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Buckeye baseball starts off season with impressive win

New head coach Bill Mosiello notched his first win at Ohio State, too.

Press Pros Feature Photos by Julie McMaken Wright

Ohio State baseball began the 2023 season on Friday, and with that a new era of Buckeye baseball. Bill Mosiello was hired in the offseason to replace long time head coach Greg Beals. Key parts of the team have graduated, and new players have been ushered in to replace them. The road to Omaha has just begun, but it did so with a win.

On Friday, the Buckeyes began a four-game series against UConn. The Huskies reached the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament last year and finished with a school record of 50-16. However, the past is in the past for both teams, as Ohio State looked very solid for the first game of the season. They won the game 3-0 with eight hits.

Junior Isaiah Coupet made his second-straight opening day start, and he needed no time to warm up. He threw 5.1 no-hit innings before finishing with six shutout frames while only giving up one hit and one walk while fanning nine. He was an absolute stud, having command over all of his pitches and shutting down the Husky offense.

Third baseman Nick Erwin had a phenomenal debut after missing the entirety of his senior season last year with a shoulder injury. He went 3-for-4 with a double and scored a run. Additionally, freshman shortstop Henry Kaczmar had a hot start to his collegiate career as he went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a double.

(Press Pros Feature Photos by Julie McMaken Wright)

Transfer catcher Cole Andrews had a pair of singles to make it an all-around big night for those making their debuts — Erwin after missing a season due to injury, Kaczmar his collegiate debut and Andrews his Ohio State debut.

Overall, there are a ton of new faces this year. Between a new coaching staff and 18 new players, it’s a totally different program than it was last year. The outfield is one of the only things that have stayed the same, as star sophomore left-fielder Trey Lipsey, center-fielder Kade Kern and right-fielder Mitchell Okuley all return to their previous positions.

Lipsey was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team last season after starting in 50 of the Buckeyes’ 51 games in 2022. He settled into the third spot in the lineup and was one of the team’s most consistent offensive threats, finishing with a .293 average, seven home runs, 26 RBI and a team-high 14 stolen bases. Oh, and he did all of this while playing errorless defense.

Casey Smith, Assistant Lantern TV Sports Producer

Kern was a freshman All-American two years ago, and while having a bit of a slow start last year, he found his groove and once again became one of the top hitters on the team. He finished with a .298 average as the cleanup hitter and was named Third Team All-Big Ten. It’ll be interesting to follow along how consistent he will be this year.

Okuley is a steady presence both at the plate and in right field. He committed one error last season while hitting .287 for the season. Clearly, the outfield is in good hands and will be very fun to follow along with, especially Lipsey and Kern, all season.

As for the infield, shortstop Kaczmar has taken the spot of Zach Dezenzo, who was drafted this past year. Marcus Ernst returns to a corner position this year, starting at first on Friday. Ernst was the team’s leading hitter last year, finishing with a .327 average as the leadoff hitter. Erwin is now back as the third baseman, and sophomore Josh McAlister rotated around the middle infield last season, and he started at second during the first game this season.

(Press Pros Feature Photos by Julie McMaken Wright)

Two transfer pitchers will start games two and three of the series while throwing to a transfer catcher in Andrews. There is a mix of old and new this season, but overall the theme seems to be that this team is feeling more prepared than they have in a long time.

Maybe a fresh coach combined with some key additions on the roster is exactly what this team needs to be in contention for a Big Ten title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes finished 11th in the conference last season and failed to make the postseason. There seems to be a buzz around the clubhouse this year, though, so keep an eye on the baseball team.