After putting together a top-10 nonconference schedule last season according to several metrics from D1Baseball.com, Gonzaga University head baseball coach Mark Machtolf may have outdone himself with the slate he assembled for 2023.
The Zags, who finished 36-17 in 2022 and reached a second-straight NCAA Regional, will play eight teams from last year’s tournament in a 52-game schedule that was released on Nov. 4.
Of GU’s 19 scheduled opponents, 13 finished top-150 in the NCAA’s final RPI rankings, including No. 1 Tennessee and second-ranked Oregon State. The Zags will also host College World Series runner-up Oklahoma and visit Oregon in Eugene.
“Coach Mac and Coach [Brandon] Harmon have done an awesome job of putting together maybe the best nonconference schedule that we’ve ever had arguably,” said assistant coach Sean Winston.
GU begins the season with a four-game series at Texas Tech that runs from Feb. 17-20. The Red Raiders went 29-22 last year, reaching Game Four of the Statesboro Regional as a No. 2 seed.
Facing Texas Tech marks the beginning of a grueling stretch of games for the Zags, who travel to Phoenix afterward to play two games each against Grand Canyon and Ohio State (Feb. 24-26).
The Zags’ season-opening road trip concludes with a three-game series at Tennessee in Knoxville (March 3-5). The Volunteers finished 57-9 overall last year and are the reigning SEC champions.
GU outfielder Enzo Apodaca acknowledged the strength of his team’s early-season opponents, but said it’s a challenge they’re ready for.
“I think it provides an opportunity to show the world of college baseball what the Zags can do and that we can compete at that level,” Apodaca said of GU’s first few matchups. “It also just creates exciting energy and gets us more eager to start this season.”
A three-game series against UC Irvine from March 10-12 will be the Zags’ home opener before they go back on the road for two games at Minnesota on March 14 and 15.
GU will remain at home to open conference play as San Francisco visits Spokane from March 17-19.
Following a road trip to Pepperdine (March 24-26), the Zags have their first multi-series homestand when rival BYU (March 30-April 1) and reigning West Coast Conference (WCC) Tournament champions San Diego (April 6-8) come to town.
GU hits the road again for two midweek games at Oregon State on April 10 and 11, marking the 13th and 14th time the schools have faced off in the last five years.
The Zags went 1-3 against the Beavers in 2022, losing a pair of neutral site games in Surprise, Arizona, but splitting two contests in Corvallis, Oregon.
A single game with Washington State in Spokane on April 15 is wedged in between a pair of conference road series at LMU (April 14-16) and Portland (April 21-23).
GU will remain in Oregon for a two-game series with the Ducks (April 25-26) before returning home later that week to play Pacific (April 28-30).
After the Zags visit Pullman for another one-game meeting with WSU on May 2, they come back to the Patterson Baseball Complex to host Saint Mary’s (May 5-7) and Oklahoma (May 12-14).
A series at Santa Clara (May 19-21) wraps up GU’s regular season, with the WCC Tournament set to follow.
The conference champion will be decided at Banner Island Park in Stockton, California, but dates for the games have yet to be announced.