MANHATTAN — The Kansas State baseball team’s remarkable season is about to get even better.
On Sunday, the Wildcats learned that they will open the NCAA Tournament at home. Tointon Family Stadium was selected as one of the tournament’s 16 regional host sites. It is the first time in program history K-State will host postseason games.
K-State will be joined by three yet-to-be-determined teams — the complete 64-team bracket will be announced at 11 a.m. on Monday — in the Manhattan Regional, with games beginning Friday. The four teams will take part in a double-elimination competition with the winner advancing to a Super Regional the following week.
The Wildcats have been striving for this all year, and earned it by winning 41 games and claiming a regular season Big 12 championship.
“I am very proud of this team and what they have accomplished this year,” coach Brad Hill said in a statement. “I am extremely happy that we are able to bring a NCAA Regional to the K-State and Manhattan communities. We have worked extremely hard to have the opportunity to reward our great fan base, alumni and university by hosting a regional.
“… Our team is looking forward to using the momentum we have produced leading into the NCAA tournament and representing Kansas State well by playing with the resiliency and competitive spirit we’ve shown all season long.”
This will be K-State’s fourth NCAA Tournament appearance under Hill. They have never advanced to a Super Regional.
The Wildcats are ranked 15th in the latest Baseball America poll, but are coming off an 11-inning loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament. That loss was difficult, but the thought of hosting a regional will no doubt help players move forward.
“We are proud of Coach Hill and our baseball team for the success they have had this season, winning the program’s first conference championship in 80 years,” athletic director John Currie said in a statement. “Hosting a regional at Tointon Family Stadium is not only another tremendous opportunity to showcase Manhattan and Kansas State University to the entire country but also the next step in the building process for our program envisioned when Bob and Betty Tointon, Coach Mike Clark and many others made possible our beautiful stadium over a decade ago.”
Tickets for the Manhattan Regional are now available online at K-State’s athletics website to current baseball season ticket holders. Ahearn Fund members will receive an exclusive email offer to pre-order tickets through Tuesday. Then tickets will be opened to the general public at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.