What Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie did for TCU football, Bill Mosiello is doing for TCU baseball.
The former minor-league manager in the Los Angeles Angels system is in his second year coaching hitting and base running and manning the third base box for the Horned Frogs, and his impact is clear.
The Horned Frogs, who open play at the College World Series on Sunday, went from 38 stolen bases two years ago to 117 this year. They went from 5.0 runs a game to 6.0.
It’s “Air Raid” for baseball. “Base Raid.”
“I just believe in giving freedom,” Mosiello said. “We have incredible freedom to go first to third, to go on balls in the dirt. As long as they can see it, they have incredible freedom.”
The Horned Frogs have taken to that freedom. They went first-to-third three times in Game 1 of the Super Regional series against Texas A&M and took an extra base on a double and an outfield error and on a stolen base attempt.
In Game 3 came an extreme example when Garrett Crain went for home plate in the 16th inning of the Super Regional-winning game on a ball that got away behind the bag at third.
That was a little too aggressive for Mosiello’s taste.
But it is the way the Horned Frogs have played all year.
“That’s just something he’s been preaching all year, getting us to take extra 90s,” catcher Evan Skoug said. “It paid off in the end.”
And as coach Jim Schlossnagle said, “We’re not changing it now.”
“We have a true identity, we have a mentality, and that’s what we were lacking to be honest with you, especially with the old ball and the bat,” Schlossnagle said. “I think that truly helped.”
After the Frogs sat out the postseason in 2013, Schlossnagle hired Mosiello and first-base coach Zach Etheredge to run the offense.
Schlossnagle had coached against Mosiello 20 years ago when Schlossnagle was at Clemson and Mosiello was at Tennessee.
“I’m a pitching guy at heart,” Schlossnagle said. “Not that I don’t know what’s going on with the offense, but I would prefer to have somebody else be the head coach of that.
“He has been amazing. The great thing about him is he and I are very similar in terms of our approach to practice. We’re a little more intense and a little more vocal. It’s been great, because my voice isn’t the one heard the most in practice every day.”
The Frogs no longer automatically trade an out for a base with a sacrifice bunt. They want to hit the runners home. And they want to test arms and reactions.
“It’s not just a reckless gamble,” Schlossnagle said. “No. 1, you have to teach it. No. 2, everything is calculated. They become good at it, so they trust themselves more.
“And it’s not just run to run. It’s run by design. They get in a lot more trouble if they don’t come first to third when they should have as opposed to getting thrown out.”
Mosiello wouldn’t have come to TCU had he not been able to implement his philosophy 100 percent.
“It’s a tribute to Coach Schloss that he gave me the reins to this 100 percent,” Mosiello said. “Obviously, if he didn’t like it, then he’d have to make a change.
“I’m not into making changes, because I know it works. I stick with it. I wouldn’t have taken the job if I was going to have some restraints; wouldn’t have been a good fit.”
But Mosiello said his ideas wouldn’t work without good players. But he remembers it took his lessons a while to sink in last year.
“When we were 16-12 early in the year, they still didn’t buy in to what was going on,” he said. “In my mind, it was just a feeling out. They’re intelligent kids, they love to play.
“Something clicked. They saw it works, and now they’re back. They got to teach the young kids, this works. Like any system in any sport, you’ve got to believe.”
After two trips to Omaha, who doesn’t?
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407
TCU assistant coach Bill Mosiello managed six years in the minor leagues. He credits his time in the Angels’ system for helping develop his base-running philosophy.
Totals: 763 games, 428 wins, 335 losses, .561 percentage