Four days after leading LSU to the 2023 national championship second-year coach Jay Johnson filled his vacancy for a pitching coach.
The combination of Johnson and Nate Yeskie proved to be a successful duo for two years at the University of Arizona, something Johnson believes will again take place at LSU after announcing his hiring in the same capacity after the departure of Wes Johnson to the University of Georgia.
“I couldn’t be more excited to add Nate Yeskie as our new pitching coach,” Johnson said in a university release. “Nate has an unmatched track record in college baseball for pitching coaches relative to developing pitching talent for professional baseball, College World Series trips, and winning in general. His coaching acumen is very complete and current, and future pitchers at LSU will develop to their highest potential because of the opportunity to work with Coach Yeskie.
“Nate is the perfect coach to lead a great group of returning pitchers in the 2024 season,” Johnson said. “This is another great step for LSU Baseball coming on the heels of a seventh National Championship. Adding Coach Yeskie is a great first step toward working for No. 8!”
Earlier in the week Johnson guided LSU to the program’s seventh national championship with an 18-4 victory over Florida in the third and deciding game of the College World Series championship series.
Jay Johnson found himself in the market for a third pitching coach since he’s been at LSU. Johnson had to replace Jason Kelly who became the head coach at the University of Washington and was able to lure Wes Johnson from the Minnesota Twins for the 2023 season.
One of the key areas of the Tigers stretch run toward the national championship was the development of a pitching staff that after All-American Paul Skenes, largely remained an uncertainty, but became a cohesive group under Wes Johnson’s tutelage and complimented one of the nation’s top offensive teams.
Yeskie, a 17-year coaching veteran who has coached 15 All-Americans and 14 All-Conference pitchers, spent the past two seasons at Texas A&M and helped the Aggies reach the CWS in 2022. Before his stop in College Station, he teamed with Jay Johnson for two seasons at the University of Arizona, helping the Wildcats to the CWS in ’21.
In his first season with the Wildcats, Yeskie helped the team’s pitching staff reduce its earned run average from 6.21 to 3.87 and opponent’s batting average from .282 to .212.
Yeskie, a former UNLV pitcher selected in the fifth round of the MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins, earned National Pitching Coach of the Year honors during an 11-year stay at Oregon State which won the ’18 national championship. He was also selected the D1Baseball Assistant Coach of the Year in ’17 and was Collegiate Baseball’s National Pitching Coach of the Year in both ’13 and ’17.
The Beavers made the NCAA Tournament 10 of the 11 seasons Yeskie was in Corvallis, Oregon.