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Recording artists and “Battle of the Bands” supplement three games at Minute Maid Park on Feb. 18

HOUSTON, TX – Grammy and Tony Award-winning artist Jennifer Holliday and American Idol Season 2 winner and Grammy-nominated artist Ruben Studdard will both perform at the 2012 Urban Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. Their performances, and the tournament games that will follow, will air LIVE on MLB Network and

Studdard, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) alumnus at Alabama A&M University, will sing the National Anthem before the first pitch of Saturday’s matchup at 3 p.m. Holliday, a Houston, Texas native and HBCU alumnus at Texas Southern University, will perform “America the Beautiful” before the final game of the day, which is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Among the Urban Invitational’s activities, MLB and the Astros will host a “battle of the bands” competition between Texas Southern’s “Ocean of Soul” and Prairie View A&M University’s “Marching Storm.” The performances are scheduled for 6 p.m., also at Minute Maid Park.

The Urban Invitational is the annual round-robin collegiate baseball tournament designed to give HBCUs and their baseball programs national exposure. The 2012 tournament will feature five HBCUs: Alabama State University, Grambling State University, Southern University, Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University. NCAA Division-I school University of California, Irvine will also participate in the Urban Invitational.

Tickets to the games and events at Minute Maid Park will be available to the general public for $5.00, and parking for Minute Maid Park is also available for $5.00. There is also a special ticket package available for $10.00, which will allow access to the ballpark and provide a concession voucher for a hot dog and soda. High school students and below with a valid student ID will be admitted to the ballpark for free. Fans can purchase tickets at

The tournament, which will be held in Houston for the first time in its five-year history, will also host games at the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park on Friday, Feb. 17 and Sunday, Feb. 19. Access to games at Sylvester Turner Park will be available on game day for a suggested $5.00 donation. Children 12 and under and any student 18 and under with a valid student ID, will be admitted free of charge. All proceeds from the ticket donations at the Academy will benefit the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Foundation, which is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation.


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