Huge season for Foster, FSU
Published 7:52 pm Saturday, June 15, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s the life of a baseball player at a big-time college-baseball program.
Former Troup Tiger Jonathan Foster came into the season hopeful of winning the job as the Florida State starting catcher, but it didn’t work out.
Highly-touted freshman Mathue Nelson won the job, and he has started most of Florida State’s games this season, including all five NCAA tournament games.
While Foster’s playing time has been limited, he’s hardly just been along for the ride as the Seminoles made a run to the College World Series in Omaha.
Foster has played in 36 games with 17 starts, and while he’s only hitting .194, he has a .398 on-base percentage. Foster has walked 16 times, and he’s also been hit by a pitch five times.
Foster has two doubles and two home runs, and he has driven in seven runs.
Foster hasn’t appeared in any of Florida State’s NCAA games, but he has been with the team every step of the way.
When Reese Albert hit two home runs in a win over LSU in the super-regional, Foster was there to greet and support his teammate.
“I was watching the game the other day,” said Craig Garner, Foster’s head coach at Troup. “I think the Albert kid hit two home runs, and he was one of the first ones out of the dugout, just smiling and happy for his teammate.”
Foster began his college journey at Auburn, which has also made it to the College World Series.
Foster played in 18 games with 14 starts for Auburn in 2016, and he hit .265 with three doubles and four RBIs.
Following the 2016 season, Butch Thompson was promoted to head coach at Auburn, and Foster ended up transferring to Chattahoochee Valley Community College.
At CVCC, one of the country’s most elite junior-college programs, Foster hit .324 with an on-base percentage of .436, and he hit 10 home runs with 60 RBIs.
In his first season at Florida State, Foster hit .214 in limiting playing time with two doubles and two home runs, one of which was a game-winner against Louisville.
Foster had a successful summer season in 2018 while playing for the Kalamazoo Growlers of the Northwoods Baseball League, hitting .267 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 43 games.
Hoping to use the momentum from that strong summer to earn a starting spot, instead it was Nelson finding his way into the lineup.
“Coming into the year, he knew he was going to be competing against a freshman,” Garner said. “He got his opportunities to get in there and take it, and he’ll be the first one to admit that he didn’t perform well enough to take it.”
Nelson responded by hitting .277 with six home runs and 29 RBIs, and he had two hits and an RBI in the series-clinching win over LSU.
While Nelson is clearly entrenched as the starter, Foster could still get an opportunity to play in Omaha.
Florida State will play Arkansas on Saturday in its World Series opener.
“You never know,” Garner said. “He’ll be ready.”