Men's Baseball Blog

April Baseball Blog

Apr 01, 2014 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 12:06 pm | Updated: April 7, 2014 11:56 am | Permalink

PRO BASEBALL ASSIGNMENTS:  Adam Law has been assigned to the High A league at Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.  (Quakes). The Midwest League has several former Cougars: Adam Miller has been assigned in South Bend, Ind. (Silver Hawks), Jaycob Brugman has also been assigned to Beloit, Wisc. (Snappers) and Jacob Hannemann will be playing for the Kane County Cougars , a Class A minor league team in Geneva, Ill. Coach Littlewood’s son Marcus has been assigned to play again in Clinton, Iowa (LumberKings) in the Midwest League, too. Matt Carson is in the Indians’ Class AAA team in Columbus, Ohio. We are awaiting word on the assignment for Steve Parker.

ROYAL BLUES: BYU broke out its royal blue uniforms last month in a 20-3 victory over Utah. The Cougars wore the traditional old school colors against San Diego in Provo, against USF at AT&T Ballpark last month in San Francisco and on the first day of this month against Utah Valley. Remaining dates when you can see the Cougars wear their royal blue uniforms are April 19 vs. Loyola Marymount, May 3 vs. Gonzaga, May 6 vs. Utah and May 10 vs. Santa Clara.

FIRESIDES: The Cougars held another fireside last month after game one at Saint Mary's. The fireside scheduled for April 13 following the Pepperdine series has been cancelled due to logistical problems. The team has held firesides in Glendale, Ariz., in February and a morningside in Louisiana prior to a game at Nicholls State last month.

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS: Not only does Chris Howard graduate this month; a couple days after those ceremonies he celebrates his birthday. Others celebrating birthdays this month include Dallen Reber and redshirt pitcher Michael Rucker.

MORE ON MAHONEY NO-HITTER:  Nicholls coach Seth Thibodeaux said: “He took the fight to us, and we didn't fight a whole lot back. (Mahoney) pitched his tail off and handled the fastball. He's their No. 1 for a reason, and he set the tempo for those guys all night.”

BYU coach Mike Littlewood said he knew Mahoney had this type of game in him.  “He's been good every outing. He spotted up his fastball and threw his curve ball and slider for strikes. It was great to see him locate his pitches and help set the tone for us in this series.” 

“It (arm) felt really good tonight,” Mahoney said. “All my pitchers were working. I was able to throw my fastball wherever I wanted to and what helped me out was they swung at a lot of first pitches, which held my pitch count down.” 

HIGH PRAISE FOR LUND: Freshman outfielder Brennon Lund caught the eye of Fresno State coach Mike Batesole last month. In the Fresno Bee newspaper it read: “right fielder Jordan Luplow -- who extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a first-inning single -- cut the ball off on its first hop, planted his left foot, turned and threw a laser to second baseman Jesse Medrano, who followed suit with a rocket home to Ward for another tag at home to end the game.

"It's not just a play at the plate -- that kid is a special runner," said Bulldogs coach Mike Batesole, referring to Lund legging out a double in the third on what appeared to be a routine outfield single.

"I was picturing in my mind what was going to happen if they hit a double. I was watching him (Lund) the whole way and he was burning it up. Read more here:

WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE: Former pitchers Fred Caviglia (1967-68) and Jim Englehardt (1966-67) joined teammates/players Jeff Bills (1972-75) Dr. Tom Fife (1962-67), Guy Hale (1963-65), Bob Martin (1964-66), Gary Pullins  (1967-68), and former coach Glen Tuckett last month at BYU’s games in San Francisco.

Among the sites the former Cougar players and coaches took in was a visit to the home of Doug McWilliams, a major league photographer from 1969 through 1995.  Tuckett enjoyed seeing McWilliams’ memorabilia on the Pacific Coast League where he played before joining the Cougars.

FORMER COUGAR RETURNS: Kansas transfer Scott Tittrington, a former BYU pitcher (1996-97) was a sportswriter for the Provo Daily Herald. Tittrington has returned to the Herald to oversee local news.

VANCE LAW ON UTAH TV: Former Cougar coach/player Vance Law will take short breaks from his assignment with the Chicago White Sox organization to serve as color analyst with Steve Klauke for Salt Lake Buzz games televised on KJZZ 14.  The dates of those Buzz telecasts are Saturdays, April 5, May 3, June 7, July 19, and Wednesday, August 20.

March Baseball Blog

Mar 04, 2014 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 1:51 pm | Updated: March 6, 2014 11:41 am | Permalink

DEVOTIONAL IN LOUISIANA: On Saturday, March 8, at 11 a.m., BYU's baseball team will speak at a morning devotional in Louisiana prior to playing the fourth game in a series at Nicholls State that evening at 6 p.m.

NEW OFFICE DIGS: Finishing touches are nearly complete on a new office for Coach Mike Littlewood. No longer will the head coach have to share a room with his assistants now that a private office has been added next door. A separate room to break down video and films for scouting reports and team analysis was also included in the expansion. On the softball side, Coach Gordon Eakin has a private office now that an office has been added for his assistants Kristin Delahoussaye Morrison and Pete Meredith.

ROYAL BLUE JERSEYS: For the Utah game BYU donned Royal Blue uniforms, batting helmets and a matching cap. The throw-back uniforms were done to inspire alumni and remind the team of past tradition.

MLB JERSEYS: As part of the renovation on the ground level of Miller Park, BYU's coaches added framed jerseys on the tunnel adjacent to the locker room for past Major League Baseball players Jeremy Guthrie (Cleveland Indians), Kevin Towers (San Diego Padres), Dane Iorg (St. Louis Cardinals), Vance Law (Montreal Expos) and 1960 Cy Young winner Vernon Law (Pittsburgh Pirates).

CHARADES IN RAIN: During the rain delay between BYU and Seattle in St. George, both teams provided entertainment. Jeff Barker and Tyler Kendrick reversed their uniforms, wearing pants over their heads and jerseys as substitute pants. The two looked like they were running upside down on their hands and arms as they dashed from the dugout into the outfield at Bruce Hurst Field. Barker had previously performed this stunt during summer ball rain delays in Southern California and a couple years ago when he played for future BYU assistant coach Brent Haring in Virginia.

Seattle's team countered by gathering in a circle to watch a mock wrestling match between two teammates. The Cougars then formed their own circle watching a skinny bare-chested Kendrick pretend he was exercising on a body blade machine. As Kendrick ducked out of sight, a bare-chested muscular Bryan Heward stood up to show the benefits of weightlifting.

Here you can view a past rain delay charades involving BYU baseball.

GRADUATION: Next month on April 24-25, Chris Howard (exercise science), Chunner Nyberg and Desmond Poulson  both in sociology will be walking through BYU graduation exercises along with former Cougar pitcher Marc Oslund ( Interdisciplinary Humanities).

MARRIAGE DURING BREAK: During the week of BYU final exams next month, BYU baseball will not be playing any games between April 19-29. It ended up being a perfect time for Coach Mike Littlewood, whose daughter Mica will be married to Andrew Condos in the Salt Lake Temple.

SUPER PREPS: In the USA Today Super 25 preseason high school poll Bishop Gorman High of Las Vegas was ranked No. 12, Flower Mound High in Texas was No. 16 and ThunderRidge High in Colorado was No. 45. Those schools are familiar to BYU baseball because current Cougars CJ Latham and Mackay Jacobsen played at Bishop Gorman and Flower Mound, respectively last season. And future Cougar pitcher A. J. Jones who signed last November plays on the ThunderRidge team. 

TUCKETT'S TOUR: Former BYU baseball coach and athletic director Glen Tuckett will join some of his former players Jeff Bills, Tom Fife, Gary Pullins and Mike Staffieri again this year in California. Glen and his "boys" will take in Bay Area site and the BYU baseball games in San Francisco, the last of which is at the home of the Giants, AT&T Ballpark.

THE W.tv: Earlier this month BYU made its baseball debut against Utah on the W.tv, an audio stream which will have play-by-play from veteran BYU baseball announcer Brent Norton. Norton will also call the play-by-play for KOVO 960 AM. The Cougars will be on The W.tv against Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara in Provo as well as at Portland when Norton will not be the "voice." Of course, the Cougars have the best of both worlds with Norton providing radio play-by-play for all of BYU's league games and many games being televised live and replayed on BYUtv.

KOVO STREAM: We are grateful to BYU fan Daniel Ormsby from Odessa, Texas who wrote last month that "960 AM began streaming last year online. All you do is open up that link and then click the 960 AM stream. It will have all the BYU baseball games on 960 AM available."

PA ANNOUNCER: Jan Davis is the new public address announcer for BYU baseball, replacing former Cougar Brock Lucker who moved on. Davis is the father of BYU baseball trainer Alex Davis. So you might hear a proud tone in dad's voice when he announces the starting lineup for the Cougars along with the coaching staff and its baseball trainer.

February Baseball Blog

Feb 16, 2014 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 9:02 pm | Updated: March 6, 2014 11:19 am | Permalink

GRANDPA LITTLEWOOD: Add a new title to coach Mike Littlewood, who became a grandpa hours before his team left with him for the season opener in Arizona. Littlewood’s son Tyson is the proud papa of a daughter named Capri. Last month Coach Littlewood spoke at the 10-year reunion of one of his Dixie College teams and at the Utah High School Coaches Association.

LOPEZ CRIB SHEETS: In addition to scouting reports, BYU senior Bret Lopez is the recipient of a manila envelope each trip, prepared by his wife, Taryn. The tradition began when they were dating, but the Arizona trip marked the first packet Bret received from Taryn since they were married last May. Inside each envelope is a “scouting report” of the community where Bret and the Cougars are playing. For instance, on one trip last year Bret learned through the packet that the school they were playing was the oldest institution west of the Mississippi. Population and other interesting bits of trivia are enclosed to help Bret learn more of the environment.

JOINING LOPEZ: Junior Andy Isom along with Bret Lopez and teammate Hayden Nielsen, are members of the Cougar Council, representing BYU baseball among the student-athletes. Because Lopez is the co-chair of that council, baseball was allowed to add Isom as a second team representative.

HERNANDEZ REDSHIRTING: Catcher Dakota Hernandez made a decision at the end of last month to redshirt this season. The junior had off-season surgery on his labrum after rebounding from a broken thumb midseason last year. The Cougars are three-deep at catcher with junior Jarrett Jarvis the most experienced, backed by JC transfer Bo Fisher and true freshman Bronson Larsen. Also redshirting this season is pitcher Michael Rucker, a transfer from Gonzaga, due to NCAA rules.

LUND KUDOS: Freshman outfielder Brennon Lund was tapped twice by Perfect Game magazine in preseason mention. Lund was picked as the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and listed No. 43 in its top 100 freshmen in the country.

AFTER KANSAS TO ARKANSAS: Junior third baseman Dillon Robinson is making a return trip to Arkansas. In 2012 Robinson started in the first of two games at No. 4 Arkansas. This summer he will be returning for a 10-week internship with Walmart. As part of that preparation, Robinson read the biography of Sam Walton. Of course, it helped that Robinson had a cumulative 3.53 GPA, is majoring in finance and that a former player of BYU assistant coach Brent Haring had a key acquaintance in the Walmart hierarchy who had played for him at Harding University in Arkansas.

TEXAS TOAST: This week BYU plays at the Kleberg Bank Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas. Freshmen Mackay Jacobsen, Tyler Kendrick and Hayden Parker all live within 20 minutes of each other in Texas. Kendrick’s father Peter made the trip with his wife last week to Arizona where the former Cougar All-American played at that same Peoria Sports Complex as a minor leaguer. Peter also had a reunion with fellow battery-mate David “Boy” Eldredge, whose son was a senior catcher for Kansas.

ARIZONA FIRESIDE: BYU’s baseball players spoke and sang at a fireside for the Glendale North, Glendale and Peoria Stakes in addition to playing Kansas on its Arizona trip. Bishop Ted Heid of the Sunburst Ward conducted and helped host the Cougars on their four-day trip. Heid is the Seattle Mariners' Director of Pacific Rim Scouting.

One of shortstop Hayden Nielsen’s grandmothers played the piano while the team sang “We’ll Bring the World His Truth.” Arizonans Eric Urry and Hayden Rogers, both returned missionaries, joined senior co-captain Chris Howard and Coach Mike Littlewood as the main speakers. From an overflow chapel of youths, questions were submitted and answered by Cougars Mackay Jacobsen, Nielsen, Andy Isom, Howard and Brandon Kinser and assistant coach Brent Haring.

Urry quoted 2 Nephi 31:20 and told of looking for promised blessings. He told an analogy of riding a bike, using three principles. 1) Keep on moving forward, never slowing down or stopping. 2) Keep on pedaling, endure to the end and draw strength from it. 3) Move as straight as possible without making any sudden deviation.

Rogers told how he could hear the calm voice of his high school coach above the noise of the crowd. “How was I able to hear his voice so easily? We prepared in practice.” He told of how we need to listen to the small, distinct voice amidst so many distractions. He quoted Mosiah 2:41.

Howard talked about how he was baptized last December. His parents and girlfriend were in attendance at the fireside. He told of how he hadn’t always made good choices and had been suspended for 25 games as a junior. He talked about the importance of being an example. He quoted 1 Timothy 4:12. Later when questioned, he told of how he had committed to attend Creighton University while in high school, but they later pulled their offer.

Littlewood quoted Joshua 24:15 and told of how his wife listened with their son to a CD that had a catchy beat, but had bad words. He told of them teaching their son that subtly those words are going into his subconscious. He referred to seeing the light in the distance of the Manti Temple while driving in a dark night.

Haring answered a question about finding time to balance team and family amidst stress and told of the wives that supported the coaches and staff. Jacobsen answered a question about scripture study. Nielsen answered a question about qualities needed to be a co-captain. Isom answered a question about having a balance between school and baseball and the importance of having a plan. Kinser answered a question about the importance of serving a mission, to not look at it being a stumbling block, rather as a stepping stone.

January Baseball Blog

Jan 17, 2014 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 12:53 pm | Updated: February 4, 2014 9:59 pm | Permalink

GUTHRIE'S REMARKS AT FIRST PITCH DINNER
For photos from the Jan. 18 First Pitch Dinner visit this link

Major League pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, accompanied by his son Hudson, spoke for 45 minutes at the Marriott Center where BYU baseball had a goal of raising $50,000 and a $12,000 scholarship. Among those in attendance at the fundraiser were former pro players Dane Iorg, Vance Law, Vernon Law and current pitcher Brandon Lyon, who played for coach Mike Littlewood at Dixie State.

“There is no way to take out what the gospel has meant to me,” Guthrie began. He told of a Sports Illustrated article on Michael Jordan which hangs in Guthrie’s basement about giving your best. He quoted legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, “success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”

Guthrie related an experience from high school when he wasn’t selected to be the starting quarterback at first. He later became the starter and said, “When you don’t get what you want, you need to be prepared.”

Guthrie attended Especially For Youth at BYU as a 17-year-old senior. “I was overwhelmed by the spirit that I felt. My friend and I listened to all the speakers.” He told of listening to Brad Wilcox, who told us “we would be excellent missionaries.” Later Guthrie sent tapes to Norm Chow to walk on at BYU. He had been offered $320,000 by the Padres, but ended up drafted by the Mets in the 15th round. Guthrie flew to New York and pitched in the bullpen at Shea Stadium. 

“I read about the Million Dollar Missionary, McKay Christensen, and told them (the Mets) that story. They said, ‘If we offered you a million dollars would you pass up that chance to be a missionary?’ So many decisions we make in life that dictate where we will end up.” Guthrie turned down that proposition and ended up serving a mission to Spain after one year at BYU. He told of his ups and downs at BYU.

“I was ready to be a missionary at the end of my freshman year. After my mission, I was given a chance to transfer to Stanford. I was told by coach Mark Marquess that I would be the closer which meant being asked to pitch on Sundays.” Guthrie pondered Marquess’ offer and told him he would not pitch on Sundays. Marquess countered by making him a starter for the next 40 Fridays in the next two seasons. That observance carried over to the pro ranks for Guthrie who decided to “treat the Sabbath different that I did other days at the ballpark. My wife didn’t attend games on Sundays.”

Guthrie related trials working up through AA and AAA with the Cleveland Indians, then playing for the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and finally the Kansas City Royals. “I was the 25th guy to make the team with the Orioles. I was given the ball three times on opening day.

Guthrie closed by saying, “I enjoy the struggle of being on top of (my) game. It will be taken away as quickly as it is given to you. Focus by the effort I was giving.” He recalled hearing an October 1999 General Conference address by Bishop Richard C. Edgley.

“Give your best,” Guthrie said. “Understand and identify what success is, never get down as long as we do our best.”

PLAYING IN ARIZONA
BYU opens its season with a four-game series against Kansas at the Mariners/Rangers Spring Training Complex in Peoria, Ariz. BYU's team will be holding a tri-stake fireside on Feb. 16 at the Glendale Arizona North Stake Center, 4901 W. Union Hills Dr. at 6 p.m.

Other NCAA schools playing in Arizona at pro facilities in February include those on Feb. 14  when Minnesota and Northern Illinois play at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, spring training home of the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers;  and Nebraska, Gonzaga, Pacific play in the Husker Classic at the Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Angels in  Tempe's Diablo Stadium. 

On Feb.21-24  at the Big10-Pac12 Tournament in Surprise at the Kansas City Royals Spring Training facility Utah joins Washington, Oregon State, Michigan State, Nebraska and Indiana.

And on Feb. 27-March 2  Gonzaga, Santa Clara, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Manhattan, and Arizona State play in Surprise.

COUGARS IN ST. GEORGE
BYU has a couple of practices in St. George before it opens the home season vs. Seattle University in a three-game series at St. George on Feb. 27, 28 and March 1 at Dixie's Bruce Hurst Field.

Those practices will be Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 (Dixie High), 7 and 8 in St. George in an effort to avoid cabin fever.

Last March BYU baseball moved its home opening games vs. Creighton to St. George because of weather and won two of the three games in bookend fashion. The Cougars played in St. George in 1999 and 1998 in Southern Utah Chiropractice and Ed Stangue tournaments against Southern Utah, Washington, Mesa State, Lewis-Clark State and San Francisco. BYU's record in St. George is 5-6.

AT&T BALLPARK
Spacious AT&T Ballpark (41,915 seats) will be the site of the third game BYU plays at San Francisco. The Cougars play the first two games at cozy Beneditti Diamond (2,000 seats, 315-415-321) and finish the series at AT&T Ballpark (339-399-309) where BYU's football team played last December in the Fight Hunger Bowl, drawing 34,136 fans in a 31-16 loss to No. 25 Washington). This season BYU is also playing at pro ballparks in Corpus Christi, Texas; Pasco, Wash.; and Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City. The top attendance for a BYU baseball game was 11,699 at the Kingdome in Seattle vs. Notre Dame in 1994 when the Cougars also played Washington in that facility.

CAMERON TUCKETT AWARD
The winner of the 2013 Cameron Tuckett Award was Adam Law, who was presented the award by former BYU coach Glen Tuckett at the January First Pitch Dinner. For a complete list of past winners of the Cameron Tuckett Award please visit this link.

INJURED PLAYERS
Pitcher Marc Oslund and outfielder Christian Mua will not be competing during the 2014 season due to injuries that did not permit full participation with the team.

BELATED CHRISTMAS GREETINGS
BYU pitcher Kolton Mahoney, Cougar marketing director Bill Hoops and sports information director Ralph Zobell are the baseball connections on last December's Athletic Department Christmas card. You can view a PDF of that card through this link.

BAPTISM LAST DECEMBER
Senior pitcher Chris Howard was baptized last December, see photo below, with him circled front and center. The left-handed reliever was voted one of four co-captains by his teammates for the 2014 season and redshirted last year due to Tommy John surgery. Over 50 current and former players were among those at the baptism.

LITTLEWOOD WEDDING
During the off season, BYU junior tennis player Morgan Anderson from St. George married Marcus Littlewood last November. Marcus, the youngest son of BYU coach Mike Littlewood, plays catcher for the Seattle Mariner organization. You can view her bio here on the tennis team website. FYI, BYU's baseball 2014 team has five players who are married: Jeff Barker, Jarrett Jarvis, Brandon Kinser, Dillon Robinson, and Brock Whitney.

FOUR-YEAR TRANSFERS
There are three transfers on this year's team from four-year schools, Rhett Nelson, Dallen Reber and Michael Rucker. Nelson played at Santa Clara prior to serving a mission to Chile and transferring to Salt Lake Community College. Reber played at Kentucky prior to serving a mission also to Chile. And Rucker played last year at Gonzaga, but will have to sit out this season at BYU according to NCAA transfer rules.

MISSED ON LAST BLOG
Assistant coach Trent Pratt was among those given a Cougar Paw award at last August's meeting with the BYU Athletic Department.

Alumni Weekend

Sep 23, 2013 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 1:47 pm | Updated: September 25, 2013 1:33 pm | Permalink

The 12th annual baseball golf tournament was a successful event played at TalonsCove Golf Course on September 20.

LITTLEWOOD RETURNS TO ST. GEORGE: The previous weekend BYU coach Mike Littlewood and his wife Dani pinch-hit for BYU basketball coach Dave Rose, recuperating from cancer treatment, and his wife Cheryl as the convocation speakers for Dixie State University. Among Coach Littlewood’s remarks at that convocation were: “You can be whatever you want to be. Enjoy it while it lasts, it won’t last forever. Find your passion and pursue it with vigor. Don’t let society define your success.”

COUGARS RETURN TO ST. GEORGE: Last March BYU baseball moved its home opening games vs. Creighton to St. George because of weather. BYU just completed an agreement with Seattle University to move the 2014 home opener from Provo to St. George on Feb. 27, 28 and March 1.

TUCKETT’S CONNECTIONS: Former BYU coach and athletic director Glen Tuckett “presided” and played in the golf tournament with two of his former players Jeff Bills and former Major Leaguer Dane Iorg. Iorg’s son Seth and nephew Isaac, also former Cougars, played in that tourney, as did Mark Hildebrand, who was recruited by Coach Tuckett in the 1970s. Hildebrand used to manage the AAA Franklin Quest Field for the Larry H. Miller group and now is the director for the 8,000-seat UCCU Events Center at Utah Valley University.

UTAH VALLEY GREEN: There were several Utah Valley University connections on the greens in addition to Hildebrand. Among them were former Cougar infielder Nate Mathis, who is now the Assistant AD - Corporate Partners & Marketing at UVU; BYU senior associate AD Brian Santiago, UVU transfers Seth King, Todd Newman, Tyler Perry, Ben Saylor, Craig Smith, Glen Spencer, Wade Vest, and Bill Hoops, current BYU athletic marketing coordinator. Another Wolverine playing in the tourney was former Major Leaguer Mitch Jones.

SLICK BLUE: Former Cougar D.G. Nelson, the current head coach for the Bruins, represented Salt Lake Community College. D.G.’s uncle Kim Nelson, a former Cougar All-American, played in the tourney. Among the SLCC transfers to BYU who played in the golf tourney were Ryan Bernal and Rusty Gray.

ANNOYING RED: One brave golfer came dressed in all red Utah attire, but it wasn’t former Cougar pitcher Brett McDermaid who transferred to Utah from BYU. McDermaid played the TalonsCove course with former Cougar pitchers Matt Rex, Craig Smith and Marc Kenner. The man dressed in red has the last name of Gray, a relative playing in the Rusty Gray foursome.

FOOTBALL TIE: Former college football player, Derek Shutt, who was a tight end at UC Davis, played in the foursome with his brother Justin, a former Cougar reliever.

FINANCIAL GURUS: Several former BYU baseball players who played in the golf tourney now have careers in the financial industry. Among those are Oxford-educated former relief pitcher Josh Barrett and former pitcher Michel Bergeron who played with his father who had traveled from Ontario, Canada. Another former Cougar pitcher J.D. Stambaugh traveled quite a ways from Memphis, Tenn., where he is a financial adviser for Duncan-Williams, Inc. Another financial connection playing in the tourney was former BYU second baseman Dane Nielsen who now works in Phoenix for Odyssey Capital Group. Nielsen played in the foursome with BYU baseball radio announcer Brent Norton.

WINNERS: The foursome led by BYU assistant men’s golf coach Todd Miller won the tourney. Also in that foursome were Bernal, Alex Wolfe and Keith Nellesen. A post-tournament award was also given to former BYU second baseman Cameron Coughlan who came dressed in old-time duffer attire.

THE SCORE: The alumni game pitted former Cougars against each other, divided by even and odd years when they played at BYU. The score was 11-6 in favor of the even-year graduates. Among the highlights were Mark Anderson still throwing in the 90s, Jake Stubblefield hitting a home run over the scoreboard off Jeff Stone (see his swing in the accompanying photos) and current pitching coach Jeremy Thomas touching 85 mph in the ninth inning.

July Baseball Blog

Jul 09, 2013 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 2:27 pm | Updated: July 15, 2013 1:48 pm | Permalink

MORE SUMMER BALL NEWS: Check out this website for the Utah Marshalls to see which current Cougars are playing summer ball for this squad.

KNEE SURGERY: Shortstop Hayden Nielsen had a successful knee scope last month. After that surgery he worked BYU’s first baseball camp of the summer and has gone golfing during his rehabilitation time.

FINAL RANKINGS: With the conclusion of last month’s College World Series, the final NCAA statistical rankings show BYU finishing No. 12 in double plays and No. 14 in triples. Individually, Jacob Hannemann finished No. 6 nationally in triples.

UPDATED ROSTER: The 2014 roster is now posted reflecting returnees from last season’s squad, transfers, those who have signed national letters of intent and returning missionaries Dallen Reber, Matt Crowder, Wyatt Padgett and Kolton Mahoney.

WELCOME PACIFIC TIGERS: The University of the Pacific joined the West Coast Conference this month. BYU has a 3-6 record vs. Pacific, having last played each other in 2008 when the Cougars won 7-5 and 11-6. The two teams have played at three different venues in Stockton, Calif., in those nine games.  Read more about this series.

MISSION CALL: Infielder Nate Favero got his mission call this month to serve in Curitiba, Brazil. He will enter the Brazilian MTC in November.

UPCOMING WEDDING: Former BYU outfielder Jacob Hannemann is engaged to be married to Shayli Johnston. They anticipate a September wedding. Hannemann was named to his third and fourth Freshman All-America team this month when Baseball America magazine and Perfect Game named him to their second teams. Junior first baseman Cody Shepherd got married to Lindsey Horton last month.

2014 SCHEDULE: Portions of BYU’s 2014 baseball schedule, including games vs. Kansas in Arizona; TCU, UT San Antonio and Texas A & M Corpus Christi at the Whataburger Classic; at Dallas Baptist; at UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara in California; and at Nicholls State in Louisiana are now posted online on the baseball schedule page.

AT OMAHA: Former Cougars involved in meetings held in conjunction with the College World Series were Glen Tuckett, retired BYU baseball coach and director of athletics, and Gary Pullins, retired baseball coach who are on the board of directors for the American Baseball Coaches Association. FYI, Pullins prematurely celebrated his 70th birthday at Midway, Utah this month because all four of his children were in town—Pullins actual birthday isn’t until October. Working the College World Series was former BYU linebacker coach Jim Paronto (1983-84), who is the Secretary-Rules Editor, NCAA Baseball Rules Committee.

ANOTHER BYU GRADUATE:  Former outfielder Stephen Wells, who majored in exercise science, will be graduating next month in BYU summer graduation exercises. Current Cougar Christian Mua (exercise and wellness) and former utility man Austin Hall (exercise science) went through graduation exercises last April.

FORMER COUGAR PASSES AWAY: Edgar Benton Aucoin, passed away on July 13th in Baton Rouge, La.,  at the age of 95.  He was a 1949 graduate of BYU and served a career in Louisiana education.  While attending BYU, he was an officer in the Southern States Club, and played on the 1949 conference champion BYU Baseball team.

DATE FOR BYU BASEBALL'S FALL GOLF TOURNEY:  Friday, September 20th is the annual alumni golf outing, and Saturday, September 21st is the BYU alumni baseball game.

June Baseball Blog

May 31, 2013 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 3:54 pm | Updated: June 7, 2013 1:17 pm | Permalink

TUCKETT AND PULLINS BILLBOARD: With the home season now over, advertising banners were pulled from the outfield wall of Larry H. Miller Field. However, the banner of Glen Tuckett and Gary Pullins remains visible. That banner was unveiled last month when their jerseys, No. 20 and No. 1, were retired.

FORMER PLAYERS AT TUCKETT-PULLINS EVENT: Among the former Cougars in attendance at last month’s jersey-retiring festivities during the San Francisco series were the following: Tim Anderson, Dick Belliston, Lee Berge, Bob Burch, Dick Clark, Tom Fife, Dane Iorg, Jim Kimmel, Dennis Lamb, Bob Noel and Mike Staffieri who along with Pullins played for Coach Tuckett; and Keith Harrison, Nate Hyde, Sean McNaughton, Kelly Shepherd and Coach Mike Littlewood who played for Coach Pullins.

UPSETTING NO. 13 ASU: What a fun atmosphere it was at Arizona State in BYU’s 8-3 upset over the No. 13 Sun Devils. Among the 2,957 spectators were 88 BYU fans through the sales efforts of Keaton Cenatiempo’s mother. Another Cougar in attendance that night in Tempe was former BYU baseball coach and athletic director Glen Tuckett who enjoyed the company of his former players Mike Elmer, Dennis Lamb and former Cougar cager Veryl Law. Tuckett also was in town for the high school graduation of one of his grandsons.

WIVES’ CAR POOL: While many of the Cougars were flying to Stockton, Calif., for last month’s West Coast Conference Baseball Tournament, several of the players’ wives carpooled, driving I-80 en route to California. The drivers/riders were Deidre Miller, Ali Whitney, Madison Dennis and Merilee Speigner. One wife who didn’t drive was Alexis Brugman because she is expecting a baby this September.

EARTHQUAKE DURING WCC OPENING GAME:  BYU joined San Diego, San Francisco and Gonzaga playing at Banner Island Ballpark, home to the Single A Stockton Ports. Among the Ports opponents are the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. However, there was a real earthquake mid-way through BYU’s opening Thursday game against San Diego, registering 5.7 on the Richter Scale at 8:47 p.m., 25 miles southwest of Susanville, Calif., just over 200 miles away from Stockton. While many did not feel the quake during the game, Jaycob Brugman recalled hearing a fan comment about it after his at bat.  Most BYU players were unaware of the quake until Saturday morning when they read about it in newspapers at the Sacramento Airport.

FLYING AROUND:  Returning home early from Stockton after being eliminated from the West Coast Conference Tournament was a challenge on Memorial Day weekend. No single flight could accommodate the BYU entourage of over 30 travelers, so coaches scrambled and divided the team into four groups. One group flew to Seattle, another to Portland, another to Las Vegas and another to Phoenix, all routing towards Salt Lake City where the Cougars boarded a bus to Provo and listened to Jacob Hannemann’s pre-recorded interview on KSL Radio. Another impressive airport drill happened earlier in the week as the team flew out of Phoenix to Sacramento. After leaving their Phoenix hotel in the wee hours of the morning, the bus driver parked at the wrong terminal where the Cougars had to quickly reload bags and get back on the bus for the right terminal.

SPECIAL GUEST AT BANNER ISLAND BALLPARK: Theo Epstein, President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, was in the stands at Banner Island Ballpark for part of Friday’s action at the WCC Tournament, watching San Diego’s All-American Kris Bryant with a keen eye.

FORMER BYU ATHLETE FROM STOCKTON: Among the former BYU athletes who are from Stockton, Calif., is Paul Mendenhall, father of current football coach Bronco Mendenhall and former Cougar gridder Matt Mendenhall.

COUGAR TWEET: Last week we Tweeted the following: BSB | We believe in vicarious work. Good luck San Diego, San Francisco, LSU & Arizona State this weekend.

HANNEMANN AND THE DRAFT: BYU freshman outfielder Jacob Hannemann flew the last week of May to workouts in Seattle, Chicago (Cubs), Oakland and Los Angeles (Dodgers) in preparation for the June 6-8 Major League Baseball Draft. He also took a train from Chicago to workout for the Milwaukee Brewers.

WEDDINGS: Less than a week after the season finished, junior designated hitter Bret Lopez got married to Taryn Roberts. Next to get married are first baseman Cody Shepherd on June 29 to Lindsey Horton and pitcher Jeff Barker on July 27 to Kylie Richmond.

MATTHEW NEIL: Former BYU pitcher Matthew Neil was called up to the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami) last month.

LITTLEWOOD’S VACATION: BYU coach Mike Littlewood is taking a few days of vacation to watch his son Marcus play for the Clinton LumberKings (Seattle).  The Cougar mentor will watch games in Illinois and Wisconsin.

KNEE SURGERY: Hayden Nielsen played through a knee injury the last several weeks of the season and will be having surgery this month. He should be ready to pursue baseball later in the summer.

AWAITING MISSION CALL: Freshman infielder Nate Favero is awaiting a mission call.

SUMMER PLAYING ASSIGNMENTS: Jeff Barker - Conejo Oaks, Kelton Caldwell - DC Grays, Jacob Hannemann (depending on draft) Orleans (Cape Cod League), Trace Hansen - Bisbee Ironman, Bryan Heward (SLCC Transfer) - Bisbee Ironmen, Andy Isom - Saskatoon Yellow Jackets, Adam Law (depending on draft) Holyoke Blue Sox and Chunner Nyberg - DC Grays.

PAST TOP 10 ROUND DRAFTS:  Here BYU's Top 10 round draft picks:

Name Draft (Pick), Team Year
Cory Snyder 1st (4), Cleveland Indians 1984
Brian Banks 2nd (43), Milwaukee Brewers 1993
Ryan Hancock 2nd (45), California Angels 1993
John Greene 3rd (42), Kansas City Athletics 1966
Rick Aguilera 3rd (58), New York Mets 1983
Wally Joyner 3rd (67), California Angels 1983
Jacob Hannemann 3rd (75), Chicago Cubs 2013
Dave Jensen 3rd (78), Kansas City Royals 2002
Paul Cluff 4th (87), California Angels 1989
Carl Keliipuleole 4th (99), Cleveland Indians 1987
Darin Kracl 4th (113), Oakland A’s 1989
Jack Morris 5th (98), Detroit Tigers 1976
Eric Varoz 5th (117), San Diego Padres 1984
Steve Parker 5th (153), Oakland A’s 2009
Matt Carson 5th (156), Oakland A’s 2002
Mike Staffieri 6th (127), Cincinnati Reds 1972
Scott Nielsen 6th (139), Seattle Mariners 1983
Steve Eagar 6th (156), Detroit Tigers 1984
Joey Whitmer 7th (164), Seattle Mariners 1982
Gary Cooper 7th (172), Houston Astros 1986
Stan Younger 7th (173), Detroit Tigers 1980
Doug Howard 8th (183), California Angels 1970
Cliff Pastornicky 8th (197) Kansas City Royals 1980
John DeSilva 8th (213), Detroit Tigers 1989
Kevin Foderaro 8th (222), St. Louis Cardinals 1994
Nik Lemon 8th (239), Chicago White Sox 2004
Dave Horlacher 8th (256), Los Angeles Dodgers 2005
Tom Morris 9th (220, Houston Astros 1979
Jared Jensen 9th (275), Oakland A's 1997
Ken Crosby 10th (227), New York Yankees 1969
Marc Thomas 10th (242), Houston Astros 1979
Jeremy Toole 10th (297), San Francisco Giants 2009
Leon Johnson 10th (307), Chicago Cubs 2007

May baseball blog

May 06, 2013 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 2:11 pm | Updated: May 6, 2013 3:53 pm | Permalink

RECRUITING: Last month during the week break from play as BYU’s team prepared for final exams, BYU coach Mike Littlewood flew to Southern California on a recruiting trip and his assistants were in New York, Arizona and Las Vegas.

TUCKETT & PULLINS: Being honored during the St. Mary’s series on May 11 at Larry H. Miller Field are former BYU baseball coaches Glen Tuckett and Gary Pullins. Last month when the Cougars played at Santa Clara, Tuckett and former players Tom Fife, Jeff Bills and Jim Englehardt took in the BYU ball games, an Oakland A’s game and dined together.

ANOTHER MISSION CALL: Last month BYU played at Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., where at least one Cougar took more than usual notice of the surrounding community. Freshman pitcher Keaton Cenatiempo got his mission call to Spokane, Wash.

SECOND FIRESIDE: Following the 8-3 opening victory at Loyola Marymount, BYU’s baseball team changed into shirts and ties, busing to the nearby North Torrance Stake Center to hold a fireside in a chapel that overflowed into the cultural hall with former BYU All-American Murphy Su'a in attendance.

Jaycob Brugman got a gasp from the youth in the congregation when he told them he was one of 130 Mormons at his high school. He tried to further clarify that worked out to a percentage of .04. He quoted an epitaph from Jackie Robinson, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on others lives." Brugman spoke about not being afraid to live the Gospel. He talked of the difference of going to Prom with Mormon friends vs. his non-Mormon friends and how that led him to BYU. At BYU he met the “love of my life, got married in the temple and started my own family.”

Marc Oslund used a slide show to illustrate his talk. He told of the difference in his life before and after his conversion. He had a big crush on Rachel Carter whom is “the greatest blessing. She is much easier to live with than my missionary companion 24-7.” He showed a picture of his long hair as a high school quarterback. He told of how he was kicked out of the choir as a missionary in North Carolina by Brother Thomas who said, “Because you just can’t sing.” He talked of North Carolina basketball player Stilman White, who was impressed by the spirit he felt when he was asked by convert Will to baptize him. White, a Tar heel guard was encouraged by Oslund’s example and is now serving a mission to Ogden, Utah. Oslund encouraged the youth to commit to live the Gospel.

Coach Mike Littlewood also used some photos to illustrate his talk, which centered on a 1 ½-hour hike he took with his daughter Mica in 103-degree temperature up Angels Landing in Southern Utah. Mica had to hold on to the chain as she climbed the spine of Angels Landing, which he likened to clinging to the word of God and to be a light unto people.

Assistant coach Brent Haring conducted a question-answer session after those talks. Those questions from the congregation were: How many Eagle Scouts are on the team? Who had served missions? Why would a player would choose college over being drafted? Who is the oldest and youngest player on the team? Why hold firesides like this one and the one in Louisiana? The answer to the latter question centered around the spiritual aspects being a key factor and that “any time you give of yourself you become a better person.” Haring continued, answering a question about the difference in coaching at BYU compared to other schools. Haring told of how he coached at Harding College run by the Church of Christ. He told the difference being the players at BYU know who they are and what they want out of life.

VANCE ON TV: Last month former BYU coach Vance Law debuted twice, first as a TV color analyst and second as a manager for the Chicago White Sox AA Birmingham Barons. The TV gig was the first of five dates Law joins Steve Klauke on the KJZZ telecasts for the Salt Lake Bees. The other dates are May 16 at 6:30 p.m., and June 1, July 5 and August 1 all at 7 p.m. Law subbed as manager for one week for the Barons while the regular manager Julio Vinas took time off for the planned baby delivery of Julio Vinas, Jr. Vance's son Andrew was in attendance at the BYU games at Loyola Marymount University and did color analysis on the radio for the Cougars' 3-2 victory. Former BYU baseball infielder Cameron Coughlan did the color commentary for games one and three at LMU.

MILLER CLAN: Earlier this month BYU pitcher Adam Miller, one of 11 siblings from Yucaipa, Calif., had around 20 of the Miller clan attend the Cougar-Lion Saturday game at Loyola Marymount University. Included in that group was Miller’s wife Deidre, who surprised him by showing up the day before that game.

AFTER LMU SERIES: Several of the BYU baseball team changed clothes quickly after game three of the LMU series and reboarded the bus to watch the Cougar men’s volleyball team play in the NCAA championship at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion . That wasn’t a first visit for BYU coach Mike Littlewood who has refereed several basketball games in Pauley Pavilion.

MAY MARRIAGE: Junior designated hitter Bret Lopez is scheduled to be married on May 29.

April baseball blog

Apr 02, 2013 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 3:28 pm | Updated: April 3, 2013 8:49 am | Permalink

MISSIONS, MISSIONS: There are 21 Catholic missions that were originally established in California. The West Coast Conference has schools in two of those cities Santa Clara (1777) and San Diego (1769).  While San Bernardino isn’t among those 21 missions, it is the headquarters where BYU freshman catcher Collin Braithwaite received his call last month to serve a mission starting this summer for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

MORE ON MISSIONS: This month walk-on Morgan Flinders will be leaving the squad to serve his mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

REUNION:  This week provides a reunion opportunity for former BYU baseball coach Glen Tuckett and three of his players who will rendezvous around the Bay Area.  Former BYU coach Gary Pullins (now living in Port Orford, Oregon), Dr. Tom Fife (now living in Merced, Calif.) and Jeff Bills, all of whom played for him, will join Tuckett.  The foursome will walk down memory lane, taking in a San Francisco Giants-Cardinals game and the three-game BYU-Santa Clara series.  Bills and Pullins have been color analysts for BYU play-by-play announcer Brent Norton.

MARRIAGE: On April 17, BYU reliever Derek Speigner plans to become the 10th player on the roster to get married.  Only three of these married players are not pitchers, so if Jaycob Brugman, Jarrett Jarvis and Brock Whitney were the only Cougars to score in a game, the Kansas radio announcer joked last month he could say, “Not a single BYU player scored in the game.”

GRADUATION: BYU graduation ceremonies are on April 25 when the Cougars play at Gonzaga. Cougar baseball players who could graduate this month are pitcher Matt Milke and Christian Mua, both of whom transferred to BYU from Southwest Community College last season and both of whom majored in global studies.  Also graduating will be Austin Hall (in exercise science) from last year’s baseball squad.

CALI-FOUR-NIA:  If it goes well for BYU this season, it could be one of four teams in the first West Coast Conference post-season tournament, May 23-25, in Stockton, Calif.  Earlier this season, the Cougars played at league favorite San Diego. This week’s Santa Clara series is the second visit to the Golden State. And a third trip to California is next month at Loyola Marymount.

TRIPLICATE: There were 11 triples belted by BYU baseball players last month, mostly from the team's "big 3" of Brugman (three), Jacob Hannemann (four) and Adam Law (three).  Hannemann (vs. UC Irvine) and Law (at Utah) tied the school record last month with two triples in one game. The other triple last month came from Braithwaite in his first college at bat.  There were two triples hit in February by the Cougars, can you name them?  Answer: Brugman and Brennon Anderson.

HOME RUN TROT: Last year BYU had not hit one home run until the last month of the season, ending the year with nine. Thus far this season, BYU has 10 dingers on record, led by Brugman’s three.

ON RADIO FROM SAN DIEGO: Last month BYU coach Mike Littlewood did another interview with KOVORadio on the road while in San Diego. Here are some excerpts from that interview:

"From day one we knew we were going to be a thin team. We have nine positions, but a couple guys are not swinging it too well right now. We're playing great defense and I love how we are competing. Every time we walk on the field we believe we can win.

"Jacob Hannemann is swinging the bat well. We like to see him drive the ball up the middle with his swing. He is getting better and better every game. We're going to ride him as long as we can. We talk about quick, fast-twitch muscle fiber, with his elbows, wrists and hands; he is so quick he can wait longer than the normal guy on pitches.  It's pretty incredible when you consider what he's doing.

"This morning I took (Desmond) Poulson, Braithwaite, Law and Coach (Brent) Haring to a morning side with a 5:15 wakeup call to speak to a Seminary group. This is what BYU is all about, communicating with young people. We had about 250 attend our fireside in Louisiana.

"The WCC is a great baseball conference. Every single night is a dog-fight."

March Baseball Blog

Mar 05, 2013 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 6:12 pm | Updated: March 7, 2013 8:57 am | Permalink

SAINTS: To start off the month of March, BYU opened its home season in St. George due to unplayable conditions at Larry H. Miller Field.  Following that St. George trip, BYU coach Mike Littlewood flew to St. Louis for a recruiting trip. And on that same weekend, second baseman Brennon Anderson opened his mission call for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Santiago, Chile.

UPSET AT LSU: When BYU upset No. 2 LSU (NCBWA, also No. 3 Collegiate Baseball & No. 10 Baseball America/USA Today) last month, 9-4, that news was “trending” for a while.  The tweet of the upset news was re-tweeted 40 times, second only to the 67 retweets earlier this year when Cougar gridders Cody Hoffman and Kyle Van Noy announced they were returning to BYU for senior seasons.

SAINTS IN LOUISIANA: Before upsetting LSU, BYU’s baseball team took time out to conduct a fireside where the speaker was BYU coach Mike Littlewood, followed by questions from youth at the fireside and answers.

While in Louisiana, BYU’s baseball team took a tour of the Marucci Bat Company where the CEO is Brett Stohlton (BYU MBA 2000) http://maruccisports.com/. The Cougars got to see how that company manufactures maple and aluminum bats.

Additionally, while in Louisiana BYU’s team ate at Mike Anderson’s restaurants where they were taught how to eat crawfish as they enjoyed Cajun cuisine.

MORE FISH: The Cougars ate at Ivar’s on the waterfront in Seattle after the team took a tour of Safeco Field, the home of the Seattle Mariners.  At Safeco Field the Cougars walked through he dugouts and clubhouse and saw the sectional lights used to grow grass faster in its “indoor” environment.

ON RADIO FROM SEATTLE: BYU coach Mike Littlewood was interviewed live on Utah radio station 960 AM, just prior to the first of two games at Seattle.  In that interview Littlewood described BYU’s upset at LSU: “It was an incredible day for us because of how we came back. We could have put our tails between our legs. It was a hallmark win for us.”

Littlewood continued about BYU’s season: “It’s been a process, there’s been a total buy-in. We teach the team to play hard and pay attention to details. That win (vs. LSU) showed us our potential and that’s the attitude we’re trying to bring to the program.

“We inherited strength and tremendous leadership, it’s not the first ‘rodeo’ for many of our players. The West Coast Conference is an incredible baseball league. Our weakness is our depth. We had four season-ending injuries (Marc Oslund, Chris Howard, Christian Mua and Dillon Robinson) and one career-ending injury (Daniel Sechrest).

“We’re on the cusp of getting over the hump and getting better. A bright spot is that we are going to be better each week. To be in the top four of the league is a realistic goal so that we can go to the conference tournament. Three of our high school recruits decided to go on missions after we signed them, so we have got to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. I love walk-ons and looking to find diamonds in the rough.”

THUMBS DOWN: It’s been a tough season for junior Dillon Robinson who will now miss playing due to his second thumb injury.  Last October he fractured his thumb on his throwing hand while doing power cleans in the BYU weight room.  That injury delayed his progress switching from third base to catcher. Then last month he accidentally stepped in front of a pitching machine that always throws one pitch after being turned off and suffered a concussion when he was hit in the head by a baseball. On his first day back after being cleared from that injury he reinjured his thumb while trying to hit a curve ball in practice.

OVERLOOKED: Assists from the outfield is a category in which BYU has been among the nation’s leaders.  Lost in the shuffle of games not heard over the Internet was Jaycob Brugman’s first assist from the outfield this year, a 1-8-5 play in the first inning of the 5-4 victory over Northern Illinois when Brugman threw out a Husky trying to steal third. That assist was Brugman’s 20th assist from the outfield as a Cougar. Fellow outfielder Kelton Caldwell got his first assist in game two at Seattle on a 9-6 play where a Redhawk got hung up trying to advance to second after a fielder’s choice.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Belated Happy Birthday to Cody Shepherd earlier this month and Happy Birthday to Desmond Poulson next week.