Alumni looking to end losing streak

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Senior Sam Stafford is returning for the Longhorns despite being drafted by the New York Yankees. He will play during the alumni game.

Photo Credit: Andrew Edmonson | Daily Texan Staff

Roger Clemens won 25 games on the mound for Texas between the 1982 and 1983 seasons. This weekend, he’ll try to win one from the Disch-Falk Field dugout.

Saturday marks Fan Appreciation Day for Longhorns baseball, and the Alumni Game is the main attraction. The former Texas ballplayers have had a tough time recently, losing the last three Alumni Games to the team of current players by a combined score of 12-3. But Clemens, who is set to coach this year’s crop of former Longhorns, will try to turn that around this year.

Among those at Clemens’ disposal will be four players that helped Texas take down the Alumni team in 2011 and make their 34th appearance in the College World Series, a Division I record — pitchers Cole Green and Andrew McKirahan, along with shortstop Brandon Loy and first baseman Tant Shepherd. All four were selected in the first 24 rounds of the MLB Draft last June.

Several established major-leaguers will also be in Austin this weekend to take on the Longhorns. Cincinnati Reds center fielder and three-time All-American Drew Stubbs, who hit 15 home runs and stole 40 bases last season, is on the Alumni squad’s roster. Huston Street, 2002 College World Series MVP who has saved 178 games in six big-league seasons, will play in the Alumni Game again. Tampa Bay reliever J.P. Howell, who, like Clemens, won 25 games in two seasons for the Longhorns, will also toe the rubber for the Alumni team Saturday.

As for the group that faces the Alumni squad, Texas brings back six members of its lineup and two exceptional pitchers in Sam Stafford and Corey Knebel. Stafford, who went 6-2 and posted a 1.77 ERA in 2011, was drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round last year but didn’t sign with them. Knebel tied a school record set by Street with 19 saves as a freshman last season. The sophomore closer and third baseman Erich Weiss, who led the Longhorns with a .348 batting average and 45 RBI in his first season at Texas last year, were named National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Preseason All-Americans last month.

Fan Appreciation Day festivities begin at 10:30 a.m. with a 90 minute autograph session and ends with the Alumni Game, which is slated to start at 1 p.m.

Printed on Friday, January 27 as: Alumni, current team face off at annual game