Zags Announce 2016 Baseball Schedule

Seven NCAA tournament teams on the docket

Dec. 10, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash.--The Gonzaga University baseball team will face yet another tough slate of teams in 2016 as head coach Mark Machtolf announced the team's upcoming schedule Thursday.

"This schedule is going to give our players a chance to play on a national stage and get us prepared to play a rigorous WCC schedule," said Mactholf. "And some of our road trips, especially playing on the road at TCU and Arkansas, will give our guys a taste of what a regional setting will be like at the end of the year."

The non-conference slate features teams from 10 different conferences and seven of last year's NCAA Tournament participants. Gonzaga will begin the season in Phoenix, Ariz., when they face Grand Canyon in a four-game series. The season-opening four game series will be the first time the two schools have faced each other since Grand Canyon changed from Grand Canyon College to Grand Canyon University. The Antelopes are the reigning Western Athletic Conference champions but they did not compete in the NCAA Tournament as they're still reclassifying to full Division I status. The `Lopes and the Zags will play four games over three days Feb. 19-21.

During the second week of the season, the Zags will travel to San Antonio for Notre Dame's Irish Alamo Classic. They begin the tournament with a doubleheader on Feb. 26 with a game against Texas Southern and Incarnate Word. The next day brings up a single contest against Bradley, and they'll wrap up the year's first trip to the Alamo City with a showdown against the Fighting Irish. Texas Southern, Bradley, and Notre Dame each reached the playoffs last season with Texas Southern winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Bradley finishing second in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Gonzaga will return to the Lone Star State during each of the following two weekends. The Zags will play their first-ever games at TCU March 4-6, and they'll return to San Antonio the following weekend for a three-game stint versus UTSA March 11-13. In between, Gonzaga will head north to Fayetteville, Ark., and play another two-game series against Arkansas March 8-9. The Zags swept the two-game series against the Razorbacks last year, marking the first time Gonzaga beat a Southeastern Conference team in their home park. During this stretch of eight games in 10 games, they'll face off against two of last year's College World Series participants; both TCU and Arkansas played in Omaha last season with the Horned Frogs coming within a couple wins of the Finals.

After playing the first 16 games on the road, the Zags will finally get to play at Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field when they host Pepperdine March 18-20. The two teams closed out the WCC schedule in 2015, and they'll open the 2016 conference slate against each other as well. Pepperdine won the league title last season and advanced to its regional final in the NCAAs. After the series against the Waves, Gonzaga will stick around in eastern Washington for one more game, facing Washington State on March 22 in Pullman. The local rivals split their two-game series last season with each squad winning at home.

The Bulldogs will then hit the road for another 10-game slate, making conference stops in Moraga and Stockton and sandwiching a trip to Seattle in the middle. That trip to the west side of the state will feature two games at Washington, the return trip for the Huskies' jaunt to Spokane in 2015.

After wrapping up the series at Pacific, the Zags will open up a four-game homestand against Pacific Northwest rivals. The stretch begins with a single game against Washington State April 5, and it continues when the Zags host conference foe Portland April 8-10.

The weekend after, the Zags will venture to San Francisco for three games at the Dons' newly renovated Benedetti Diamond. They'll then return to Spokane for their final three home games of the year, a three-game set against Santa Clara April 22-24. After hosting the Broncos for three, they'll wrap up the month of April with a three-game set in Provo, Utah, as they face BYU.

After a bye in the first weekend of May, Gonzaga will head back down to Los Angeles for a three-game stint at Loyola Marymount. The Bulldogs' series against the Lions was originally scheduled to take place in Spokane this season, but it was moved to Los Angeles to allow GU to play at home during graduation weekend in 2017. Next, the Zags will wrap up the season series against Washington State with a neutral site contest in Pasco on May 17. The two eastern Washington teams haven't met in Pasco in 13 years, when the Zags took two games of a three-game series in 2002. After Pasco, the Bulldogs will wrap up the regular season in southern California with a three-game set at San Diego and a single game at UC Santa Barbara May 24.

From Santa Barbara, the Zags hope to return to Stockton for the West Coast Conference Championships, a four-team tournament to decide which squad will represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga has played in two of three WCC Championships since the tournament began in 2013. This year's conference championship will run May 26-28 at Banner Island Ballpark.

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