CSUN Baseball has unveiled its 2017 schedule comprised of 55 games, 32 of which at Matador Field, and 15 contests against teams that advanced to last season’s NCAA Tournament. The Matadors will face seven squads that won 30 or more games in 2016, two conference champions and three teams for the first time in program history. Among the opponents in 2017, CSUN will square off with 2016 College World Series participant UC Santa Barbara, 2014 National Champion Vanderbilt and 2013 National Champion UCLA.
“Our team and the community have something in common; they can get ready for great baseball,” said head coach Greg Moore. “Over half of our games are against teams that have been in regionals in the last few seasons. Over 20 percent of our 19 different opponents have National Championships. The Big West and the West Coast in general is the Big Leagues of college baseball. Get ready.”
The Matadors’ 2017 slate consists of meetings against four teams that finished in the Top 50 RPI rankings at the end of last season. Along with facing UC Santa Barbara and Vanderbilt, CSUN also takes on three other 2016 NCAA Tournament teams such as Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and Saint Mary’s.
CSUN will start the season with nine of its first 10 games inside the friendly confines of Matador Field. The season kicks off with a four-game series against Portland beginning on Friday, Feb. 17. In their only road game of the month, the Matadors travel to face Pepperdine on Feb. 21 before heading back home to take on Towson in a four-game set (Feb. 24-26) and UCLA in a midweek contest (Feb. 28). The series with the Tigers will be the first meeting between CSUN and Towson.
During the non-conference season, the Matadors will journey to Southeastern Conference power Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN for a three-game series starting on March 3. CSUN concludes the road trip with a matchup at Jackie Robinson Stadium versus UCLA on March 7.
In addition to facing Vanderbilt for the first time in program history, CSUN also hosts Holy Cross (March 8) for the first ever meeting between the two teams in another midweek game. Continuing an eight-game homestand, CSUN hosts Big 10 opponent Purdue in a four-game weekend series starting March 10 along with a three-game series with reigning West Coast Conference Champion Saint Mary’s (March 17-19).
In its longest road trip of the season, the Matadors will play eight-straight away from Matador Field. CSUN concludes the non-conference slate with a contest at Loyola Marymount (March 21) and a series at Washington State (March 24-27) before opening up Big West play on the road the following weekend.
Other non-conference games on the schedule include home contests against Pepperdine (April 4), Loyola Marymount (April 25), CSU Bakersfield (May 9) and a road game versus the Roadrunners (April 11).
The Matadors travel to UC Davis to begin conference play (March 31-April 2) followed by a three-game home series against UC Santa Barbara (April 7-9). The next weekend, the Matadors will return to the road for a three-game series at Long Beach State (April 13-15).
CSUN continues its Big West slate with home series with UC Riverside (April 21-23) and Hawai’i (April 28-30) and road series at UC Irvine (May 5-7) and Cal Poly (May 12-14). The Matadors conclude the 2016 regular season with a three-game series versus 2016 Big West Conference Champion Cal State Fullerton (May 19-21) at Matador Field.
“College baseball is catching fire because of the number of outstanding programs across the country,” added Moore. “Our schedule reflects that quality.”
The Matadors are coming off back-to-back 33-win seasons, which are the most wins over a two-year period since 2001-02. The team is also a season removed from posting its most wins at home since 2001 (21) and its best start to a season in 20 years (18-3).
CSUN welcomes back 19 student-athletes from last season with most of its every day lineup intact. Among the returning group are six seniors including starting infielders Fred Smith and William Colantono, left-handed outfielder Bobby Schuman, every day catcher Dylan Alexander and right-handed hurlers Conner O’Neil and Samuel Myers.