College baseball is back, and its early-season action is extending to several Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball facilities. Starting this month and continuing over the coming weeks, fans can look forward to plenty of high-profile college baseball events at MLB and MiLB ballparks.
A few notable events took place this past weekend. The Los Angeles Angels conducted the inaugural Angels College Classic, featuring games at spring training’s Tempe Diablo Stadium and GCU Ballpark—the winner of the 2018 Ballpark Digest Best Ballpark Improvement Over $1M Award. Among the participants were Ball State, BYU, Cal, Cal State Bakersfield, Grand Canyon, Pepperdine, Stanford, and Wichita State.
Elsewhere in Arizona, Surprise Stadium—spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers—is playing host to the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic. The tournament began February 15, featuring a slate of participants that includes reigning national champion Oregon State, New Mexico, Gonzaga, Minnesota and Nebraska. The event runs through February 24.
In addition, this past weekend also brought the first annual MLB4 Tournament to Scottsdale’s Salt River Fields—spring home of the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. The event, which took place February 15-17, included Vanderbilt University, the University of Virginia, Texas Christian University (TCU) and Cal State Fullerton.
The coming weeks will feature several notable events at major league ballparks. An annual tradition will return for its 19th entry on March 1, when Minute Maid Park—home to the Houston Astros—plays host to the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic. The event features six Texas-based programs, including Baylor, Houston, Rice, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas State.
A notable event will take place in Seattle, where the Mariners’ T-Mobile Park (formerly Safeco Field) will stage the Seattle Baseball Showcase from March 8-10. The event features programs from the Pac-12, Big 10, WCC and Sun Belt conferences. Among the participating schools include Coastal Carolina University (CCU), Indiana University, Oregon State, University of Minnesota, University of San Diego and University of Washington.
On March 10, Dodger Stadium will host a college baseball doubleheader as part of the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic. The twin bill begins with a morning contest between Oklahoma State and Michigan at 10:30 PST, followed by a 3:05 afternoon game that features local rivals UCLA and USC.
Several college baseball events are slated for minor league ballparks, including some where they have become an annual tradition. The Corpus Christi Hooks (Class AA; Texas League) will once again welcome the Kleberg Bank College Baseball Classic to Whataburger Field from February 21-24. This year’s lineup includes Ohio State, BYU, Oral Roberts and host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The sixth Cox Diamond Invitational is set for March 1-3 at Blue Wahoos Stadium, the home of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Class AA; Southern League). This year’s participants include Tennessee, University of North Florida, Louisiana Monroe and Western Kentucky.
The Greenville Drive (Low A; Sally League) are preparing to welcome the largest field in First Pitch Invitational History to Flour Field (above). From March 8-10, Flour Field will welcome a slate that features the local Furman University, Michigan State, Appalachian State, Ohio State and Western Carolina. The First Pitch Invitational is part of a busy college baseball slate at Flour Field this spring that includes six-regular season contests for Furman, plus the return of the annual Reedy River Rivalry game between Clemson and South Carolina on March 2.
Dr Pepper Ballpark will once again be the site of the Frisco Baseball Classic, a tournament from Peak Sports in partnership with the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League). Running March 1-3, this year’s event includes Mississippi State, Texas Tech, Sam Houston and Nebraska.
TicketReturn.com Field, home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High A; Carolina League), will see college baseball action between NC State and Kent State on February 22 as part of the Brittain Resorts Baseball Tournament at the Beach and again on March 3, when Illinois and UConn meet in the CCU Baseball Tournament. Both tournaments are hosted by CCU, with the bulk of the games taking place at the university’s Spring Brooks Stadium in nearby Conway, SC.
On a non-tournament side, numerous MiLB ballparks are shared with local colleges. Teams such as the Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League) and Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) typically host multiple college baseball games over the spring, while the Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) will hope an April 30 matchup between Georgia and the Citadel at SRP Park brings a large crowd after last year’s contest between Clemson and Georgia drew 5,801 fans. The Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) will host seven college baseball games at Dunkin’ Donuts Park over April and May, including contests featuring regional programs such as UConn, University of Hartford and Central Connecticut State University.
In the future, there will be a few major events joining the slate of college baseball at MiLB and MLB ballparks. Dell Diamond will begin hosting its own college baseball tournament in late February 2020, when the Round Rock Express (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) partner with Peak Sports for the first annual Round Rock Classic. Among the participants set for that event are the Houston Cougars, Stanford Cardinal, Tennessee Volunteers and Texas Tech Red Raiders.
After its inaugural 2020 season for the Texas Rangers, Globe Life Field will host an opening-weekend college baseball event in 2021. Among the participants expected for that event are Arkansas, Texas, Texas Tech and TCU.
This article first appeared in the Ballpark Digest newsletter. Are you a subscriber? It’s free, and you’ll see features like this before they appear on the Web. Go here to subscribe to the Ballpark Digest newsletter.