FRESNO, Calif. – The Fresno State baseball program and head coach Mike Batesole released the 2017 schedule on Thursday.
The Bulldogs will get their 55-game schedule underway on Friday, Feb. 17 when they host Pac-12 opponent Oregon at Bob Bennett Stadium for a four-game series. In total, the ‘Dogs will host 31 games against 14 different teams and will play 24 games on the road against 12 different opponents.
In addition to its five three-game series against Mountain West opponents in Fresno, the ‘Dogs will also host opponents from the Pac-12, Big West, West Coast, MAC and WAC.
“We really like our 2017 schedule,” said Batesole, the 2016 Mountain West Coach of the Year. “With a young team we would prefer to get out on the road early and bond in difficult environments, but that is not the case this year. We are a very experienced group and we have many returners who have experience in difficult environments. Being able to start at home with our fan support gives us an opportunity to get off to a fast start.”
After opening against the Ducks, the ‘Dogs take on Big West member UC Riverside for a three-game series (Feb. 24-26) as it will be only the third time the ‘Dogs and Highlanders have met on the baseball diamond.
The month of February closes with Pacific coming to town for a midweek matchup on Feb. 28 before the Bulldogs open Mountain West play at home hosting Nevada (Mar. 3-5). The ‘Dogs swept the Wolf Pack at home in the two teams only regular season series in 2016.
Playing its only road contest in its first 15 games, Fresno State travels to Pepperdine on March 7 before returning home to welcome Eastern Michigan (March 10-12) out of the MAC. The ‘Dogs only other non-conference weekend series after seeing the Eagles will come at Michigan State (April 7-9) as Fresno State will play only its third road series against a Big 10 opponent in program history.
“We like how our non-league schedule rounds out with quality Pac-12, Big West and Big 10 opponents which means hard-nosed, tough baseball,” said Batesole.
After a midweek contest at San Francisco (March 15), the ‘Dogs will play their first MW road series traveling to Air Force (March 17-19). The Bulldogs went 6-1 against the Falcons in 2016 sweeping a pair of three-game series at home and in Grand Junction, Colo., before losing a heartbreaker 9-7 in the Mountain West Tournament.
Returning home to host Pepperdine (March 22) and San Diego State (March 24-26), the Bulldogs will then go on a season-long seven-game road swing venturing to New Mexico (March 31- April 2), Sacramento State at Raley Field (April 5) before finishing with a three-game series in East Lansing.
The week of Spring Break will keep the ‘Dogs home hosting San Francisco (April 11) and Air Force (April 13-15) before going back on the road for Pacific (April 19), Nevada (April 21-23) and Cal Poly (April 25).
The month of April wraps up with the ‘Dogs only meeting of the regular season with San Jose State hosting the Spartans (April 28-30) before the month of May begins with four games on the road at UC Riverside (May 2) and UNLV (May 5-7).
The Bulldogs welcome Sacramento State (May 9) to Fresno before hosting 2016 MW Tournament champion New Mexico (May 12-14) for the first time since 2015. The regular season wraps with a three-game series at San Diego State (May 18-20) and finishes with one final home game against 2016 NCAA Tournament foe Gonzaga (May 22).
“The Mountain West will again be tough as San Diego State is sure to bounce back off a tough year in 2016 and the remainder of the conference looks to be improved as well,” added Batesole. “2017 will be a tough year to repeat as Mountain West champions, but we like that we have an experienced team that knows how to win.”
The 2017 Mountain West Championship will be hosted by the regular season champion May 24-28.