Tony Gwynn Classic Baseball Tournament Announced

SAN DIEGO, Calif.  The Tony Gwynn  Classic college baseball tournament, an annual event to honor the career and legacy of the late San Diego State baseball coach and National Hall of Fame inductee, will debut Feb. 26-28, 2016. The eight-team tournament will be co-hosted by San Diego State and the University of San Diego.

In addition to the Aztecs and Toreros, the inaugural Tony Gwynn  Classic field includes Nebraska, Nevada, Kentucky, Tulane, Bryant and UC Santa Barbara.

The tournament will feature 12 games in a true championship format. Two games per day will be played at Tony Gwynn Stadium and Fowler Park. The championship game will be played at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Gwynn played at San Diego State (1979-81) and later coached his alma mater for 12 seasons after concluding his 20-season Hall of Fame career with the San Diego Padres. SDSU Coach Mark Martinez said the tournament is one of many ways of continuing Gwynn's incredible legacy.

"Tony loved to teach and the players he coached are the reason we have the Tony Gwynn Classic," commented Martinez. "These are guys he spent every single day with trying to make them better, not only in baseball, but in life. This tournament is about honoring Tony's legacy...about celebrating his legacy and his motto of doing things right. That's why we're bringing the best college baseball programs to San Diego and I'm so proud to say we're part of it."

There are several connections to Gwynn and local baseball in the inaugural field. USD Coach Rich Hill was a teammate of Gwynn's at San Diego State in 1981. Kentucky Coach Gary Henderson played at San Diego State (1982-84) after Gwynn had moved on to professional baseball, and later served on SDSU's staff. Nebraska Coach Darin Erstad was a two-time All-Star during a major league career that overlapped with Gwynn's.

Three teams in the inaugural field--SDSU, UC Santa Barbara and Tulane--reached the NCAA Regionals in 2015, while USD, Nevada and Bryant were regular season champions of the West Coast, Mountain West and Northeast Conferences respectively.

Kicking off the tournament will be Tony Gwynn Week, which will begin with the opening of the 2016 college baseball season on Friday, Feb. 19, with festivities at Tony Gwynn Stadium and Fowler Park.

The field has been set for 2017 as well, with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Seton Hall, Wichita State and UC Irvine joining San Diego State and USD.

Future fields will include powers such as Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Cal State Fullerton and USC.

Fan can follow the Tony Gwynn Classic on Twitter (@TGwynnClassic) and Facebook (Tony Gwynn Classic).