Seen & Heard on Planet Coug

SEATTLE MARINERS director of scouting Tom McNamara had some great things to tell Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times about two current Cougars (Joe Pistorese and P.J.Jones) and one Cougar signee (Parker McFadden) after he drafted them Wednesday.

McNamara said he was scouting an Arizona State pitcher in a game against the Cougars last month in Phoenix, but it was Pistorese (pictured above) who left the biggest impression after tossing nine innings of shutout ball with six strikeouts in the 1-0 extra-inning WSU win.

“I couldn’t get this performance out of my head,” McNamara told Divish. “. . . he pitched a gem in front of the right guy. I just kept on looking at my list of eight million players, I said, “You know what? I’d be a fool not to take this guy.’”

The Mariners drafted Pistorese in the 17th round.

Not taking a guy who pitched like that “right in front of my face” would be something that would “make you toss and turn at night, wondering,” McNamara said.

For the record, the ASU pitcher that brought McNamara to that fateful game was Brett Lilek, who was drafted in the second round by Miami.

As for the Mariners, they also drafted Pistorese’s batterymate, catcher P.J. Jones, in the 19th round. McNamara told Divish the Vancouver, Wash., product is tough, a leader, a good defensive player and possesses a strong arm.

In all, five Cougars were taken this week in the MLB draft. Besides Pistorese and Jones, the others were pitcher Sam Triece (10th round, Rays), infielder Ian Sagdal (16th round, Nationals) and pitcher Matt Bower (23rd round, Astros).

In addition, hard-throwing WSU signee Parker McFadden of Yelm High was drafted by the Mariners in the 20th round.

McFadden, who was quoted by MLB.com as saying he’d likely go to college rather than sign a pro contract, was pegged as a top 100 overall prospect by Baseball America. In this story, Divish quoted a source who believed McFadden wouldn’t sign for anything less than third-round money and that teams shied away from going that high for a high school player who needs to develop his secondary pitches.

“Well, I can’t get into the signability part, but we know him pretty well and he’s got a good arm,” McNamara told Divish. “I kind of just sat back in my chair and said, ‘hey, this kid is in our backyard, let’s take him and see what happens.’ He’s a good kid and has got a good arm. I’ll keep it simple: ‘We’re glad we drafted him.’”

WE’RE HEARING ALL KINDS OF RUMBLINGS that Jim Horner, a WSU baseball ballplayer from the early 1990s, may be returning to Pullman to join new head coach Marty Lees' staff. Since hanging up his pro playing cleats in 2004, Horner has been coaching primarily in the Mariners' organization where he is currently in his second season as manager of the double-A Jackson Generals of the Southern League.

Here's why the rumblings of a return to Pullman could be more than just rumors: he spent two seasons, 2011-12, coaching at Texas Tech when Dan Spencer -- widely believed to be joining Lees' staff at WSU -- was the head coach of the Red Raiders. Stay tuned.

ONE OF ERNIE KENT’S INCOMING JC RECRUITS, guard Charles Callison, has been named the College Men’s Athlete of the Year by southern California’s Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper. Callison, from San Bernardino Valley College, averaged 18 points this past season en route to Foothill Conference MVP honors. He shot .500 (24-for-48) from beyond the arc in conference play, suggesting he could be a big part of the answer to the scoring void left by DaVonte Lacy.

TURNS OUT THE MEN’S SIDE OF THE BASKETBALL court isn’t the only one due for rules changes this coming season. The NCAA Rules Oversight Panel this week adopted a series of changes for the women, the foremost of them being a move from two 20-minute halves to four 10-minute quarters.

Two other notable changes for the upcoming season are these: allowing teams to advance the ball to the frontcourt following a timeout immediately after a made basket in the last 59.9 seconds of the fourth quarter and any overtime periods; and allowing defenders to place a forearm or an open hand with a bend in the elbow on an offensive post player with the ball whose back is to the basket.

WSU’S NEW CLASS OF VOLLEYBALL recruits is rated the 21st-best class in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball.com. This marks the second time in three seasons that Cougar coach Jen Greeny has put together a nationally recognized class. Her 2013 group was rated No. 14.

This year’s class of six is composed of Olivia Coale, a 5-6 defensive specialist from Vancouver, Wash.; Haley DeSales, a 6-0 outside hitter from Pasadena; Ella Lajos, a 6-3 middle blocker from San Jose; Claire Martin, a 6-4 middle blocker from Tacoma; Taylor Mims, a 6-3 middle blocker from Billings, Mont.; and McKenna Woodford, a 6-4 outside hitter from Chandler, Ariz.

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