The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

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February 27, 2014

HOUSTON COLLEGE CLASSIC 2014 — Coaches break the ice before tournament begins

HOUSTON — Before the Houston College Classic gets underway and their respective squads hit the field at Minute Maid Park in Houston for batting and fielding practice, a few of the head coaches got together for a media luncheon for a little Q and A on Thursday.

Sam Houston State head coach David Pierce, Rice head coach Wayne Graham, TCU head Jim Schlossnagle and Houston head coach Todd Whitting sat down and ate lunch at the Five and Seven Grill inside of Minute Maid Park before answering questions from newspaper, radio and television reporters.

For Pierce, it was a homecoming of sorts. Growing up and playing baseball in Houston, before earning collegiate coaching positions at Houston and Rice prior to taking over the Sam Houston program, he was back in familiar territory at Minute Maid.

“I was involved in this tournament for 11 years from 2001 to ’11 and missed it in ’12 and ’13, so personally it’s good to be back to see old friends and be back in the city,” Pierce said. “I’ll actually get to compete against some people I’ve competed with and against in the past.”

The Bearkats are one of six teams who will participate in the Houston College Classic, which will be played at Minute Maid, that begins today.

Joining Sam Houston State are Texas, TCU, Texas Tech, along with annual participants Rice and Houston.

For the first time since the inaugural tournament in 2001, only squads from the Lone Star State make up the field. As a result, the invitational has been dubbed as “The Battle for Texas.”

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