SPOKANE, Wash.–The Gonzaga University baseball team announced its 2017 schedule Tuesday, and the Zags will be seeing a bit more of Spokane this year.
Gonzaga will play 23 games at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field in 2017. Eighteen of those come in West Coast Conference play as the Zags look to take the WCC regular season title for the second straight year.
The Zags’ schedule will again feature high-level opponents. Five NCAA Regional squads – Duke, Cal State Fullerton, Washington, UCSB, and Saint Mary’s – highlight the 2017 slate, as do perennial contenders in Oregon State, UCLA, Cal Poly, and Fresno State.
“We learned last year that we need to challenge our ball club with the best competition out there and win games on the road to qualify for an at-large berth,” said Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf. “This year is no exception and may be one of the best non-conference schedules in the country when all is said and done. We again will play the majority of those non-conference games on the road and will look to embrace that opportunity in front of us. It also is very refreshing to have the opportunity to play in front of our wonderful fans this year much more than last with a good amount of quality home games at Patterson Baseball Complex.”
The Zags will begin the year with 16 non-conference games played in warmer climates. They start out in Surprise, Arizona, for a four-team tournament at the Kansas City Royals’ Spring Training park, Surprise Stadium. The season starts Friday, Feb. 17, with a single game against Indiana, and the Bulldogs play a doubleheader with Duke and Oregon State one day later. Gonzaga wraps up the tournament on Sunday, Feb. 19, with one more game against Indiana before returning home to Spokane.
After the Surprise Tournament, Gonzaga plays its next 12 games in the Golden State. The Zags face back-to-back Pac-12 schools in UCLA (three games Feb. 24-26) and California (four games March 3-5). For Spring Break, the Bulldogs will tour southern and central California with a three-game series at Cal State Fullerton March 10-12, a single game at Cal Poly March 13, and one at UC Riverside March 14.
Gonzaga’s home and WCC schedule begins in mid-March as the Zags welcome Pacific to Spokane for three games March 17-19. The Zags continue the first homestand of the year with a two-game series against cross-state foe Washington March 21 and 22, and they’ll wrap it up March 24-26 with another WCC set against San Francisco.
March ends and April begins for the Zags in Malibu, California, where they play Pepperdine March 31-April 2. They’ll make a short jaunt up the Pacific Coast Highway for a single game at UCSB before coming back home to play San Diego three times at Patterson April 7-9. After the brief home series, the Zags return to the road for one game at Oregon State and three at Santa Clara.
Upon the conclusion of the series against the Broncos, the Zags will not leave the Pacific Northwest for over a month. They return to Spokane for home games against Washington State April 17 and Seattle U April 18 before heading to Portland for three against the Pilots. The Bulldogs will then make the return trip to Washington State on April 25 and then embark on a 10-game homestand, nine of which are key WCC games. Both squads that Gonzaga shared last year’s regular season title with come to town during that stretch, beginning with Saint Mary’s April 28-30. After a bye week, the Bulldogs host perennial contender Loyola Marymount over graduation weekend May 12-14 before closing out the conference slate May 18-20 against BYU, the third co-champion. Washington State will also return to Spokane for a single game May 16 as well.
Following the end of the WCC slate, the Zags will wrap up the regular season at Fresno State May 22. Should the Zags finish among the top four teams in the conference, they’ll play in the WCC Championships at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, California, May 25-27. Gonzaga took second in the tournament last season before earning the program’s first-ever at-large berth to the NCAA Regionals.