HOUSTON -- The University of Kentucky baseball team was picked to play in the Houston College Classic, a prestigious six-team round-robin tournament held Minute Maid Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros on March 4-6, 2011, it was announced by the Astros.
“We are very excited to be playing in the Houston College Classic next season," head coach Gary Henderson said. "The tournament is a great opportunity for us to play outstanding non-conference teams as well as play in a Major League ballpark. It will be a valuable experience for our kids and we are very happy to be a part of the tournament.”
The tournament field will be comprised of many top-level teams and will feature a nine-game round robin type format. This is the first-ever trip to the 11-year-old tournament for the Wildcats, who will be joined Rice, Houston, Baylor, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. Each team will play three games in the tournament.
Rice and Houston play in the classic every year while Baylor and Texas A&M have not played in the classic since 2009. Oklahoma State is making its second overall appearance and its first since 2005.
The tournament has held many current big-league players over the years and currently 44 players that are playing the major leagues have played at least one game in the Houston College Classic. The list of notable players include, David Aardsma (Boston), Julio Borbon (Texas), Chase Headley (San Diego), Luke Hochevar (Kansas City), J.P. Howelll (Tampa Bay), David Murphy (Texas), David Price (Tampa Bay), Kelly Shoppach (Cleveland), Chris Snyder (Arizona), Huston Street (Washington), Drew Stubbs (Cincinnati), Taylor Tankersley (Florida) and Taylor Teagarden (Texas).
The 2010 field for the classic included Rice, Houston, Texas, Texas Tech, Missouri and TCU. Three teams (Rice, TCU and Texas) were ranked in the Baseball America top 10.
The complete schedule of the 2011 Houston College Classic has not been released, however Kentucky will likely face a program for the first time in school history as it has never played Rice, Houston or Baylor.