April baseball blog

Apr 02, 2013 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell on April 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Updated: April 3, 2013 8:49 am

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."