The Texas Collegiate League released its 2013 season schedule Monday. The league, entering its tenth season, will maintain its 60-game schedule with six teams next summer.
The TCL season will kick off with three games on Thursday, May 30, the earliest starting date in its history. The two most recent expansion teams, the Acadiana Cane Cutters and Woodlands Strykers, will play host on Opening Night along with the rechristened Texas Marshals. The Marshals will host the defending TCL champion East Texas Pump Jacks, while Acadiana hosts the Brazos Valley Bombers and the Victoria Generals visit The Woodlands.
The Bombers, Generals and Pump Jacks won’t have to wait long to open their home schedules. Each club will return to familiar surroundings on Tuesday, June 4, for their respective home openers. Brazos Valley will host the Strykers, the Generals visit Victoria, and East Texas hosts the Cane Cutters.
The first rematch of the 2012 TCL Championship Series will play out on June 6, when the Generals visit East Texas. The Pump Jacks came back from an opening game loss in last year’s series to capture the franchise’s first TCL title.
Two weeks later, on June 20, the Bombers visit Victoria in a rematch of perhaps the most dramatic game in TCL postseason history. The Generals outlasted Brazos Valley, 8-7, in 11 innings in the elimination game of the first round of the 2012 TCL playoffs. The ninth inning alone saw seven runs scored by the two teams, and all of them came with two outs.
A 60-game schedule format, divided into two halves, will be employed by the TCL for the third straight year. The first half will come to a close on July 3, after the 30th game on the schedule for all teams. On July 4, all win-loss records are reset to 0-0 for the second half of the season.
The schedule will take on a more balanced look in 2013. Every team will play three successive two-game series every week. Monday will serve as a league-wide off-day throughout the summer. After the shortened opening week, every team will play at least one road series and one home series every week of the season.
The league’s top players will meet on Tuesday, July 9, for the Texas Collegiate League All-Star Game. The TCL event will precede its major league counterpart by one week, with the site to be announced soon. The All-Star Game was played in Victoria last summer, with the Bombers playing host in 2011.
The regular season will come to a close on Friday, August 9, with the TCL playoffs to follow.
Individual team schedules will be released and posted by each team. The complete league schedule will be posted shortly on the official TCL website, tclbaseball.com.
The league lineup remains virtually unchanged from last season, when the Strykers enjoyed a successful inaugural campaign and the Marshals returned to action. The Alexandria Aces, who battled into the playoffs in 2012, will go dark next summer as the City of Alexandria addresses stadium improvements at historic Bringhurst Field. The Aces are expected to return to action in 2014.
The TCL also anticipates the arrival of at least one expansion team for the 2014 season.
The TCL began play in 2004 and quickly became one of the top summer collegiate leagues in the nation. In 2012, three TCL franchises were ranked by Perfect Game in the top-40 out of more than 250 summer collegiate teams across the country. More than 300 TCL players have been drafted by major league teams and no fewer than a dozen have played in the big leagues. Notable league alumni include outfielder Hunter Pence and first baseman Brandon Belt, both of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, and Boston Red Sox all-star pitcher Clay Buchholz.