Texas to face top-10 competition in Arlington when its baseball season gets underway
The first pitch of Texas' baseball season will be thrown at a star-studded showcase in Arlington.
On Thursday, Texas was among the announced entrants for a tournament that will be held for the first time at Globe Life Field. Over the course of a weekend that kicks off on Feb. 19, Texas will face SEC stalwarts Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
The Texas Rangers will also host TCU and Texas Tech at the 2021 State Farm College Baseball Showdown. All of the event's six participants were ranked among the top 10 teams in D1Baseball's preseason poll.
The ninth team listed in D1Baseball's preseason poll, Texas is set to see No. 7 Mississippi State at 11 a.m. on Feb. 19. The following evening, a reunion with No. 8 Arkansas has been scheduled. UT and No. 6 Ole Miss will cap their weekends at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
"When we got this opportunity, it was something we jumped on and also something that we would like to continue to do throughout the years," UT coach David Pierce said on a conference call. "We're really honored that we were a part of this inaugural year. ... It's what we need right now and it's going to be exciting."
According to Rangers executive vice president Sean Decker, the tournament will allow between 14 and 15,000 fans per session. Fans must wear masks inside of the stadium and practice social distancing when possible. The Rangers will start selling tickets on Thursday afternoon.
This marks the second straight season that Texas has travelled to a MLB ballpark for an event that paired Big 12 teams with SEC opponents. Last year, Texas beat Arkansas but lost to LSU and Missouri during a weekend at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Texas has yet to release its complete plans for the 2021 season. However, the Longhorns have been a featured opponent on a few schedules that have been publicized.
Texas and Texas A&M are set to meet in College Station on March 30. The Houston Chronicle has reported that the Longhorns will travel to Houston for a three-game series from March 5-7. Nevada has also announced that it will travel to Austin for a midweek series in April.