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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

Two Cougar Fan Fests scheduled for this week

May 21, 2013 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 12:45 pm | Updated: May 21, 2013 1:08 pm | Permalink

Athletes and coaches from BYU Athletics descended on St. George, Utah, Saturday for the first-ever Cougar Fan Fest. Two more Cougar Fan Fest events will be held in northern Utah tonight and tomorrow. The event in Spanish Fork begins at 6 p.m. MDT Tuesday at the Spanish Fork Sports Complex, and the event in Sandy begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Amphitheater Park.

Football players and coaches—including Kyle Van Noy, Taysom Hill, Mark Atuaia and Robert Anae—were in attendance on Saturday, signing autographs and taking photos with fans. The football team was joined by representatives from the men’s basketball team, women’s basketball team, women’s soccer team, men’s and women’s volleyball teams and cheer squad. Cosmo also made an appearance.

Fans gathered for pictures in BYU football helmets, pads and jerseys. The event also included bounce houses and athletic activities for kids.

For more information, check out the official release.

All-American Attracts Attention Across The Pond

May 20, 2013 - Posted by at 5:15 pm | Updated: May 20, 2013 5:17 pm | Permalink

BYU All-American linebacker Kyle Van Noy is garnering attention not only locally and nationally but also on the other side of the Atlantic. Having caught the eyes of TV viewers in the UK with his performance in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl, Van Noy is featured this week in a sports podcast based out of Scotland. 

Van Noy joins hosts Colan Lamont and Jonathon Moar in a nearly 30-minute podcast with the v2Journal, discussing a wide range of topics from independence to his development as a player under Bronco Mendenhall to his thoughts on playing in intimidating road environments.  He discusses last year's BYU season, the NFL Draft, and what he is doing to get ready for his senior year. He talks about his friend, Ziggy Ansah, and what he's like away from the football field, and gives his thoughts on how successful he will be with the Detroit Lions.

Select the following link to listen to the v2Journal podcast with KVN.

Brandon Davies interview at NBA Draft Combine

May 17, 2013 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 12:11 pm | Permalink

Brandon Davies has been running through drills and strength and agility tests the last two days at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Davies' official measurements are listed below and his results from the strength and agility testing will be posted when they are made available. The interview below was taped and posted by @SLCDunk

Davies' measurements from the NBA Combine

  • Height w/o shoes: 6-8.5
  • Height w/shoes: 6-10.25
  • Weight: 241.8
  • Wingspan: 7-1.5
  • Reach: 9-0.5
  • Body fat: 8.6
  • Hand length: 9
  • Hand width: 11

Coach Mendenhall's take on NFL Draft experience, more videos

May 09, 2013 - Posted by at 5:32 pm | Updated: May 9, 2013 10:38 pm | Permalink

Over the past two weeks since Ziggy Ansah was picked in the first round of the NFL Draft, a sampling of links to articles, interviews, videos and photos have been posted on this blog about Ziggy's draft experience. Here are links to go back and see more on The Buzz on Ziggy and More Ziggy!

Also, check out the BYU Cougars YouTube page to see many other BYU videos, including this one offering Coach Mendenhall's take on the NFL Draft experience from an exclusive interview in New York the morning after the first round.  

"It was an amazing experience," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "...To see him stand on the stage in front of the world and be one of the top selected football players in this year's draft...if the story ended there it would be a great story, but I think there's going to be maybe an even more compelling one that happens from here on out."

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.

Day 3 Practice

May 03, 2013 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 1:57 pm | Permalink

Check out pictures below from the Cougars' practice today at Pauley Pavilion in preparation for the 2013 NCAA National Championship match. BYU takes on UC Irvine Saturday at 7 p.m. MDT on ESPNU.

NCAA Tournament Friday Press Conference Transcript

May 03, 2013 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 12:49 pm | Updated: May 3, 2013 2:32 pm | Permalink

Below are quotes and pictures from Friday's pre-championship press conference with BYU head coach Chris McGown, Ben Patch and Russ Lavaja

BYU head coach Chris McGown

Opening statement
“We are excited to be playing in the national championship match. I felt like we had a nice effort last night and did a lot of things really well, as well as a few things we want to get better at. We’re excited to be playing a very good UC Irvine team and expect that this match will be one of those phenomenal match-ups.”

On star power
“It comes down to teams that can execute and teams with good players that can execute in those big moments. There’s a guy from ESPN - Simmons, who talks about fact that the team with the best player in the series tends to win that series. I think that ultimately it comes down to personnel and executions and we‘ve got some phenomenal athletes on our team. They (UCI) certainly have some wonderful athletes on their team. I think that’s one of the things that they have that’s unlike any other program in the country, it’s the depth of talent. They’ve got guys that were two-deep on the bench that were all-conference players.

On UCI’s defense
“John [Speraw], I thought was masterful at getting his guys to play big in tough situations: down two, come back and win in five, down two, come back and win in five. They really had to battle through the conference championship last year to make it to this match. [This year] they’ve strung together a wonderful season, battled through some injuries, and had to put out different lineups and different rotations, so that’s going to be one of their strengths. Kniffin is not afraid to pull the trigger on changing some lineups and getting different guys different looks and it makes them difficult to plan for.

On game plan
“We’re kind of pushing the reset button on our expectations with them just because I don’t know that we will see the same team – different setter, different outside. It’s interesting to see, I think they will be a little bit different than what we saw before. But I think we can take some confidence from the fact that we were in a really tough spot being down in the third and being able to battle and that’s  kind of been the theme for us the last half of the season is our ability to come back. Our team understands we can team through some of these tough moments. If we can come together and stay together, we’ll be solid enough to play through some of these difficulties.

BYU middle clocker Russ Lavaja

Players’ familiarity with UCI
“UCI is an awesome team, they’ve got, like Chris said, a bunch of really good players and they know how to play a long, deep match. It’s not going to be a quick one, I don’t think. I think it’s going to long and I think it’s going to be a good one.

BYU opposite Ben Patch

On familiarity with UCI
“Yeah, prior to this we’ve played them twice so we know a little bit about them. They have great athleticism and they’re a talented team so I think it’s going to come down to who executes in those moments and who plays better.”

NCAA volleyball
“It’s sometimes an out of body experience being able to play with people that are your idols and standing by them. It’s just been a really humbling experience.”

Expectations of championship game
“Two best teams in the country in pre-season, I think they nailed it when they said it was going to be us and here we are.”

On leaving volleyball for his mission
“It’s not my last volleyball match, but it is my last as a collegiate athlete for two years. I’ve got the USA Junior team in the summer still. The lessons that you learn out on a mission translate into your game when you come back so you just have to work hard again.”

More Ziggy!

May 02, 2013 - Posted by Brett Pyne at 5:05 pm | Updated: May 3, 2013 11:47 am | Permalink

A lot happened last week for BYU's Ziggy Ansah, graduating from BYU and being selected with the No. 5 overall pick in the NFL Draft. ESPN's Todd McShay said "five years ago, Ezekiel Ansah had never even seen a football game, now he's the 5th pick. Best story of the draft."  

Ziggy is certainly a big story. Ziggy and BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall did many interviews in New York, and Ziggy continuted to be the center of attention meeting with media and fans in Detroit as the top pick of the Lions. We already shared some of the buzz on Ziggy in a previous blog post, but here are a few more photos, stories, videos and interviews worth checking out:

Ziggy's Draft Week in :60

Yahoo! Sports NFL This Week: NFL Draftee's historic day

Coach Mendenhall talks Ziggy on The Huge Show

Coach Mendenhall on KSL Radio's Cougar Sports Saturday on Ziggy and the NFL Draft

Jeff Call of the Deseret News talks about being in New York covering Ziggy and the NFL Draft

True Blue: NFL Draft Recap

Ziggy Ansah’s mom was hoping a team in Utah would draft him

Detriot Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah has gone from hoop dreams to football gridiron

Day 2 Practice Pictures

May 02, 2013 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 2:17 pm | Permalink

The Cougars just wrapped up practice at Pauley Pavilion in preparation for tonight's semifinal match against Penn State at 9 p.m. MDT. You can watch BYU live at