Alumni return to Austin for crack at 2018 Longhorns

Travis Hlavinka

One of Texas’ time-honored traditions will take place yet again this weekend. On Saturday, Texas baseball will host its annual alumni game at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The all-day affair will include a bevy of events.

The day will begin with an autograph session from the current team from 9-10 a.m., and gates will open at 11:30 a.m. The teams will be comprised of the current Longhorns pitted against former players, some who have recently graduated or been drafted and some in the Major Leagues.

Two of the Major Leaguers in attendance will be former teammates Andrew McKirahan of the Cincinnati Reds and Corey Knebel of the Milwaukee Brewers. McKirahan, 27, was chosen in the 21st round in the 2011 draft. Knebel, 26, was selected in the first round of the 2013 draft.

Former fan favorites and current Minor Leaguers — including catcher Tres Barrera, a member of the Washington Nationals organization, and outfielder Ben Johnson, a member of the Colorado Rockies organization — will both be in attendance.

One of the more recognizable faces will most likely be in a pair of glasses. Kacy Clemens, Texas’ starting first baseman last year and older brother of current Longhorn Kody Clemens — will also partake in the game. The elder led Texas in almost every major offensive category in 2017 and made an impact on the team for the past several years.

Kacy, who was an eighth-round draft choice of the Toronto Blue Jays, will be making his debut in the trademark Blue Jay blues while facing off against his brother. This will be the first time the two have battled one another in front of a live audience at “The Disch.”

“It’s going to be fun,” Kody said. “I’m excited to see him in his Blue Jays uniform out here. It’s definitely going to be a different look for the crowd. We’ll see. (I’ll) probably talk some smack for sure.”

While this game is classified as an exhibition, the work will be beneficial for both parties involved. With Opening Day still over a month away, the current professionals will likely get some much-needed work after a long period of rest, while the current Longhorns have little time before the regular season rolls around.

The regular season for Texas begins just under two weeks after Saturday’s game, with Louisiana-Lafayette rolling into Austin for the season opener. Referring to the fall, Texas head coach David Pierce sang the praises of his team recently and the work they have already put in thus far.

“I really, truly think this fall has been the best fall I’ve ever had with a team,” Pierce said. “We’ve had so many moving parts, but I credit that to our returners. The kids coming back have been on a mission.”

Expect some quality baseball on Saturday but also some laughs, as Texas’ past battles Texas’ present. First pitch will be thrown at 2 p.m.