FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
SPOKANE, Wash. – (Oct. 7, 2011 – www.gozags.com) – The Gonzaga University baseball team’s 2012 season will once again be another challenge as head coach Mark Machtolf announced the Bulldogs home-friendly schedule Friday.
The Bulldogs will match up against five participants from last year’s NCAA Baseball Championship along with opponents from 10 conferences, including the newly-improved West Coast Conference.
Among the five NCAA tournament participants are Arizona State University, which reached the Super Regionals, Big Ten Conference tournament champion University of Illinois, Southeastern Conference Western Division champion University of Arkansas, Mountain West Conference tournament champion University of New Mexico and WCC champion University of San Francisco.
The Bulldogs are on the road for 15 games to start the season, but after the road stretch they will play 26 of 41 games at the Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field, the most home games the Bulldogs will have played in Machtolf’s nine years at the helm.
Gonzaga opens the season Feb. 17 with a three-game series against the University of Nebraska in Peoria, Ariz.
Following the Nebraska series the Bulldogs will make back-to-back weekend trips to the state of Texas. The first trip will be two games each against Illinois and Lamar University in Beaumont Feb. 24-26. The Bulldogs and Fighting Illini were slated to meet for the first time on a baseball field in Minneapolis, Minn., last year but the series was postponed after the roof collapsed at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in December 2010.
Gonzaga heads to San Antonio March 2-4 in its second trip to Texas to play one game each against the University of Texas-San Antonio, University of Kansas and University of Louisiana – Lafayette.
The road trip moves to Albuquerque, N.M., where the Bulldogs will play a three-game series against New Mexico March 9-11.
Gonzaga and New Mexico met last season in Spokane with the Bulldogs sweeping the three-game series.
Immediately following the series with the Lobos the Bulldogs will fly to Fayetteville, Ark., to close out their 15-game road trip with Arkansas March 13-14.
Gonzaga opens the home season with a three-game series against the University of the Pacific March 16-18. The Tigers are coached by former major league player Ed Sprague. He and Machtolf helped Stanford University win its first NCAA College World Series in 1987. Machtolf said he has enjoyed facing his former teammate over the years.
“It’s a good series. I have a lot of respect for that program and its coaching staff,” Machtolf said.
The Bulldogs will continue their in-state rivalries with Washington State University and the University of Washington this season. The first meeting between the Bulldogs and Cougars will take place in Pullman March 20 and the series will shift to Spokane April 3 and 17. The Bulldogs will travel to Seattle April 9-10 to play the Huskies for two games.
The non-conference season comes to an end with Arizona State visiting the Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field for three games May 11-13. Gonzaga then wraps up its home schedule with the University of Portland May 18-20 and the regular season at WCC newcomer BYU on Memorial Weekend.
Machtolf said this year’s schedule is just as difficult as the 2011 slate was.
“Last year we had the third toughest schedule in the country and this year’s non-conference schedule is every bit as challenging,” Machtolf said. “It’s going to be a great challenge for us. That’s why kids want to come to Gonzaga. They want to play the very best and we are committed to doing that.”