The saying goes things are done a little bit bigger in Texas. The college baseball world might have to agree after this weekend.
A major league stadium, nine college baseball games featuring some of the top teams in the country and each and every game being televised will be part of the equation of the Houston College Classic that commences Friday at Minute Maid Park.
Area fans looking for an early baseball fix will be in for a treat. In addition to an all Texas field for just the second time in the event’s 14-year history, all six teams are in the Top 35 teams in the nation.
Rice is the highest ranked club in the field at 10th. Texas Christian is 16th. The surprising Texas Red Raiders are 26th and the Texas Longhorns are 27th.
The two unranked teams include the 7-1 Sam Houston State Bearkats coming off back to back appearances in the NCAA Tournament and the Houston Cougars who have handled all challengers, beginning the campaign a perfect 7-0.
Three games will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday will feature first pitches scheduled for 12:05, 3:35 and 7:05. Sunday requires an earlier start with games slated at 10:05 am, 1:35 and 5:05 p.m.
Rice and Texas will be the primetime match-up Friday evening. Long time Owls Head Coach Wayne Graham called the six teams the best overall field in the Classic’s history.
“I am not just saying that because it’s our guys- it’s Texas,” he said. “This IS the best overall field we have ever had.”
Jim Schlossnage of TCU agrees.
“I can’t imagine there could be another college baseball tournament in the country, this time of the year, that involves this many good teams,” he stated. “The level of talent will rival any Regional, Super Regional or half of the bracket at the College World Series. You could really see any of these teams advance to that level.”
Houston Head Coach Todd Whitting knows his kids will be excited about playing in a big league stadium at Minute Maid Park.
“It’s what they (Cougar players) talk about,” he said. “We talk about it in recruiting. Their juices will be flowing a little bit tomorrow.”
The Longhorn Network will televise the three games involving Texas. The other six games will be broadcast live on CSN Houston.
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