head coach.
Meanwhile, 247’s Gabe Brooks reports that K-State has been busy in the Houston exurb of Katy. Three Taylor High School recruits reported offers from K-State, one of them a four-star. That would be defensive end Braedon Mowry, who’s also got a raft of offers from places like Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Michigan. The others: three-star offensive lineman Andrew Coker and unrated 2021 offensive lineman Bryce Foster, who Bill Snyder’s staff must be high on to be offering as a current freshman.
Tomorrow, the Cats take on Iowa State in a game which could very well leave K-State needing only one more win to ensure a break-even conference record. The Clones are Very Not Good away from Hilton this season, so as long as the decent Cats show up it shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Luke Thompson checks in with this week’s edition of Tournament Thursday, noting that simply doing what they’re supposed to the rest of the way will result in a 10-8 mark.
Kamau Stokes hasn’t worked his way back into the starting five, but that’s okay: per McGuire in today’s Sports Extra, that just means K-State’s thin bench is getting better.
The Cats are not, however, reeling in the classroom. Pretty much the entire non-freshman contingent of the opening day roster earned Academic All-Big 12 recognition yesterday, so congrats to first-team honorees Kayla Goth, Kaylee Page, Peyton Williams, and Shaelyn Martin... as well as mid-season retiree and current student assistant Karyla Middlebrook, who still earned second-team honors despite stepping off the court due to injury.
Track & Field
The Big 12 Indoors are next weekend in Ames, making this weekend the perfect time for a tune-up. And what better place for a tune-up than an event which is actually named the Nebraska Tune-Up? The squad will not post a heavy presence in Lincoln today, as none of the big names will be putting in an appearance.
Coach Cliff Rovelto is basically sending athletes who haven’t yet posted nationally-qualifying marks while most of those who have stay home to train. Exceptions: Brett Neelly will compete in the men’s shot, Helene Ingvaldsen and Mitch Dixon will appear in their respective weight throw events, Ariel Okorie and Lauren Taubert will try and post better marks in the women’s 60m hurdles, and two Wildcat women’s 4x400 relay teams will compete.