ARLINGTON -- Stony Brook made its College World Series debut Friday, opening play in Omaha by facing UCLA, the tournament's No. 2 overall seed.Rangers closer Joe Nathan, the namesake of the Seawolves' baseball field, played for Stony Brook for three seasons and was drafted by the Giants in the sixth round in 1995. Stony Brook upset the NCAA Tournament's No. 7 overall seed, LSU, in the Baton Rouge Super Regional last week. The Tigers beat the Seawolves, 5-4, in 12 innings before Stony Brook took Games 2 and 3 to punch their ticket to Omaha. "If they come out and play anything like they did against LSU, they've got a shot," Nathan said. "I guess they're going in as the underdog, but I've said all along that these guys can play and they can play at this level. They can win some games." Nathan said that he has not spoken with the Stony Brook squad, but is considering traveling to Omaha on Thursday, when the Rangers have a day off, if the Seawolves are still playing. Stony Brook catcher Patrick Cantwell is one of three Rangers selections from this year's First-Year Player Draft participating in the College World Series. Cantwell, a .296 hitter who drove in 32 runs, was taken in the third round by the Rangers, who later picked a pair of Kent State players, pitcher Ryan Bores (27th round) and catcher David Lyon (34th round). "I'd like to see Stony Brook win," Michael Young said. "This is Joe's team. And I'm sure everybody is pulling for the underdog, especially in college sports." Travis Jankowski, who leads the NCAA with 109 hits, leads a Stony Brook offense that boasts a .335 team batting average, the second-highest in the country. The Seawolves' 2.99 team ERA and .978 fielding percentage are both the 12th-best in the country. Despite seeing his Baylor Bears fall to the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Waco Super Regionals, David Murphy, who attended Baylor's Game 3 loss Monday, will be pulling for Stony Brook. "It's cool to see the Cinderella story and what will happen with it because obviously they beat a good team in LSU," Murphy said. "They're capable and it'll be fun to see what they do in front of a national audience."
Holland feels good after throwing session
ARLINGTON -- Rangers left-hander Derek Holland threw for the first time since being placed on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder fatigue June 7 before Friday's game against the Astros.Holland, who was also suffering from a stomach virus, is unsure of when he will return, but felt good about the progress he has made. He will be eligible to come off the DL on Thursday, an off-day for the Rangers before they begin a 10-game homestand next Friday against the Rockies. "I felt really good. Everything feels very comfortable," Holland said. "We're just working on some mechanical stuff, nothing too crazy. I can't really make a call. Today's my first day of playing catch so I can't say I'll be ready [Saturday]." Righty Neftali Feliz, who was moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL Thursday, is scheduled to throw Monday. He is one of three Rangers pitchers on the DL, joining Holland and righty Alexi Ogando, who suffered a strained right groin Sunday.
Numbers impressive, but Nathan's focus on job
ARLINGTON -- If Joe Nathan converts his next save opportunity, he will pass Yankees closer Mariano Rivera for the highest career save percentage among pitchers with at least 210 save chances.With 274 saves, Nathan has converted 89.25 percent of his 307 save opportunities, behind only Rivera, who has converted 608 of 681, good for 89.28 percent. "It's nice to get back in that mix with him," Nathan said. "To get back at that level and be mentioned with him is always an honor. He's a guy I've always looked up to and respected the way he goes about his business, on and off the field." Entering Friday, Nathan has not allowed a run in his last 12 appearances and has retired 33 of the last 37 batters he's faced. He has converted 12 of his 13 save opportunities this season and, with 31 strikeouts and only two walks, he also owns the best strikeout-to-walk ratio among Major League relievers. "Having Joe back there puts a lot of it at ease," reliever Mike Adams said. "We know if we can get him the lead or even in a tie ballgame, we don't have too much to worry about." "I don't pay attention to numbers," Nathan said. "I'm just going out and trying to get three outs and get whatever the team needs. I'm not paying attention to what I've done in the past. I'm paying attention to what's coming up in the future, trying to relish the moment, and doing what needs to be done that night."
Rookie Ross impresses bullpen veterans
ARLINGTON -- Thanks to Robbie Ross, Yu Darvish isn't the only Rangers rookie pitcher playing well this season.Ross has not allowed an earned run in his last 10 outings, spanning 17 2/3 innings, and has posted a 0.43 ERA over his last 13 games. That stretch has lowered his ERA to 1.30, the best among Major League rookies and the fifth-lowest among American League relievers. "He's just showing poise," closer Joe Nathan said. "He's not letting a lot of things to affect him. The biggest thing is throwing strikes, especially coming out of the bullpen. That's one thing he's done really well, is not letting what hitter is at the plate affect him, whether it's a player he's watched growing up or a first-year guy. He's treating each guy the same." Ross tossed four scoreless innings in relief of an injured Alexi Ogando during a 5-0 victory over the Giants on Sunday, just his third appearance of the month. He earned his sixth win, giving him the most wins of any Major League reliever. Ross trails only Darvish (7-4), who started against the Astros on Friday, in the wins department among rookies. "I know you take a lot of heat as a rookie but, at the same time, a lot of us would want to be rookies again," Nathan said. "It'll be more about teaching him the ropes and what we've gone through. Hopefully he takes it in stride and enjoys this moment."
In 32 career games against the Astros, Josh Hamilton has batted .357 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs while hitting .500 in eight career home games against Houston. He missed Friday's game with an intestinal virus, and Rangers manager Ron Washington doesn't expected Hamilton to play at all this weekend.
Michael Kirkman, who previously wore jersey No. 44, wore No. 50 on Friday. Justin Grimm, who is getting called up from Double-A Frisco to start Saturday, will wear No. 51 when he is added to the roster.
Friday's fireworks show will feature 80s music in connection with this weekend's Turn-Back-The-Clock Theme. The Rangers will wear the team's 1986 uniforms Saturday.
Brady Heslip, a member of Baylor's Elite Eight team, threw out the first pitch before Friday's game. He averaged 10.2 points per game and was a 45.5 percent three-point shooter, becoming the ninth player to hit at least nine three-pointers in an NCAA Tournament in the Bears' win over Colorado on March 17.
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.