ATLANTA CHALLENGE LIVE LINKS: Georgia Tech will have a one-camera setup for a broadcast on the ACC Network Extra (ESPN3). Kennesaw State will have online streaming , but won't have a play-by-play announcer for the game due to a basketball doubleheader, but will have audio and a crowd mic. See our schedule page for those links: http://byucougars.com/schedule/m-baseball
RARELY FRIDAY: Baseball America wrote how BYU will miss “electric Friday starter Michael Rucker.” Yes, Rucker will be missed, but his electricity rarely conducted on a Friday. BYU plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday series, never on a Sunday. Rucker pitched twice last year on a Friday: in the season opener vs. Saint Louis and in the opening upset over No. 25 Creighton. The All-American Rucker, who signed with the Chicago Cubs with a year of eligibility remaining, had 13 Thursday appearances and one Monday appearance en route to his 11-1 record.
GAME NOTES: More detailed information on the team is posted through a multi-page PDF attached to our weekly game advances. Those notes include preseason honors, a listing of former Cougar players from Georgia , etc. Here’s the link for the season-opening game notes: http://byucougars.com/files/byu_in_atlanta_challenge_0.pdf
FIELD OF 64: Baseball America also listed BYU among its projected field of 64 as a No. 3 seed at the Charlottesville, Virginia regional as the league champion. It also listed WCC foe Gonzaga as a No. 3 seed at the Corvallis, Oregon regional and Cougar opponents UC Santa Barbara as a No. 2 seed at Corvallis; and Georgia Tech as a No. 2 seed at the Lafayette, Louisiana Regional.
SHAVER PRESEASON HONORS: Colton Shaver is one of 55 on the Golden Spikes Preseason watch list, see link at http://bit.ly/2lPMeQy. Shaver was also listed as a Preseason All-American by The Sporting News.
ATTENDING FIRST PITCH DINNER: Among the former BYU baseball players who attended last month’s fourth-annual First Pitch Dinner were: Tim Anderson, Cortland Andrews, Bryce Ayoso, Mike Bergeron, Jeff Bills, Casey Cloward, Paul Cluff, Taylor Cole, Gary Cooper, Cameron Coughlan, Tyler Dabo, David Decker, Ryan Freeman, Rusty Gray, Jacob Hannemann, Matt Hutchings, Paul Jacinto, Wally Joyner, Adam Law, Mike Littlewood, Blair Lucas, Hayden Nielsen, Tyler Perry, Bryce Searle, Mark Smith, Jeremy Thomas, Eric Urry, Brock Whitney, Brad Winget, Alex Wolfe and former coaches Glen Tuckett and Vernon Law.
MORE ON FIRST PITCH DINNER: A Georgia anecdote was revealed at the end of the First Pitch Dinner by Wally Joyner about keynote speaker Dale Murphy. Cougar alum and All-American Joyner told of growing up in Georgia and getting prime seats at the struggling Atlanta Braves’ games. Murphy was a hero of his whom he met once before the next encounter on I-285. The then-teenage Joyner was delivering ice, trying to keep a truck with bad alignment in the lines and noticed a car behind him. Soon the car pulled up beside Joyner and he noticed it was Murphy, waving out the window at the teenager he remembered.
NATIONAL HONOR FOR ZOBELL: Yours truly was selected as the 42nd winner of the annual Wilbur Snypp Award for contributions to college baseball. @RalphZobell tweeted: “Scores of colleagues, interns, #BYUbaseball players, coaches & family helped with nat'l honor. Thank you. #GoCougs http://www.sportswriters.net/ncbwa/news/2017/snypp170209.html … pic.twitter.com/CjoNakwo8j” Official presentation of the award is scheduled for opening day of the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska on June 17, so let’s root for the Cougars to be there as one of the team qualifiers. Former BYU coaches Gary Pullins and Glen Tuckett are scheduled to be in Omaha again for their yearly American Baseball Coaches Association meetings.