"The Astros Foundation and the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic are happy to announce this national television partnership with FOX Sports," said Twila Carter, the executive director of the Astros Foundation. "The quality of this year's tournament field, our partnership with Shriners Hospitals for Children, and now this television agreement, have solidified the College Classic as the top preseason tournament in NCAA Baseball."
The three-day, six-team, nine-game tournament will feature six premier programs from the Big 12 and SEC conferences. The 2017 field could be considered the strongest lineup in tournament history, featuring five teams ranked in the current top 25 of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll. The 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic will include TCU (#1), LSU (#3), Texas A&M (#15), Texas Tech (#18), Ole Miss (#21) and Baylor. The marquee matchup for the tournament falls on Friday at 7 p.m., as LSU plays host to TCU, airing live on FS2.
Additionally, the 2017 field is composed of five teams that hosted 2016 NCAA Regionals. In fact, four of the teams advanced to Super Regionals: TCU, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and LSU. TCU and Texas Tech both advanced to the College World Series.
This year marks the seventh time for the College Classic to host the No. 1 ranked team in preseason polls and the first time since North Carolina made their debut in the tournament in 2013. Several current Major League players have played in the College Classic, including Alex Bregman, David Price, Gerrit Cole, Mike Leake and Anthony Rendon, to name a few.
This year marks the second straight year that the tournament will carry the name the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, set forth by a multi-year naming rights agreement between the Astros Foundation and Shriners Hospitals for Children. The Astros Foundation will continue to operate the tournament and will donate $1 from the sale of each ticket directly to Shriners Hospitals as well as provide other fundraising and awareness opportunities.
The Astros Foundation will celebrate the start of the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic at the First Pitch Luncheon held Thursday, March 2, 2017, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Participating team head coaches will join Shriners Hospitals for Children patients to discuss the weekend's matchups and the 2017 season. Individual tickets are available for $40 or tables of 10 can be purchased for $400. Visit Astros.com/CollegeClassic for details.
Adult and youth daily tickets and three-day tournament passes are available for purchase online at Astros.com/CollegeClassic. Fans can purchase premium tickets or group tickets, for groups of 20 or more, by calling 713-259-8030. Daily tickets purchased in advance are available for $19 for adults and $14 for youth (ages 14 and under). Three-day tournament passes can be purchased for $42 for adults and $24 for youth. Select parking in the Astros controlled lots is available for $20 (Diamond Lot) and $10 (Lot A).
For those interested in hosting a special event at the ballpark over the weekend, please call 713-259-8800. Student tickets are also available for purchase in person at the Astros box office.
"We are very excited to see the tremendous talent participating the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic. The tournament continues to show it is the premier event to kick-off the college baseball season," said Chris Smith, chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children. "During the broadcast, baseball fans will not only see great competition but learn how these teams gave their time to support our mission of providing world-class care to children, regardless of the families' ability to pay."