Bill Ladson

Strasburg actively backs SDSU in NCAA tourney

Nationals pitcher following alma mater, which topped St. John's in opening round

Strasburg actively backs SDSU in NCAA tourney

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg gave his alma mater, San Diego State University, a pep talk before it beat St. John's, 76-64, in the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Strasburg was watching the game with his wife and father in Florida, and had used an app on his phone to communicate with the team.

San Diego State played top-seeded Duke on Sunday, and Strasburg said it would be a good test for the Aztecs.

"If they can shoot it, they can win, because their defense is so good," Strasburg said. "You never know. Crazy things have happened already."

Strasburg called San Diego State the hottest ticket in town. At one point, the school was known for its baseball program.

"It's electric. The guys they bring in there, it's success," he said. "The program has changed even when I was in school there. My sophomore year, they brought in Kawhi Leonard, who ended up being the NBA Finals MVP [last year]. That kind of changed things."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.