Hoping to take the next step in the promised ‘sustainability’ of the Ohio State baseball program, Bill Mosiello and staff are the first, and most foremost, of the sustained. No changes (except the roster) in 2024.
(Ed. Note: Just 40 days from first pitch of the 2024 NCAA baseball season, Press Pros is again the exclusive beat source for Ohio State baseball, starting with our yearly preview series of articles to better familiarize the Buckeye fan base in Ohio with the 2024 team, its coaches, players, and competitive outlook in the Big Ten Conference. As announced this week, the team opens play on Friday, February 16, in Scottsdale, Arizona with a three-game series against Boston College, Brigham Young, and the USC Trojans. Enjoy…and Go Bucks!)
With the dissolution of the Buckeye Diamond Club back in June (the long-standing booster ‘club’ of Ohio State baseball), that action took with it one of the most anticipated events of the annual baseball season…the February ‘Meet The Team’ night hosted by the Diamond Club at the Fawcett Center two weeks prior to opening day.
At least for 2024, there will be no physical ‘meet the team’ event, where parents, friends, and friends of the program come together to reflect on the previous season and review the prospects for the one to come.
At least for the short term…’meet the team’ becomes digital, to be found here, on the pages of Press Pros, with the same questions:
Will the Buckeyes compete for the Big Ten regular season title?
Will they make the post-season Big Ten tournament, or even win it?
Given the above, are they a threat to qualify for the NCAA regional tournament?
Who are the ‘rookies’, freshmen and transfers, to watch?
And which upperclassmen will break through to deliver on their original recruiting promise?
No one wants those questions answered more than the coaching staff…head coach Bill Mosiello, pitching coach Sean Allen, third base coach Buck Taylor, and recruiting coordinator Andrew See.
The Buckeyes fought through a miserable April and early Big Ten schedule in 2023, at one point owning a record of 3-9 in conference play, and series losses to Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan State – a team earned run average north of 9.00.
But with baseball time can be your ally, and the tincture for turnaround. That came in May with a nine-game home winning streak to end the year, including a three-game sweep of Big Ten rival, Michigan, to boost the Buckeyes overall record to 31-25. Promising for the future, yes, but the team finished with a disappointing 9-15 mark in the Big Ten, good for 11th place in the final standings.
It led, as promised, to a refocus in the direction of the program. The Diamond Club became an asterisk as the roster was overhauled, recruiting went national, and Mosiello made good on his pledge when he took the job…that Ohio State baseball would seek new heights and a new level of what he called ‘sustainability’. The expectations for the future, starting in just 40 days, go far beyond a nine-game winning streak to shine light on the possibilities.
So who is Bill Mosiello…One year into a five-year deal to infuse the baseball turnaround he promised, that was the #1 question associated with 2023 Buckeye program; and far more questioned than the fact of an 11th place finish and a general roster upheaval at the end of the 2023 season that had some bluebloods asking what in the Wide World of Sports is going on?
Coming to Ohio State from a lengthy tenure at perennial Big 12 power TCU, where he was one of the nation’s most respected assistants, Mosiello is a brilliant baseball mind, having spent two stints in the minor league systems of the Los Angeles Angels and the New York Yankees. He can count among his former proteges both Angels outfielder Steve Trout and Colorado Rockies’ future hall of famer, Todd Helton. The man misses nothing on the baseball field, and is tireless in his efforts to teach the little things that mean the difference in winning, and questioning why you didn’t. You make mental notes if you’re around him, because baseball is broad and you can learn from Bill Mosiello.
He’s obsessive about little things, the day-to-day, yet a good communicator and players seem to like his competitive fire – seem to appreciate, and take personal responsibility for the trust he shows in them. He immediately saw the potential in a pair of freshmen in 2023 – shortstop Henry Kaczmar and catcher Matt Graveline – and gave them plenty of that trust. Both responded by making the All-Big Ten freshman team. And as the overall roster recovered from a series of nagging injuries throughout the Big Ten schedule, so, too, did the performance of outfielders Trey Lipsey, Kade Kern, and pitcher Isaiah Coupet. Kern and Coupet would be taken in the July MLB draft, sign, and get off to positive starts at the next level of their career.
But Mosiello’s sights are now set on another chapter, a new core of talent, trust, and responsibility given to the next group – a recruiting class that comes from all points of the map and bodes well for the next step in 2024. The fine points of why they didn’t win in 2023 are imprinted in his day-to-day vision for 2024 – the better baseball necessary to rejoin the upper echelons of the Big Ten. Ohio State does not belong in 11th place, and neither does Mosiello. You can ask him.
And take notes!
Pitching coach, Sean Allen…There may be no more dramatic impact on the 2023 season than that of pitching coach Sean Allen, who inherited a largely unproven staff from 2022, and set about learning…who among them could have their own impact at the Division I level of college baseball, and who couldn’t.
That fact eventually settled in around a key injury to the weekend starting rotation in junior Isaiah Coupet, and how to patch things up until his return…and how to instill some confidence in an unproven and unreliable bullpen that started the Big Ten schedule with an earned run average north of 9.00.
Allen eventually found it all, with transfer starter Noah Jenkins, the development of lefthander Gavin Bruni, and through personal growth, the contributions of arms like Nolan Clegg, Will Pfennig, Jaylen Jones, and a highly-touted freshman reliever, Landon Beidelschies.
A troubling stat, strikeouts to walks, would haunt Buckeye pitchers throughout (285 walks in 481 innings), but that figure eased as a result of Allen’s patience, along with the cumulative ERA, through the final weeks of the season. The staff finished with a respectable, 5.63, in the middle of the pack of Big Ten pitching stats.
A former assistant with the University of Texas for 11 seasons, Allen came to the Buckeyes in 2023 as one of the highly-touted assistants in college baseball, named the Division 1 Baseball Assistant of the Year after the 2021 season. And with an impressive group of developmental arms in 2024, it’s anticipated that the Buckeyes, will indeed, be better, more efficient, and take the next step among conference pitching in 2024…under the tutelage of Allen.
Assistant coach, Buck Taylor…Taylor came to the Buckeyes last year from Kansas State, where he worked primarily with pitchers, but has a broad background in developmental baseball.
Prior to coaching, he played at San Francisco State University, and later served as an assistant coach at SFSU from 1995 through 2000.
For the next 14 seasons Taylor was the head coach at Palomar Community College after originally joining the Palomar staff as the pitching and catching coach in 2001. Taylor compiled a 434-181 (.706).
An interesting fact, Taylor graduated with a Masters Degree in physical education and sports administration from Azusa Pacific in 2001. He also served as Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health and Recreation on Palomar’s full-time faculty.
Always a good baseball resource, he’s accomplished at working with both pitchers and catchers, and coached third base for the Buckeyes in 2023.
Assistant coach/recruiting, Andrew See…A native of Adrian, Michigan, See became an Ohioan during his college playing days as an Ohio University Bobcat after transferring from the University of Georgia in 1998. He was a starting pitcher for the Bobcats for two seasons, before becoming the bullpen closer during his senior season.
A gifted athlete, he also played first base and center field for Ohio, with a career batting average of .350, with 33 home runs and 116 RBIs.
Turning to coaching after his playing career, he spent time in the Atlantic Coast Conference as the pitching coach for Duke University, and then with Clemson from 2016 through 2022 in that same capacity, appearing in the NCAA tournament in four of his seven seasons with the Tigers.
Serving as the Buckeyes’ coordinator for recruiting, he also coached first base for the Buckeyes in 2023.
Director of Baseball Operations, Damon Lessler…A jack of all baseball trades, including more than a decade as an assistant coach at Charleston Southern, Cal Berkeley, Cal Poly, Chico State, Southern Mississippi and San Jose State, Lessler enters his second year as day-to-day overseer of all aspects of the Buckeyes baseball program.
A talented infielder during his playing days, Lessler played shortstop at Castro Valley High School (California) and then collegiately at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, Sonoma State and Mississippi Valley State before heading to Hattiesburg Mississippi in pursuit of his master’s degree at Southern Miss.
Lessler holds several academic degrees including a master’s degree in sports administration from Southern Mississippi and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Mississippi Valley State, where he earned valedictorian honors from the university.