Gonzaga opens the 2010 season at the Cactus Classic in Arizona
SPOKANE, Wash. - The defending West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga University baseball team has announced its 2010 schedule. The Bulldogs 2010 slate features four teams that appeared in last season’s NCAA Tournament along with a number of matchups against teams from the Big 12, Big West and Pac-10 Conferences.
“We are really looking forward to getting out, playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules and building off of last year’s success,” commented 2009 WCC Coach of the Year Mark Machtolf. “Once again we have put together a very challenging schedule that will help us prepare for an always competitive WCC schedule later in the season.”
The Bulldogs, coming off of their third consecutive 30-win season and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1981, will open the season Feb. 19-21 with the Cactus Classic held at Tucson Electric Park, the Arizona Diamondbacks spring training complex, in Tucson, Ariz. There the Zags will match up with NCAA Tournament participant Missouri twice and also play single games against New Mexico State and Washington.
The following weekend will see Gonzaga return to Arizona, this time for the Peoria Spring Training Classic held at the San Diego Padres spring training home field in Peoria, Ariz. The Bulldogs are scheduled to meet up with NCAA Tournament participant Kansas and Western Athletic Conference member Sacramento State each twice throughout the weekend.
The first weekend of March the Zags will begin a stretch that will see them play 11 games in 12 days, starting with a trip to Shreveport, La. for a three-game series with Summit League member Centenary. Following the series with the Gents, Gonzaga heads to Lubbock, Tex. for a two-game series with Big-12 member Texas Tech Mar. 9-10. GU then travels to San Antonio, Tex. for the Irish Baseball Classic where the Zags will face Pacific, Bradley and Notre Dame.
“The early season tournaments always provide some good challenges and this season will be no different,” commented Machtolf. “The trips to Louisiana and San Antonio will be exciting because it gives us a chance to play a couple different teams in a different region of the country.”
Mar. 15-16 will be the first set of home games for the Zags as they wrap up the 11 games in 12 day stretch with a two-game set against BYU. The ensuing weekend has the Bulldogs traveling to southern California for a three-game series against 2009 Big West Conference champion and NCAA Regional host UC Irvine Mar. 19-21. This will be the first year of a home-and-home series with the Anteaters who will come to Spokane for a weekend series in 2011.
“The series with UC Irvine will be a very tough competitive series against a very good ball club that was the top-ranked team in the country at one point last season,” stated Machtolf. “That weekend will be a difficult test that will get us ready for WCC play.”
Gonzaga continues on the road the following week facing in-state rival and 2009 NCAA Tournament participant Washington State in Pullman, Wash. Mar. 23 before traveling to face Utah Valley Mar. 25-27. Following a midweek home matchup with WSU Mar. 30 the Zags will head to Honolulu for a three-game series with the University of Hawaii.
After the Hawaii series, the Bulldogs welcome another in-state rival out of the Pac-10 in Washington for a two-game midweek set at the Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field Apr. 6-7.
Apr. 9-11 the Zags begin defense of their conference crown at San Francisco. They then play six of their next seven games at home, starting against Arizona Apr. 12. Following at trip to WSU to close out the season-series with the Cougars Apr. 14, GU opens up its WCC home schedule with a three-game weekend series against Pepperdine . The Bulldogs then close out the home stand with a two-game set against another Pac-10 opponent in Oregon Apr. 20-21.
“Those midweek matchups with the Pac-10 teams are always exciting,” stated Machtolf. “All of the Pac-10 teams on our schedule have really improved from last season and will provide us with some tough tests.”
The weekend of Apr. 23-25 will provide a showdown between the past two conference champions as the Zags head to San Diego for a weekend series with the University of San Diego. Gonzaga will wrap up its non-conference schedule at Washington Apr. 27-28 before returning home for a conference series against Santa Clara Apr. 30-May 2.
Following a conference series at Saint Mary’s May 14-16, the Zags are slated to close out the regular season playing their final six games at home, hosting a pair of WCC foes in Loyola Marymount May 21-23 and Portland May 28-30.
“Playing four conference series at home is a huge advantage for us,” explained Machtolf. “We were very tough at home in WCC play last year and playing those last two conference series in front of our home crowd here in Spokane could really help us down the stretch.”
The Bulldogs are coming off of arguably the best season in school-history, posting the sixth most wins in program history (36), capturing the school’s inaugural WCC Regular Season and Championship Series crowns, earning the program’s eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament, finishing with a No. 22 national ranking and having a program-best five players drafted by Major League Baseball.