HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros will kick off baseball season at Minute Maid Park with the second-annual Houston Winter Invitational, which will be held at the stadium from Feb. 1-4. The tournament will feature seven NCAA Division-II Universities, which will square off in 12 games across the four days.
The University of Central Missouri (MO), which will serve as a co-host with the Astros, and St. Mary's University from San Antonio, TX, both enter the tournament ranked in the top 25 in the 2014 College Baseball News Preseason Poll. Central Missouri is currently ranked No. 19, while St. Mary's is ranked No. 15. They will be joined in the Invitational by Arkansas Monticello (AR), Arkansas Tech (AR), Henderson State (AR), Tarleton State (TX) and Winona State (MN).
The two ranked teams in the tournament will match up on Saturday night at 6 p.m., with Central Missouri, which finished with a 36-13 record in 2013, playing as the home team against St. Mary's, which went 39-17 last season.
The University of Central Missouri (formerly known as Central Missouri State) is the alma-mater of Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane. Crane graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Safety in 1976, while also starring on the diamond as a standout pitcher for the Mules.
Tickets, which allow entrance for all games on a given day, for the Houston Winter Invitational are now available for sale at www.Astros.com/Invitational or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Any of the regular greater Houston-area Ticketmaster outlets also have tickets for sale. Beginning on Jan. 25, tickets can be purchased in-person at the Astros Box Office or by calling the Box Office at (713) 259-8333 (during regular business hours). Tickets are available for $10, while parking in the Astros controlled lots will be sold for $10 (Diamond Lot) and $5 (Lot A). Student tickets are available for $6, while youth tickets (ages 4-14) are $5.
The Houston Winter Invitational is the first of two college baseball tournaments to be held at Minute Maid Park this spring. The Astros will also host the 14th annual Houston College Classic from Feb. 28-March 2. More information on the Houston College Classic will be released at a later date.
2014 Houston Winter Invitational Schedule*
Sat., Feb. 1 Arkansas Monticello vs. Arkansas Tech 10 a.m.
Henderson State vs. Winona State 2 p.m.
St. Mary's vs. Central Missouri 6 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 2 St. Mary's vs. Arkansas Monticello 10 a.m.
Henderson State vs. Central Missouri 2 p.m.
Arkansas Tech vs. Winona State 6 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 3 Tarleton State vs. Winona State 10 a.m.
Arkansas Monticello vs. Central Missouri 2 p.m.
Henderson State vs. Arkansas Tech 6 p.m.
Tue., Feb. 4 Winona State vs. Central Missouri 10 a.m.
Henderson State vs. Arkansas Monticello 2 p.m.
Tarleton State vs. Arkansas Tech 6 p.m.
(home teams listed second)
* - times subject to change; games after 10 a.m. could begin up to 30 minutes prior to scheduled start time