CORPUS CHRISTI – Alabama's Crimson Tide, the Texas-Pan American Broncs and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders rally at Whataburger Field March

5-8 for the Fourth Annual Whataburger College Classic.

Alabama and TAMUCC open the Classic with a 6 o'clock meeting on Thursday night. Twenty-four hours later, the Crimson Tide returns to action vs. UTPA. The Islanders play at 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday against the Broncs and Alabama, respectively, before wrapping up the weekend with UTPA at 1 p.m. Sunday.

"We are thrilled to bring in Alabama as the first SEC team to compete in the Whataburger College Classic," Corpus Christi Hooks President Ken Schrom said. "Pan Am and the Islanders give this event a strong South Texas flavor and we look forward to showcasing these two up-and-coming programs."

Alabama went 35-28 in 2008, 16-14 in the always-tough SEC. The Crimson Tide advanced to the NCAA Regional at Conway, South Carolina. Alabama has made 16 NCAA appearances and five trips to the College World Series. Its

all-time record in NCAA play is 51-32.

The Tide has qualified for NCAA regional play 11 times since 1995 under coach Jim Wells. Overall, Alabama is the winningest baseball program in Southeastern Conference history.

UTPA will be led by first-year coach Manny Mantrana, who moved to Edinburg from St. Thomas (Florida) University. The Broncs were 21-35 in the final season of Willie Gawlik's five-year tenure. UTPA appeared in NCAA tournament play on 13 occasions between 1968-86 and reached Omaha in 1971 under legendary coach Al Ogletree.

2009 is the final year of independent status for UTPA Baseball, as the Broncs transition to the newly-formed Great West Conference next school year.

The 2008 Islanders posted a 24-33 mark in coach Scott Malone's first season as skipper and finished 14-15 in Southland Conference play. TAMUCC is scheduled to play 10 games at Whataburger Field in 2009. In addition, the SLC Tournament is set for the venue May 20-23.

Arizona, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Rice, South Alabama Texas Tech and TCU are past out-of-town WCC participants. Nationally prominent programs Mississippi State, Oklahoma and UCLA join the Islanders in 2010.

Tickets for the 2009 Whataburger College Classic go on sale Friday, February 13.

Thursday, Friday and Sunday individual tickets will be priced at $6 for adults and $3 for youth 12-and-under. Saturday admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children.

Tournament passes for all five games are $18 and $9.

2009 Whataburger College Classic

Thursday, March 5

TAMUCC vs. Alabama, 6 p.m.

Friday, March 6

Alabama vs. Texas-Pan American, 6 p.m.

Saturday, March 7

TAMUCC vs. Texas-Pan American, 1 p.m.

Alabama vs. TAMUCC, 5 p.m.

Sunday, March 8

Texas-Pan American vs. TAMUCC, 1 p.m.

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