Coach Larry Lee’s Mustangs will play 2019 College World Series champion Vanderbilt, runner-up Michigan and regional qualifier Connecticut in the second annual MLB4 tournament, a showcase event featuring some of the best programs in the nation to celebrate the traditional opening weekend of the college baseball season.
The four-team field was announced by Major League Baseball on Monday.
Dates are Feb. 14-16 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., the shared Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Each team will play three games during the tournament. Additional schedule and broadcast details will be announced at a later date.
“MLB is thrilled to welcome back Vanderbilt, as well as our new participating teams in Michigan, UConn and Cal Poly to the MLB4 Tournament in February,” said Tony Reagins, Executive Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development, Major League Baseball. “We could not have launched this event any better given the caliber of baseball programs so far. We are most excited for the young people who will be able to see some phenomenal baseball and aspire to play at this level one day. We thank each of these programs, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Colorado Rockies, and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick for what will be another outstanding MLB4.”
Cal Poly will play each of the other three teams once during the three-day event.
“There couldn’t be a better way to start the season with games against the reigning National Champion, the runner-up, and another regional team,” said Lee. “We'll need to hit the ground running."
Added Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin, “We were very excited to play in the inaugural MLB4 tournament and we are so gracious to be included again. This is and was, one of the best tournaments that we have had the opportunity to play in.”
Michigan head coach Erik Bakich said, “We are thrilled to open the 2020 season in one of the nation’s most elite tournaments against some of the best competition. We sincerely appreciate the invitation from Major League Baseball, as well as our strong relationship between the people inside the collegiate and professional game.”
Said UConn head coach Jim Penders, “We are thrilled to be invited to the MLB4 tournament to open our 2020 season. In order to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. We are certainly going to have a great challenge in February in Arizona and we look forward to competing at the spring training home of two of our Major Leaguers in Nick Ahmed of the D-backs and Scott Oberg of the Rockies.”
In addition to MLB4, MLB will host the “Andre Dawson Classic” at the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy that same weekend. The event has been named after the Chicago Cubs and Montreal Expos legend who is one of only two HBCU baseball-playing alumni enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The 2019 edition of the event, formerly known as the “Urban Invitational,” will feature eight collegiate baseball teams, seven of which are from HBCU programs.
Last season, Cal Poly earned its third straight and sixth overall second-place Big West finish since joining the conference in 1997, posting a 17-7 mark. The Mustangs won 26 of their final 45 games after a 2-9 start to finish 28-28 overall, their 17th season at or above the .500 mark since 2000.