A final season for Vance Law as head coach culminated with a 22-27 overall record for BYU baseball and a 10-14 finish in its inaugural year with the West Coast Conference.
Law finished a 13-year career at the Cougar helm with a 397-348-2 (.533) record in a season that began with a four-game Thanksgiving trip to the Dominican Republic.
There was some promise to the 2012 season with BYU holding first and second place positions through the first half of the season in the WCC. Those hopes vanished when No. 19 San Diego swept the Cougars in Provo.
A week later BYU had eventual league champion Pepperdine on the ropes in at least two games in California, losing by one run in regulation and one run in 11 innings. Both San Diego and Pepperdine advanced to the NCAA Tournament as did Cougar opponents Stanford, Arkansas and Creighton.
San Diego, Stanford and Arkansas were ranked in the top 20 when BYU played them.
BYU garnered regional attention when senior Alex Wolfe and freshman Mason Marshall were honored by the WCC. Wolfe was the WCC Player of the Week vs. Utah/Loyola Marymount. Marshall was the Rawlings WCC Pitcher of the Week vs. Portland.
Marshall was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball Magazine and joined Cougar shortstop Tanner Chauncey in being named to the WCC All-Freshman Team.
Under the tutelage of first-year pitching coach Wally Ritchie, Marshall finished the season with nine saves, which tied him for the second-best in that category for a BYU season. Coach Law described Marshall as “worth the price of admission alone.” Cougar radio announcer Brent Norton coined the nickname “Mantis” from Marshall’s unique approach on the mound.
Sophomore outfielder Kelton Caldwell was the lone Cougar to receive First Team All-WCC honors.
Hall and starting pitcher Chris Capper were selected in the Major League draft.
Capper was drafted in the 26th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hall was drafted as a pitcher in the 33rd round by the Milwaukee Brewers. Hall was drafted as a pitcher after two appearances on the mound when he clocked a 97 mph fastball in the final weeks of the season. Hall played every position except catcher in his BYU career.
Hall’s versatility came in handy as a hamstring injury sidelined Chauncey at shortstop for several mid-season games. Sophomore outfielder Jaycob Brugman missed the final series of the season due to a turf-toe injury.
Among the plays which highlighted the season were numerous circus catches by centerfielder Stephen Wells, a walk-off grand slam by Brugman and one of Brock Whitney’s eighth-inning triple in a 6-4 upset over Gonzaga—one of his seven game-winning RBI.
The Cougars reclaimed the baseball portion of the Deseret Duel when they won a pair of games at Utah.
BYU won two of the three-game series in the 2012 season at UC Riverside, at Saint Mary’s, at Portland, vs. Loyola Marymount, vs. Santa Clara and four of six vs. Seattle.
Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company