Central Missouri and No. 1 North Greenville to play Friday night

January 23rd, 2023

HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros will host the 11th annual Houston Winter Invitational at Minute Maid Park next month, from Feb. 3-5. The tournament will feature six NCAA Division II universities, squaring off in nine games across the three days.

The tournament field features the University of Central Missouri, which co-hosts the event with the Astros, Arkansas Tech, Chico State (CA), Flagler (FL), Montevallo (AL) and North Greenville (SC). Central Missouri, which lost in the Division II Regionals last year, enters this season just outside the top 25 rankings in the country, per the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). North Greenville, the defending Division II champions, enter the year as the No. 1 team in the country.

Central Missouri, which has co-hosted the tournament since its inception, is the alma-mater of Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane, who was a standout baseball player in his college career. He played for the Mules from 1973-76, posting a 21-8 record with a career 2.42 ERA. Crane still ranks atop the Central Missouri career leaderboards in complete games (23) and shutouts (7) and ranks fourth in strikeouts (215). He still holds the Mules single-game strikeout record of 18, which at the time, set a DII College World Series record. Crane was inducted into the University of Central Missouri Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997, and earned an induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2020.

Crane contributes to Central Missouri annually to provide athletic scholarships for Mules baseball. Additionally, Crane was the primary underwriter of a $1.2 million renovation in 1998 of the old Mules Field on the University of Central Missouri campus, which has since been renamed the James R. Crane Stadium. In 2016, Crane and the UCM Foundation upgraded the university’s baseball facility with a new synthetic turf playing surface. In 2021, a lead gift from Crane paved the way for the new Mules Baseball Clubhouse which features an MLB-style layout for the baseball program.

For more information on the tournament or to purchase tickets, please visit

Media are welcome to cover the tournament, but must do so with approved credentials, which can be applied for through MLB’s online credentialing system at With any questions on accessing the credential system, please reach out to Steve Grande at [email protected].

2023 Houston Winter Invitational Schedule (times subject to change)

Friday, Feb. 3             

Flagler vs. Montevallo                                                 10 a.m.

Arkansas Tech vs. Chico State                                     1:30 p.m.

North Greenville vs. Central Missouri                         5 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 4         

Flagler vs. Chico State                                                 10 a.m.

Montevallo vs. Central Missouri                                 1:30 p.m.

Arkansas Tech vs. North Greenville                            5 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 5           

Chico State vs. North Greenville                                 10 a.m.

Flagler vs. Central Missouri                                         1:30 p.m.

Montevallo vs. Arkansas Tech                                    5 p.m.