Men's Baseball Blog | 2013

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.

February Baseball Blog

Feb 08, 2013 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 9:25 am | Updated: February 8, 2013 1:43 pm | Permalink

February is time for the season to begin and it is also the month of letter of intent signings for football and soccer.  BYU baseball has two items of note in regard to football.

Many are aware of freshman outfielder Jacob Hannemann who redshirted this past football season.  Hannemann says he will dedicate February to baseball, but will be dividing his time between the two sports in March.

One former player who once signed a football letter of intent with BYU is McKay Christensen, who inked with the Cougars in February of 1994. Months later, he signed with the Anaheim Angels as their No. 1 draft prior to serving a mission to Japan. Following his mission, he had a four-year Major League career with the White Sox, Dodgers and Mets.

Christensen was among the motivational speakers for BYU baseball players in coach Mike Littlewood’s Personal Development series.  Among other motivational speakers in that series were former BYU Athletics Director and baseball coach Glen Tuckett and former Cougar pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie is starting his 10th-year in the Major League, now with the Royals.

Taking off soon for spring training along with Guthrie are former BYU third baseman Steve Parker and Marcus Littlewood, the son of Coach Littlewood, both of whom have been working out alongside the Cougars in the Indoor Practice Facility.

BYU’s baseball team cancelled going to St. George this weekend because of potential rain/weather problems.  Last weekend in their second trip to St. George for practices, the Cougars played 23 innings in a 24-hour period.

Adam Law, who is switching from the middle infield to anchoring third base in the lineup, is one player who continues to take extra batting practice.  Early mornings in the batting cages at Miller Park, Law takes batting practice from his grandpa Vernon Law, the 1960 Cy Young winner for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The 82-year-old Law often throws over 100 pitches from a bucket of balls to his grandson.

BYU’s baseball team wears a shirt with the theme “Be in the Fight,” printed on the back.  Those words are taken from the Marcus Luttrell book Lone Survivor, which the team has read.  Coach Littlewood explains to his team that he always wants them to be in the fight during games.

Game-time for the April 8 contests against Washington State in Provo was recently changed from 3 p.m., to 10 a.m., due to airline reservations.  The Red Cougars play at Utah in a Friday-Saturday-Sunday series prior to the Monday game with the Blue Cougars.

Since last month’s blog, utility man Morgan Flinders has received his mission call to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Speaking of foreign countries, BYU pitching coach Jeremy Thomas made his fifth trip to China the end of last year for his "other job." In addition to coaching baseball, Thomas is a consultant/partner for Steton Technology Group.

Another development since last month was the acceptance of left-handed senior pitcher Daniel Welch to the BYU Marriott School of Management.  Past BYU baseball players who have been accepted to the Marriott School include David Parry, J.T. Musso, Michael Bowen, Leon Johnson and Daniel Sechrest.

Baseball season starts next month

Jan 18, 2013 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 12:22 pm | Updated: January 22, 2013 9:20 am | Permalink

A year ago four members of BYU’s current baseball team were serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They are Jacob Hannemann (Arkansas), Andy Isom (Brazil), Cody Shepherd (Brazil) and Derek Speigner  (Salt Lake City).

This year among the several BYU baseball players currently serving missions are Tanner Chauncey, Kolton Mahoney and Mason Marshall.  Recently contact was made with their parents, but before giving further details about their missions, return to the aforementioned Hannemann and Speigner.

DOUBLE DOUBLE: Hannemann, who was selected in the 48th round of the 2010 Major League draft by the Kansas City Royals, is penciled in as one of BYU’s starting outfielders this season.  Last month, Hannemann was with BYU’s football team in San Diego for the Poinsettia Bowl where he was a defensive back with his brother Micah, also a Cougar DB. Jacob is now with BYU’s baseball team, but Micah is now preparing to serve a mission to Carlsbad, Calif., and will be wearing one of Jacob’s missionary suits.

RELAY FROM OUTFIELD: Outfielder Hannemann was one of four players from the baseball team to swim a promotional 50 freestyle relay at the BYU-Denver dual in the Richards Building Pool on Jan. 19 along with pitcher Matt Milke, first baseman Brock Whitney and third baseman Adam Law.  Milke was on his high school water polo team in California. Hannemann was a late sub for pitcher Mark Anderson, who had to leave when the event was delayed. Whitney teamed with Law, who was out-touched by Tom Holmoe, BYU Director of Athletics in a time of 28.21, compared to baseball's 28.96. Holmoe's teammate was Associate Director of Athletics Brian Santiago.

HONEYMOON OVER: Two BYU catchers got married on the same day last month, so their honeymoons are now over as Cougar baseball practices gear up.  Sophomore Jarrett Jarvis married Jenna Lewis and junior Dillon Robinson married Ashley Brawley Robinson, who plays third base for BYU softball. Speigner, who beat BYU before his mission as a reliever at UC Riverside, got engaged last month and is scheduled to become BYU’s 11th married player this April.  

OUTDOOR PRACTICES: Among these upcoming baseball practices are outdoor breaks from the BYU indoor practice facility. On Jan. 25-26, Feb. 1-2 and Feb. 8-9, the Cougars will have outdoor baseball practices at St. George at 5 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. All practices in St. George will be at Bruce Hurst Stadium at Dixie State University except for the morning practice on Feb. 2, which will be at nearby Dixie High School because of a conflict.

MISSIONARY UPDATE: The parents of Chauncey, Mahoney and Marshall, give us a glimpse into their son’s missions based upon Christmas phone calls or Skype sessions. A common theme is these players took two baseball mitts in their luggage so they could play catch on P-days  (preparation day) with a companion.

Elder Tanner Chauncey, Brazil Joao Pessoa Mission:  It was a 40-minute Skype session from a Bishop’s home and Tanner demonstrated he could speak Portuguese to his family. The session was precisely 40 minutes because he did not want to lose his e-mail privileges for a month.

Chauncey’s mission president played baseball with him on Christmas Day and provided the bat and balls. Chauncey reported he is eating well and gets up early to do pushups, sit-ups and use the set of bands he took to Brazil. He did get to spend some time in the MTC last summer with Mason Marshall during Chauncey’s three-week wait in Provo awaiting a visa.

His request: “send me letters.”

Elder Kolton Mahoney, California Santa Rosa Mission: Has served in Santa Rosa, Crescent City, Eureka, Vacaville and most recently Kelseyville, California.

Once while walking with his missionary companion down a path, Mahoney spotted a baseball bat stuck in the mud of a creek.  He crawled down the bank to retrieve the bat so that he could use it to hit balls on P-days. He appreciated throwing a baseball back and forth with a local Bishop who used to be a catcher in the pros.

He reported on baptismal successes and of a recent calling to serve as assistant to the mission president.

His request: “send T-shirts, no more candy bars.”

Elder Mason Marshall, Philippines Cauayan Mission:  This Skype session came at 5 p.m., on Christmas Day to Utah, but it was the day after Christmas in The Philippines.  Randomly, native children would wave in the background of the computer screen.  The 5-foot-9 and one-half-inch tall Marshall was delighted to tell his family that he gets to play the center position in basketball games with the locals, who “foul a lot.”

Marshall does a lot of walking and gets to throw the football around on P-days when he is the quarterback because of his strong arm. He appreciates catching baseballs with Elder Devin Needs, a BYU lacrosse player, who lives in the missionary four-some with Marshall.

Marshall is serving in farmland villages and has gained some weight as he enjoys eating local fruits. He uses a bucket to wash his clothes or shower. From an Internet Café, he sends his e-mail, which arrives at 2 o-clock on Sunday mornings to his family in Utah.

His request: “send sunflower seeds.”