There’s no doubt Ohio State baseball had its share of ups and downs in its first season under new head coach Bill Mosiello.
Capturing some hardware early in the season by winning the Frisco Classic and going 12-7 prior to conference play, the Buckeyes showed early signs of improvement off a 21-30 campaign in 2022, their worst record since 2017.
Fast forward a month and the team was 3-12 in Big Ten play, all but eliminated from contention for one of the eight spots in the conference tournament.
With no postseason on the table, though, the culture of winning that Mosiello stated earlier in the season that he is looking to build started to pay dividends in the final stretch of the year.
Ohio State won a conference series for the first time in its campaign, taking two of three off Illinois, lost three consecutive contests, then responded with a nine-game winning streak to close the year.
It started by enacting some revenge at the tail end of a road series with Iowa, the Buckeyes winning 5-2 despite having to roll through a crop of relievers rather than start a pitcher.
That bled into a break from conference action for the Scarlet and Gray. Another crop of relievers shut down UCF in a 2-0 victory as freshman Landon Beidelschies recorded his second consecutive save. None of the remaining seven wins in the winning streak required such a close.
Ohio State beat Central Michigan 13-5 and swept a three-game series against UNC Greensboro May 13-14, its first such series against a nonconference opponent since March 17-19 against Dayton.
Then came a huge triumph to close the season, a three-game sweep of rival Michigan. Entering the series, the Wolverines held a Big Ten record of 13-8 compared to the Buckeyes’ 6-15.
One would have thought those marks were swapped based on the results of the series. Ohio State trounced Michigan in each contest, winning by scores of 7-3, 9-5 and 7-2.
With a 31-25 overall record to end the year, OSU posted its best tally in four seasons. Its nine-game winning streak was the longest by the program since 2009.
Time will tell how the Buckeyes build on their first year under Mosiello. But playing for pride at the end of the year after conference and national ambitions were already derailed, OSU showed it might have some material to construct with going forward.