HOUSTON, TX — The 21st annual Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic will return to Minute Maid Park next month from March 5-7, 2021. The three-day, six-team, nine-game tournament, which is held at Minute Maid Park every spring, will feature six Texas programs, including two that are ranked in the top 10 nationally by D1Baseball.com: Texas Tech (#3), TCU (#10), Rice, Sam Houston, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas State.
The Astros will host a limited number of socially-distanced fans at the stadium over the weekend with tickets going on sale next Monday, Feb. 15 at Astros.com/CollegeClassic. Safety guidelines and regulations will be announced when ticket sales open.
All nine games of the tournament will be televised by AT&T SportsNet SW and streamed on Astros.com, MLB.com, the AT&T SportsNet app and the MLB app. AT&T SportsNet SW is available in the Astros five-state viewing area. Fans are asked to check local listings for more information.
This year’s field is unique to the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic and marks just the fourth time for the tournament to host all Texas programs, also in 2001, 2014 and 2019.
Texas Tech is returning to the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic for the first time since the 2017 tournament and for the 11th time in tournament history. The Red Raiders are led by Head Coach Tim Tadlock, who has taken his team to four College World Series in the last seven years and claimed three of the last four Big 12 Championships. Texas Tech went 16-3 in their abbreviated 2020 campaign, finishing fourth overall in the final D1Baseball.com rankings.
TCU is making its ninth trip to Minute Maid Park and currently owns the best all-time record in tournament history with a 15-9 mark (min. three appearances). Led by Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle, the Horned Frogs are one of just three programs nationally to have appeared in five of the last 10 College World Series. TCU was off to one of their best starts in program history in 2020, sitting at 11-4 on the year when the season abruptly ended.
Rice, which owns a tournament-record 29 all-time wins, will be making their 17th appearance in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic field. Head Coach Matt Bragga, now in his third year at the program, went 2-1 in his College Classic debut in 2019, as the Owls beat ranked in-state rivals Baylor and TCU that weekend. Rice got off to a slow start in 2020 as they played the 11th-toughest schedule in all of Division I prior to the season’s abrupt and unexpected end.
Nearby Sam Houston State University is making their third appearance at Minute Maid Park in their program’s history. Bearkats Head Coach Jay Sirianni, named to his position in 2019, has been part of the Bearkats staff in their recent run of excellence, which includes Southland Conference regular season titles in 2016, 2018 and 2019, along with a berth in the NCAA Super Regionals in 2017. Sam Houston was 7-7 in 2020 at the time of the shutdown. Notably, current Astros radio analyst Steve Sparks starred for the Bearkats in the 1980’s prior to his nine-year Major League pitching career.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, a late add to the tournament field, will be making their first appearance in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic. Longtime Head Coach Scott Malone enters his 13th season at the helm of the Texas A&M–Corpus Christi baseball program for the 2021 season. The Islanders finished 8-10 in the 2020 season, including a 2-1 mark in conference play.
Texas State will be returning to Minute Maid Park for the second time in the last three years, having debuted in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic in 2019. After going 2-1 in the Classic that season, the Bobcats went on to win their first Sun Belt Conference regular season championship. Head Coach Steven Trout, named to his position in July of 2019, got the Bobcats off to a 14-4 start in 2020, the best start for the program since 2011.
Overall, the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic has hosted over 30 programs in its 21-year history and has seen a multitude of future Major Leaguers participate, including All-Stars Alex Bregman (LSU in 2015), Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer (UCLA in 2009), David Price (Vanderbilt in 2007), Matt Carpenter (TCU in 2006) and Anthony Rendon (Rice from 2009-11). The tournament typically attracts close to 100 professional scouts from all 30 Major League teams.
The 2021 tournament marks the sixth year for it to carry the name Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, which has been set forth by a multi-year naming rights agreement between the Astros Foundation and Shriners Hospitals for Children®. The Astros Foundation operates the tournament and will donate a portion of each ticket sale directly to Shriners Hospitals for Children as well as provide other fundraising and awareness opportunities.
About the Houston Astros Foundation
The Astros Foundation, the official 501(c)(3) team charity of the Houston Astros, seeks to harness the passion of baseball fans to support youth baseball and softball programs, the recognition and honor of our nation’s military, childhood cancer awareness and efforts to reduce homelessness. Our cornerstone initiatives include the Community Leaders program, the Astros Youth Academy and the Astros RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Program. For more information on the Astros Foundation, please visit www.astros.com/foundation.
About Shriners Hospitals for Children
The Astros Foundation is the official 501(c)(3) team charity of the Houston Astros. We seek to harness the passion of our fans to support youth sports and education programs, the recognition/honor of our nation’s military, childhood cancer and domestic violence awareness and efforts to reduce homelessness. Our cornerstone initiatives include the Community Leaders program, the Astros MLB Youth Academy and the Astros RBI Program. (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities).