Nathaniel Lowe‘s college career reads like a road map with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
Lowe made stops at three different colleges in as many years, the last of which landed him at Mississippi State this past season.
After a stellar spring with the Bulldogs, the junior first baseman was drafted in the 13th round by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 390th pick. Lowe signed with the Rays and is now playing for the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League.
“Getting here makes me so grateful for how things worked out,” Lowe said.
But moving has been a big part of Lowe’s life. He grew up in a military family where his father, David, was a U.S. Navy fighter pilot and graduated from Top Gun.
Lowe was born in Virginia and moved to Georgia twice and also lived in Rhode Island. But it is in Marietta, Georgia that Lowe calls home. He was able to go to the same elementary, middle and high school with the exception of a portion of his fourth grade year despite his fathers assignments and deployments which included Iraq.
In high school, Lowe led Pope to the Class 5A state championship in 2013 and hit a walk-off grand slam to secure the Greyhounds’ title. From there, he signed with Mercer but made only six starts and went just 3-for-31 at the plate.
“That year taught me a lot of patience,” Lowe said. “It also taught me about not playing as much as you want to because I went through that. It makes you grateful for when you get the opportunity every day to compete and you’re not wondering when your next (at bat) or inning could be.”
Lowe decided another move was in order which brought him to St. Johns Rivers State College. There he was named the Florida Junior College Player of the Year and a NJCAA first team All-American batting .372 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs.
Naturally, plenty of colleges took notice of those numbers and started lining up for his services. Schools such as Indiana, Florida State, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Florida and LSU recruited him but it was a different experience for Lowe this time around.
“The second time going through recruiting I knew exactly what to ask and who to ask,” Lowe said. “I knew that if a coach was going to promise playing time then I didn’t need to play for him. When I came (to MSU), coach (John) Cohen said he’d give me an equal chance to try and play.”
So Lowe signed with the Diamond Dogs and was the only player to start all 63 games this past season. He hit .348 and led State with 86 hits and 20 doubles to go along with five home runs and 49 RBIs.
“If you would’ve told me in high school that in two years I’d be playing in the SEC in front of 15,000 people, I probably would’ve laughed,” Lowe said. “Even my freshman year, I saw some of these big time schools play like Florida and felt like it was a field I belonged on. It was fun for me to go down there this year and take two of three and play 27 innings when I sat on the bench for nine innings there my freshman year.”
As good as Lowe’s bat was for the Bulldogs, his steady glove at first base was even better. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder committed just two errors in 556 chances.
“Coach Cohen asked me before the season if I could play defense for him every day,” Lowe said. “That’s the thing I’ve been working on and was key to keeping me in the lineup. I didn’t start off hitting as well as I wanted to but I’m glad it came on.”
Lowe had a contingency plan to play for Hyannis in the Cape Cod League this summer but the opportunity to play in the Tampa Bay organization alongside his brother Joshua was too much to pass up. Joshua Lowe was selected with the 13th overall pick this year.