BYU Athletics Blog | June 2017 | Officially Home of Cougar Club

BYU Athletics Blog | June 2017

Jones-Perry excels For Team Blue in CNT play

Jun 28, 2017 - Posted by Royce Hinton at 5:33 pm | Updated: June 28, 2017 9:39 pm | Permalink

BYU women's volleyball junior outside hitter Veronica Jones-Perry played well in her second match with the U.S. Women's Collegiate National Team Wednesday evening in Minneapolis.

Jones-Perry started all three sets played for the second night in a row as her Team Blue fell in three sets (25-19, 25-18, 25-21) to Team White. She collected eight kills, three blocks and two aces during the match.

Team White jumped out to an early lead in the first set, 13-10 at the technical timeout. Despite a block from Jones-Perry, Team Blue as a whole had trouble on the defensive side of the ball through the back half of the set. Team White ultimately came out with a 25-19 win with Jones-Perry contributing five kills for Team Blue in the set.

The second set started again with Team White dominating early, taking a 14-8 advantage. Jones-Perry added a kill on a 4-0 Team Blue streak near the end of the set, forcing a Team White timeout. It wasn't enough, however, as Team White took a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-18 set two win.

Team Blue took a four-point lead to begin the third set, going up 8-4 with help from a strong block. Team White came charging back, however, taking a 16-15 edge after a cross-court kill. Jones-Perry continued her defensive effort, collecting two more blocks to help Team Blue. Team White completed the set comeback, though, winning 25-21 on a Team Blue attack error.

Jones-Perry will compete with Team Blue again Friday, June 30, at noon CDT on Court 20 in the semifinals of the CNT-Minneapolis tournament. A live video stream will be available on USA Volleyball's website.

Click here to read USA Volleyball's recap of the match.

Jones-Perry competes in first match with Team USA

Jun 27, 2017 - Posted by Royce Hinton at 5:31 pm | Updated: June 27, 2017 8:38 pm | Permalink

BYU women's volleyball junior outside hitter Veronica Jones-Perry excelled while competing in her first match with the U.S. Women's Collegiate National Team Tuesday evening in Minneapolis.

Jones-Perry started all three sets played in a loss (28-26, 25-15, 25-15) with her Team Blue squad against Team Red. She collected a team-high 10 kills on 25 attempts in her debut.

In the first set, Team Red narrowly edged out Team Blue 28-26. Jones-Perry collected six kills alone in the first set, including back-to-back kills to fight off set points. It wasn't enough, though, as Team Red took the early lead.

Team Red took control early in set two, winning 25-15. Jones-Perry again played well, racking up four more kills.

Team Blue took a four-point lead early in the third but mistakes proved costly as Team Red again dominated to end the set and match 25-15.

Jones-Perry and Team Blue will compete again Wednesday, June 28, at 5 p.m. CDT on Court 19 against Team White. A live video stream will be available on USA Volleyball's website.

USA Volleyball's recap of the match can be found here.

College World Series Blog

Jun 20, 2017 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 3:51 pm | Updated: June 28, 2017 1:31 pm | Permalink

For over 40 years I’ve wanted to get the College World Series in Omaha, where the CWS has been hosted since 1950. I used to joke with our former radio announcer, the late Raeldon Palmer, at the end of each year that we had to quit lying to our wives about taking them to Omaha. My wife and I were only able to attend the opening game of the 2017 CWS, but here are a few of my impressions in case some of you never get the opportunity to attend.

PRESS CONFERENCE: The press conference announced me as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Wilbur Snypp Award winner along with Oregon State’s Pat Casey as NCBWA coach of the year, and Louisville’s Lincoln Henzman and Brendan McKay as NCBWA Stopper of the Year and Dick Howser Trophy recipient, respectively. Henzman was selected in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago White Sox. McKay was the No. 4 overall MLB draft pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Former BYU baseball coaches Glen Tuckett and Gary Pullins were in town for board meetings with the American Baseball Coaches Association and attended the press conference.

PRESS BOX: The CWS press box is a working press box, but my family got to tour it briefly before and during the opening game thanks to the two one-day passes provided me because of my award. Inside the press box on the fourth level of the stadium I got to meet up again with one of our former interns, Lorie Garnett, who volunteered to work the CWS, taking time off from her master’s business program at nearby University of  Nebraska-Lincoln. Riding the elevator up to the press box I heard the announcers even make reference to former quarterback Gifford Nielsen, giving credit to him playing at BYU as well as for the Houston Oilers.

TICKETS: Because I had other members of my family in attendance for my award, I needed tickets to attend the opening game due to the NCAA’s no complimentary ticket policy, which I didn’t fully understand until a couple days before my arrival in Omaha. So I scrambled and found three tickets in section 301 down the right field line.

T-SHIRT: I purchased T-shirts both at the CWS and at the NCAA Regional at Stanford. A difference I noticed was the brand sold at the CWS compared to a  similar shirt I had purchased at Stanford.

NEWSPAPER COVERAGE: The Omaha World Herald does a spectacular job from what I saw. The pre-CWS paper had three special multi-page sections in addition to front page and sports page stories.

AIRPORTS: Eppley Airfield is Omaha’s airport, but it is actually located across the state line in Iowa. Years ago I flew into that airport from Salt Lake City via Phoenix because there is no direct flight from Utah.  That problem exists for other parts of the country as well. Some of the people who hosted me had flown in from Texas, West Virginia and Florida. This time I flew to Kansas City where four of my grandchildren reside, then I drove up to Omaha. I learned some of my hosts also flew into Kansas City because of easier flights. My driver on the shuttle at MCI in Kansas City thought the “Y” on my shirt stood for Yale, but was quickly corrected by other Utah-bound passengers before another patron boarded, saying “Go Utes,” as he passed by me. Amongst the CWS crowd we noticed two fans sporting University of Utah and Weber State University gear.

FINAL FOUR vs. CWS: Earlier this year I took a rare break from covering BYU baseball to have a reunion with my brothers at the men’s basketball Final Four in Phoenix. While the Final Four draws thousands more people, there are throngs of fans flocking around the NCAA and marketing venues that surround both events. At Omaha, fans form a line around TD Ameritrade Park. I first thought that line was forming to get one of the bobble head promotionals, but had to battle through a similar line of LSU-Florida State fans after they cleared the stadium from the Oregon State-Cal State Fullerton game.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The CWS was my 10th NCAA championship event I’ve attended. I’ve previously attended three for men’s basketball, two for men’s golf, two for track and field, one for cross country and one for men’s volleyball.

WEATHER: The forecast was hot and muggy, but we caught a break with the overcast skies and a breeze that required us to watch that our caps didn't blow away and prevented more homers going out of the park.  So the weather was perfect for the opening game. The Fan Fest and fireworks scheduled the night before was canceled due to the high winds and rain. I saw evidence of that on nearby I-29 where a microburst left insulation from a destroyed building along the freeway littered with broken branches. Driving back to Kansas City that night we got caught in a driving rainstorm, thinking the Florida State-LSU game surely was postponed since it was raining when we exited TD Ameritrade Park. But that game went on as scheduled.

RESTAURANTS: There is an extensive list of restaurants in the Omaha World-Herald World Series edition, but my Nebraska dental grad brother and his wife took us to a famed Italian restaurant not mentioned. The fare was good and baseball aficionados Tommy Lasorda and Kevin Coster had dined there in earlier years.

CAL STATE FULLERTON: BYU could trace a path to the 2017 CWS via Cal State Fullerton, who won four true road games in the NCAA Regionals to get to Omaha. Then the Titans lost their first two games  in Omaha to No. 1 Oregon State, after leading 5-1, until they replaced the same All-American pitcher who defeated the Cougars; and twice led Florida State. Just as I had observed at Stanford when CSF beat BYU, its sports information director was not often in the press box, but working elsewhere in those respective stadiums.

BYU AND OMAHA: BYU made two appearances in the College World Series in 1968 and 1971, both won by USC. In 1958 and 1961, BYU didn’t get to go to the College World Series because of Sunday play, even though the Cougars had qualified—that rule has since changed. USC won the CWS both of those years, too. BYU lost earlier in 1961 at USC, but ended that season with a 24-game winning streak. Northern Colorado went to the CWS both those years in place of BYU.  The Cougars also lost in 1968 and 1971 at USC, but did register a victory against the Trojans in one of those 1968 games at Los Angeles.

BYU BASEBALL AT TD AMERITRADE:  In 2012 BYU played one game at TD Ameritrade Park when it lost to Creighton 2-0. Tanner Chauncey and Mason Marshall played in that contest, but no home runs were hit by Creighton. In 2015, Colton Shaver belted seven dingers in the College Home Run Derby at TD Ameritrade Park. Since the CWS moved from heralded Rosenblatt Stadium, that park has seen the following home runs totals: 2011-9; 2012-10; 2013-3; 2014-3; 2015-15; 2016-10; and 2017-23.

June Baseball Blog

Jun 09, 2017 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 2:52 pm | Updated: June 12, 2017 12:05 pm | Permalink

GATORADE BATH: Connor Williams engineered the orange Gatorade bath given to Coach Mike Littlewood.  The orange cooler really did contain orange Gatorade dumped over Littlewood by Riley Gates and Bo Burrup as other teammates shielded the surprise to their coach following the dog pile at Stockton, California in celebration of the West Coast Conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. Littlewood shed his orange-soaked uniform at the ballpark to stay warm and his wife soon brought it to equipment manager Steve Bushman that night so he could launder it to its original cream color.

WATER BATH: On the bottom of the dog pile at the pitcher’s mound at Banner Island Ballpark were winning pitcher Bo Burrup and Colton Shaver.  Two other Cougars got the brunt of the water dousing that ensued:  David Clawson and Keaton Kringlen, whose uniforms were drenched.

SILENT ENTRY: Noticeable amongst all of the jubilation of the BYU team and fans following the tourney title in Stockton was the late stealthy, silent, subdued entry of pitcher Keaton Cenatiempo on the bus back to the hotel. After a few steps “Dinnertime” erupted into celebration going back to his seat.

GO PRO: Two Cougars wore Go Pro cameras at the WCC Tournament in Stockton. Brennon Anderson accepted the league’s invitation to wear the camera during batting practice the day before competition began. And Maverik Buffo was designated to wear the Go Pro from the dugout to the postgame dog pile.

MORE FANS: There were 1,442 fans reported in attendance at Banner Island Ballpark for the BYU-Gonzaga championship doubleheader.  Unbeknown to many, there were 1,100 Cougar partisans seated in the South end zone at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo watching the championship on the big screen and several TV monitors. That group of Provo fans was attending the annual Father-Sons basketball camp.

NO HABLO: A hotel maid was impressed that several of BYU’s players (six served Spanish-speaking missions) spoke Spanish to her as they made their way to their rooms in Stockton. The maid told yours truly, who responded “no hablo.” Brennon Anderson, an RM who served a mission in Chile, shared that Spanish helped him in last year’s games at Samford when he overheard he was going to be picked off and replied in Spanish to a surprised Bulldog player.

FLAT TIRE: With half the team aboard prior to leaving the hotel for game two at the Stanford Regional, it was discovered BYU’s bus had a flat tire.  With in minutes of Coach Littlewood’s announcement to have hitters leave first for batting practice, seven cars and vans were called into quick action.  Driving those vehicles were pitching coach Jeremy Thomas, Darice Pratt (wife of assistant coach Trent), Tuckett Slade (director of baseball operations), Hayden Nielsen (graduate assistant), Steve Bushman (equipment manager), Steve Buffo (father of Maverik) and Travis Jacobsen (father of Casey and Mackay).

TIME LINE: With construction now in progress at Larry H. Miller Field, replacing natural grass with a heated artificial turf field, here’s the timeline of past major events for BYU playing fields:

1957—First game played at diamond on the site where current Tanner Building is now erected.

1969—Playing field changed from site of the current Tanner Building to current location.

2001—Miller Park constructed on site of current location.

2017—Natural grass replaced with artificial turf.

FORMER ATHLETES: Blake Torgerson, with several of the 2002 #GoCougs NCAA Regional team, paused to pose at Stanford NCAA Regional. Some of these former BYU baseball players drove from other parts of California, Utah and Arizona to be in attendance at this regional since they were members of the last BYU team to make a regional and have stayed in close touch over the years. Joining Torgerson (2005-2011) were Casey Cloward, Blair Lucas, Cameron Coughlan (did color for BYU radio in game 1 at Stanford), Ryan Chambers, Mike Bergeron, Ranger Wiens (did color for BYU radio at WCC tournament), Wade Vest and Tyler Dabo, Lance Beus, Paul Jacinto, Jeff Hiestand, Kevin Bills (current Stanford director of baseball operations) and Jeff’s father Kevin (did color for BYU radio in game 2 at Stanford).  Other #GoCougs in attendance at the Stanford regional included: Ryan Hancock (former MLB teammate of ESPN3 analyst J.T. Snow did color for BYU radio on game 3 at Stanford), Dave Pettey (1976) and Adam Miller (2009-13, now rehabbing with Arizona Diamondbacks). Former #GoCoug quarterback Steve Young was also in attendance on Saturday for the final game at Stanford. And at Stockton, former BYU diver Mike Mooney (1983-86) drove down from Sacramento to watch his alma mater.

TWEETS: A couple of the many tweets posted after BYU won the WCC title in Stockton:

is what @ZagKennelClub tweeted on 5/27, posting a mug shot of Hayden Rogers, comparing his likeness to former Zag basketball star Kevin Pangos.  Former Bulldog turned Cougar Mike Rucker (now a pro pitcher in Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the Chicago Cubs) zinged his former teammates who dog-piled in Spokane after Gonzaga swept BYU, then got swept by the Cougars in Stockton for the NCAA automatic berth:

is what @mikeruck 27 tweeted on 5/27.

@STITCH_HEAD: Eric Sorenson, a correspondent, wrote the following after BYU won the WCC Tournament in Stockton: “Holy freakin’ Toledo. The Cougars went out and took a pair of games vs. Gonzaga to win the WCC auto-bid in a bludgeoning fashion, 10-3 and 16-3. If you’re not good at math that means they beat the Zags by a combined 26-6 in two successive games on Saturday. BYU lost its first game in the WCC tourney back on Thursday to LMU, but since then the Cougs scored 49 runs in five games to take the crown.”

DRIVE TIME: Tanner Chauncey, Brady Corless and Riley Gates all drove from Stockton back to Utah with their families instead of flying back with team.

SPRINTS TO PEN: Catchers Mackay Jacobsen and Noah Hill worked in the outfield bullpen at Banner Island Ballpark. Hill was seen sprinting fast between innings from the first base dugout during one of the WCC tourney games. Jacobsen’s view of the game was blocked as he warmed up BYU pitchers, but he reported hearing the ball land off the bullpen wall from Bronson Larsen’s tournament record-breaking home run in the 10-3 win over Gonzaga.

LETTER TO #GOCOUGS: On the lobby bulletin board at Miller Park is the following letter: “Dear BYU Players coachs and staff, I want to write and tell you all thank you for the AWESMOE cougar gear, letting me go to your batting practice, showing me around and letting me be in the dug-out during the game. I can’t stop talking about it!! It was Awesome, and really was the Experience. Sincerely, Your biggest fan, Easton Ott”