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Stony Brook heads to Omaha, with No. 1 fan Nathan (and his Rangers) cheering them on

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider
Stony Brook baseball plays its home games at Joe Nathan Field. (Getty Images)

In Friday afternoon's opening game of the College World Series, UCLA plays Stony Brook.

That's UCLA, with 70 alums who have played in the big leagues. And Stony Brook, with one.

That's UCLA, which plays home games at Jackie Robinson Stadium. And Stony Brook, which plays at Joe Nathan Field.

Hey, who did you expect them to name it after?

Actually, it's Joe Nathan Field because Nathan gave $500,000 to help get it built. And because the Rangers' closer probably qualifies as Stony Brook's No. 1 fan.

Nathan said Monday that on the Rangers' flight home from San Francisco on Sunday night, he had his teammates watching the Stony Brook-LSU super-regional game -- and cheering on the Seawolves.

"They had the whole Rangers team rooting them on," Nathan said on a conference call.

Stony Brook played Division III baseball when Nathan was there in the mid-1990s. The program went to Division I in 2000.

While Stony Brook has had success in the Northeast, it was a shock to see them beat LSU and make the College World Series.

Except to Nathan.

"I don't want to call it an upset," Nathan said. "I truly believed these guys could come in and do something special."

Now they're in the College World Series.

"This team can shock the world," Nathan said.

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