Ohio State will play in its third region in the country for a weekend showdown at the Lone Star State.
The Buckeyes head deep into the heart of Texas for the Frisco Classic against Mississippi State, California-Berkeley and Oklahoma to continue their momentum after an 8-2 win over Gonzaga on Sunday.
“I think it shows you what kind of kids we have and that they’re playing nine innings every day,” head coach Bill Mosiello said.
Ohio State (3-5) won one of four games last weekend against Grand Canyon and Gonzaga, losing first to the Antelopes in a pitcher duel, then to the Bulldogs in extra innings, and again to Grand Canyon on a walk-off home run before his comfortable win in the series finale.
“In the eight games, even going 3-5, we really haven’t played a single bad game,” Mosiello said. “The three games we won, we won straight away, beat them, and in the five losses we might have had a lead in all five games.”
Former catcher and transfer from Miami, Ohio, Cole Andrews made a big contribution last weekend by hitting his 20th career home run and three hits against Grand Canyon on Saturday.
In his fifth year of college baseball, Andrews said Ohio State’s resilience stood out from the rest.
“We’ve been down a lot in a few games and up a lot, but it just keeps going,” said Andrews. “I think it’s really easy when you’re losing a few games to ask yourself what you need to do differently. But we’re all very confident that we just have to keep going and trust what the coaches have suggested.”
The Buckeyes open Friday against a Mississippi State team that had a series win over Arizona State last weekend and a 10-9 win over No. 25 southern Mississippi on Tuesday.
Under fourth-year head coach Chris Lemonis, the Bulldogs made three appearances in the College World Series and won the 2021 national championship.
Junior outfielder and Samford transfer Colton Ledbetter is leading Mississippi State’s offense, hitting .400 with three homers and 19 RBIs, driving nine in the last three games.
On the mound, the Bulldogs’ elder right-hander Landon Gartman goes 1-0 in two starts with five earned carries and 15 strikeouts, keeping batsmen at a .238 batting average.
UC Berkeley (6-1) has gotten off to a strong start, winning six of its first seven games, including an 8-4 upset over No. 2 Stanford on Feb. 21. The Golden Bears swept Cal Poly and UConn in three games before their next two were postponed due to rain.
Second outfielder Rodney Green Jr. helped plan UC Berkeley’s sizzling start to the season by going 11-to-30 in seven games with two homers, 6 RBIs and two stolen bases.
The Golden Bears pitching staff currently ranks second in the Pac-12 with a team ERA of 2.76, anchored by sophomore left-hander Ian May, who is one of three pitchers in the conference not to give up a run have.
Mosiello will be making his first appearance as head coach against former Big 12 opponent Oklahoma. In his nine years as an assistant head coach at TCU, Mosiello went 19-9 against the Sooners.
Oklahoma (4-4) joins the Frisco Classic after winning two of three games against Rider last weekend. Led by sixth-year head coach Skip Johnson, the Sooners aim to pursue a 2022 season in which they won the Big 12 tournament and made it to the College World Series.
Sooners junior infielder Anthony Mackenzie powers the third best offense in the Big 12 with a .548 batting average and has a 10-game hitting streak dating back to his 2022 season at Sam Houston State.
Junior right-hander Will Carsten is one of three Sooners pitchers to pitch at least 10 innings. Carsten leads the starting rotation with a 1-0 record and a 2.70 ERA in two starts.
The freshman trio from Ohio State, consisting of shortstop Henry Kaczmar, catcher Matthew Graveline and left-handed pitcher Landon Beidelschies, made an instant impression in eight games.
Graveline started four of his five games played and is 5-for-16 with seven RBIs and a home run that came in the form of a Grand Slam Friday against Gonzaga. Kaczmar started in all eight games and has eight hits and six RBIs.
Kaczmar, a Bath, Ohio native, said his experience as a Buckeye has been “surreal” so far.
“To play for Ohio State, I mean, this is where I’ve always wanted to go,” Kaczmar said. “I’m just going to go out and have fun, play a child’s game and compete as best I can.”
Beidelschies is tied for the team lead with four appearances and has hit seven batters in five innings. In his collegiate debut, Beidelschies made a six-out save against UConn on February 17.
“I like being in difficult situations,” said Beidelschies. “I’m just trying to implement it and that’s a big deal for our pitching staff and if we can do it then we have the best chance of winning.”
Beidelschies is part of a bullpen that has pitched 32 innings overall but will be one game down this weekend after starting the season with two four-game streaks.
“That’s very taxing for a bullpen and the way you use it,” Mosiello said. “We’re happy to have three games and not overwhelm the boys.”
The Buckeyes’ offense ranks second in the Big Ten in walks with 42, third in stolen bases with 12, sixth in home runs with six, and eighth in RBIs with 44, and they strive to be “relentless.” be, said Mosiello.
“Every run you get is huge,” Mosiello said. “You can never stop and you have to understand that every run is gigantic.”
Despite another quick turnaround, Mosiello said his team is looking forward to competing in its first appearance at the Frisco Classic this weekend.
“We come to play every day and we haven’t taken a day off yet,” Mosiello said. “We’re just excited to get this thing up and running this weekend.”
Ohio State opens the series against Mississippi State Friday at 7:00 p.m., UC Berkeley Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and Oklahoma Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Every game is broadcast on D1Baseball.com.