LSU pitcher Aaron Nola turns attention to MLB draft
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
Aaron Nola pitched his heart
out all season for the LSU Tigers and he hopes all the hard work pays off at the next level.
The LSU pitching ace is
one of three finalists for the national player of the year award, but the focus
is on Thursday night's Major League Baseball draft.
The dust is still settling
on LSU's abrupt and all-too-sudden postseason ending and for some, the
conclusion hasn't quite set in.
"It doesn't even feel like
it's ended," said Nola. "(It) feels like I'm still a Tiger."
However, much to the
dismay of the Purple and Gold faithful, he is not.
"It hit me the other night
after the game, but now I've been kind of steady. But as time goes on, probably
over the next couple of days, it's probably going to hit me a little harder,"
The MLB draft could
definitely soften the blow. The Baton Rouge native said it's time to focus on
his future. He also recalled a similar situation with a standout Tiger pitcher
just two years ago.
"I watched (Kevin)
Gausman. He actually did it in the lounge, too, where I'm going to do it. I
watched him get picked fourth overall and that was an exciting moment for us
and him and his family," Nola explained.
He said it's always been a
dream of his to get drafted into professional baseball and now, it's very
possible that he follows in the footsteps of former LSU standout and ace of the
80s, Ben McDonald, as not only the No. 1 overall pick, but also Golden Spikes
Award winner. However, there is one area that Nola has already surpassed the
"He did something I never
did," said McDonald. "He won the SEC Pitcher of the Year twice, two years in a
row. Nobody's ever done that before, so that speaks for how good Aaron Nola's
been. He's been the best pitcher in college the last two years and there's no
two ways around that."
Twenty-five years after
being the Golden Spikes Award winner, the only Tiger ever to do so, McDonald
reflected on what the award still means to him.
"The Golden Spikes is the
equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in football. That's what it is. It's the best
college baseball player that year. And it's something they can never ever take
away from you. And I cherish that Golden Spikes Award because not many people
have them," McDonald explained.
"I see his number up there
retired and he's the face of LSU. He's LSU's great. I never really got to see
him play but we see highlights of him, we see tapes of him and the guy was
unbelievable," said Nola.
"The Golden Spikes is very
rare and so is being the No. 1 pick, but it puts you in a fraternity, if you
will, of a very few that's out there to do that. So, it's something you look
back on later in your career and say, ‘Hey, that's a pretty good
accomplishment,'" McDonald added.
And just maybe, McDonald's
fraternity of just six players grows to seven in the next few weeks.
LSU pitching ace Aaron Nola was selected seventh overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft on Thursday. The junior right-hander had a 30-6 career record in his threeMore >>
LSU pitching ace Aaron Nola was selected seventh overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft on Thursday.More >>