Troy’s Jakob Nixon making the most of second chance
While some players see sitting on the bench as a rough patch of their career, Troy’s Jakob Nixon looks back on his stint on the bench as one of most important times of his career.
Nixon came to Troy in 2012, following a highly successful season at Middle Georgia College, and found his way in to a starting role in the first third of the season. During the 2012 season Nixon spent time in left field, second base and the designated hitter. Nixon started the season on a tear, but towards the end of the season, things didn’t go as well.
Nixon struck out more than he should, and was moved from the leadoff spot late in the year.
“It was really nice coming in to a program and getting to play every day,” Nixon said. “But stuff happens. That’s life. Guys came in that filled holes, and I had to wait for my chance to get back.”
He made only 11 starts in 2013, and watched most of Troy’s Sun Belt title season from the dugout. The 2014 season started out the same way for Nixon. But everything changed about a month ago on a road trip to Arkansas-Little Rock. Looking to shuffle things around, Troy coach Bobby Pierce moved Nixon back in to the starting lineup.
“I worked by rear end off to get back,” Nixon said. “I finally got the chance to do it again this year. I just wanted to help the team out any way I could. I am happy to be able to do that again.”
Nixon has made 10 starts at second base this season, five in left field and one as the designated hitter.
Pierce said Nixon’s production in the lineup has helped the Trojans quite a bit over the last several weeks.
“He has been a real energetic plug in our lineup recently,” Pierce said. “That may be from fresh legs, but he has really helped us out down the stretch.”
Nixon has seen his average climb from 0.091 to .328 over the last month. He has recorded a hit in all-but-two games since becoming an everyday player in mid-April.
“I have just tried to shorten everything up, and put the ball in play more,” Nixon said. “I haven’t tried to do too much. I just try to stay confident and take that confidence in to every at-bat. I need to do whatever I can to get on base and help score runs. You can’t square everything up, and you have to pick your pitches and make sure to swing at good ones. That has been the biggest thing for me. I just love being able to help this team again.”
Troy opens the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Wednesday. The Trojans will meet Arkansas State at 4 P.m. at Stanky Field on the campus of the University of South Alabama in Mobile.