CORVALLIS, Ore. — There wasnt a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was just peaking over 70 degrees in the heart of the Willamette Valley when the Kansas State baseball team piled off a bus outside of Oregon States Goss Stadium on Friday afternoon for practice.
By TONY ADAME
The Wichita Eagle
A perfect day by any definition.
For the Wildcats, everything seemed just right heading into tonights Super Regional against Oregon State, the Pac-12 champion.
And thats not cockiness, theyll tell you. Its just confidence. Something you need when you want to prove you belong among college baseballs elite.
Were going to come out guns blazing, K-State shortstop Austin Fisher said. We have confidence like were the number one team in the nation, and were gonna take that attitude with us when we go out on the field. You have to have that type of confidence when you get to this point.
The Beavers have won two College World Series titles in 2006 and 2007 and K-State, 44-17, the Big 12 champion, is playing in a Super Regional for the first time.
Tonights game is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.
(Goss) is a great place to play, a great environment, but the base paths are still 90 feet, the mound is still 60 feet, 6 inches from the plate, K-State second baseman Ross Kivett said. Were here to accomplish the goal we set for ourselves as a team back in August. The same goal that Oregon State has.
The Wildcats flew into Oregon on Thursday and practiced at Western Oregon University, a Division II school 20 miles north of Corvallis. Highs are supposed to be in the 80s all week in Corvallis.
It was good to get out and get used to the heat and something different from the crazy weather in Kansas, Fisher said. Oregon States stadium reminds me a lot of where Kansas plays.
K-State coach Brad Hill said senior right-hander Joe Flattery (5-4, 3.87 ERA) will get the start against the Beavers tonight, but wasnt sure who would start the second game or a possible third game.
Oregon State coach Pat Casey said he was 90 percent sure he would start senior left-hander Matt Boyd (10-3, 2.20 ERA), an All-Pac 12 selection, tonight.
Weve got three guys were trying to get five or six innings out of and two guys we want to try to finish things off, Hill said. We havent said much to them this week about (who will pitch) because thats how weve been doing it all year long.
Hill went out of his way to underplay the magnitude of the series, stressing that his team needed to keep the same approach that has made it successful all year long.
The thing weve tried to put at the forefront is that you cant approach it like you lose two games and your season is over or you win two games and youre going to Omaha, Hill said. We have to keep our approach like its just another weekend series.
And that begins with the most basic things.
Its turf on the infield, just like we have, and theyve got grass in the outfield, which we dont, K-State center fielder Jared King said. Its still baseball when you get down to it, a few differences, but were still going to come out and play with the same confidence weve had all year.