Nathan beaming with Stony Brook pride
SAN FRANCISCO — One of the most interesting baseball games Friday didn't involve the Texas Rangers but it certainly had Joe Nathan's attention.
Nathan got a chance to watch his college Stony Brook play national power LSU on television in Game 1 of a super regional.
Nathan was drafted out of the Long Island college in the sixth round of the 1995 draft. Stony Brook is playing in its first-ever super regional and went toe to toe with LSU Friday in a game that was suspended by rain with the game tied at 4 in the 12th inning. It will resume Saturday with the winner of the best-of-three series going to the College World Series.
"It just shows where this program is going and where it's come from," said Nathan. "I think the sights coach (Matt) Senk and AD Jim Fiore have for this program, they've really done a tremendous job of making this program stronger and stronger and more attractive for recruits to come there. I think this just shows they envision and believe they can play with teams and like LSU and Arizona. It's a huge step for them to have the confidence to know they can play with them. To go out and do it is another thing."
When Nathan was drafted out of Stony Brook as a shortstop, it wasn't even a Division I school. It began playing Division I baseball in 2000 and already has the edge on LSU in draftees this season. Stony Brook had seven players picked in the draft, including catcher Patrick Cantwell by Texas in the third round. LSU had five players drafted.
Stony Brook has made the NCAA Tournament four times since 2000.
Nathan has a lot of Seawolves pride.
"When you're at a Northeast school, the baseball programs, especially at the college level, just aren't as big as they are in the south or the west," said Nathan, who made his return to AT&T Park Friday for the first time since 2003. "It doesn't mean there's not talent. It's just a little more work for the scouts to go out and find it. I think now, having teams like Stony Brook going to these tournaments, does wonders for the future."