RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.23 (Baseball)
First at bat as a Jayhawk. First Home Run as a Jayhawk! pic.twitter.com/zPE7nUKYMY
— Kansas Baseball (@KUBaseball) February 16, 2018
A post shared by Kansas Baseball (@kubaseball) on Feb 16, 2018 at 12:57pm PST
Redshirt-sophomore outfielder Brendt Citta waited 633 days after transferring from San Jose State to step back onto a collegiate diamond. The wait may have seen impossible to bear, but Citta took it in stride and vied for his return to the field.
“I have been waiting a long time to get back out there,” Citta said. “To finally step back on to the field, it was a good feeling.”
Citta held back the excitement, but not for long, as he made the wait worth it in his first at bat as a Jayhawk.
On the first official pitch Citta saw donning the Crimson and Blue, he blasted a two-run home run to centerfield. That bomb paced Kansas to a three-run first inning and the 10th Opening Day victory for 16th-year head coach Ritch Price.
“That whole first inning was a dream,” Citta said. “To get back on the diamond, that was a surreal moment. Murray State’s pitcher (Trevor McMurray) left a fastball high in the zone and I saw it well. I put a good swing on it and the ball kept going.”
No one knows better than Price how hard it was for Citta to sit out almost two years, and he couldn’t have been happier to see him breakthrough in his first game as a Jayhawk.
“It is really tough when you are a baseball player to sit out a year like (Citta) did,” Price said. “I know he was excited to get back out there. His work ethic, his commitment to the game and the way he has invested in our program since he has joined us has been absolutely special. It is not often you see a transfer get named team captain, and he has earned it. He brings the right intensity to the dugout that we need. It was a special moment for all of us.”
That special moment solidified why Citta is just the fifth transfer in Price’s 16 years as head coach to hold the honor of being named a team captain. He joins the likes of Sean Richardson (2005), Jordan Piché (2014), Blair Beck (2015) and Ben Krauth (2016) in those regards.