One of college baseball's preeminent early-season tournaments
has a new name.
The Kleberg Bank College Classic, featuring two-time national champion Oregon State, Indiana, UConn and host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, unfolds for the first time at Whataburger Field February 25-26-27. It's the first of five annual installments in a recently-minted partnership between the 105-year-old financial institution, the Corpus Christi Hooks and Islanders Athletics.
"We are extremely excited about this partnership," said Joe Henkel, Kleberg Bank's president & CEO. "This is one of the premier tournaments in the nation and it gives us an amazing opportunity to showcase our beautiful city and the amazing talent of our Islanders."
"On behalf of our entire athletic program, particularly our baseball student-athletes and coaches, we are most grateful to Kleberg Bank for their generous support of the College Classic," A&M-Corpus Christi athletics director Tim Fitzpatrick said. "Over time, this prestigious event has become a prominent part of the athletic scene here in Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend, and we are truly honored to participate each year."
Said Hooks president Ken Schrom: "An early-season event like ours, administered and promoted by people who love the game and the student-athletes, enables fans throughout the region to enjoy outstanding intersectional play in customarily favorable weather conditions. Whether from the Sun Belt or cold climates, the best in college baseball have chosen Corpus Christi as a destination of choice for the Classic. As is the case with Hooks Baseball, we focus on the experience for all of our customers.
"Oregon State won it all in '06 and '07. Indiana is our first Big Ten entry, Connecticut our first from the Big East. We can't wait and we enthusiastically welcome Kleberg Bank aboard!"
From 2006-10 the Whataburger College Classic featured Alabama, top-ranked Arizona, Arizona State, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, No. 1 Rice, South Alabama, TCU, Texas-Pan American, Texas Tech, UCLA and A&M-Corpus Christi.
Last year, the Sooners and Bruins advanced to Omaha's College World Series after participating in the WCC. UCLA lost in the finals to South Carolina.
In its five-year run, the Whataburger College Classic drew 66,975 over 16 dates (4,186).
Here's a look at the 2011 Kleberg Bank College Classic schedule:
Friday, February 25
UConn vs. Oregon State, 2 p.m.
Indiana vs. A&M-Corpus Christi, 6 p.m.
Saturday, February 26
UConn vs. Indiana, 2 p.m.
Oregon State vs. A&M-Corpus Christi, 6 p.m.
Sunday, February 27
Indiana vs. Oregon State, 11 a.m.
UConn vs. A&M-Corpus Christi, 3 p.m.
Tickets for the 2011 Kleberg Bank College Classic go on sale Friday, February 4, at the Whataburger Field box office. Go to cchooks.com or call 361-561-HOOK to purchase on-line or via phone.
Founded in 1905, Kleberg Bank is an independent community bank, built on a foundation of integrity and committed to excellence in convenience, service, and value for consumers and small businesses. The Bank has 12 locations in Corpus Christi and Kingsville. More about the Bank can be found on the web at www.KlebergBank.com. Member FDIC.