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K-State baseball looking for more in 2011

Mother nature couldn’t have picked a better time to deliver a heat wave to Manhattan. With the college baseball season starting Friday for Kansas State, the Wildcats were able to get outside this week and practice for a three-game series at Pacific the way only teams on the West coast normally can in mid February.

On Wednesday afternoon, the entire team worked out under the sun at Tointon Family Stadium. Energy was high, and K-State coach Brad Hill had nothing but nice things to say about his team’s final preseason tuneups.

“It’s been good,” Hill said. “It’s been real good.”

He also could have been referring to the expectations the Wildcats carry into 2011. K-State earned its highest ever placing (fifth) in the Big 12 preseason Coaches’ Poll, and is projected by many to qualify for a third-straight NCAA Tournament.

With Nick Martini, last season’s Big 12 Player of the Year, and his gaudy .416 batting average returning as a junior and nearly every pitcher from last year’s roster coming back, K-State appears worthy of the preseason praise.

“It makes me feel pretty good, because the program has turned around so much in the last two years,” Martini said. “There are high expectations. We’ve got a lot of older guys now, more leadership and the pitching staff is growing. I expect nothing less than the last two years.” (more…)