Troy looking to replace key elements on infield

Published 9:58 pm Friday, February 10, 2012

Troy returns an All-American infielder but will also look to replace one in 2012. When shortstop Adam Bryant decided to return for his senior season, Tyler Hannah made the move to third base. It worked out nicely for Hannah and the Trojans as the 6-0, 195-pounder finished second in the Sun Belt Conference with a .370 average. He also ranked third in the NCAA with 27 doubles. On top of his strong offensive showing, Hannah put together a solid season with the glove, committing just five errors on the season playing a position other than short for the first time in his career.

Hannah will make the move back to shortstop for his senior season.

“He played great at third,” Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said. “We hate to move him but that was the plan all the way back into recruiting.”

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In anticipation of the loss of Bryant, the Trojans signed third baseman Danny Collins from Northwest Florida State College. Collins, a sophomore, played one season at the junior college before arriving in Troy. He batted .419 with 11 homeruns and was named second team All-American. Collins also played for one season under Troy pitching coach Brad Phillips at Niceville (Fl.) High School.

Sophomore Jakob Nixon and senior Tyson Workman will rotate at second base in an effort to replace T.J. Rivera who left for professional baseball. Workman’s time in the field will be regulated, however, as he enters the season as Troy’s closer as well.

Nixon played one season at Middle Georgia College before transferring to Troy. He hit .370 with 25 RBI and committed just one error in 57 games.

Workman was named All-Sun Belt as a utility player last season. He batted .286 and posted at 5-3 record on the mound with four saves and a 2.82 ERA.

“We have to be very cautious of how we use him on a daily basis,” Pierce said. “We don’t want to wear him down.”

Logan Pierce enters his junior campaign looking to improve on a light season at the plate in 2011.

“I think he tried to do a little too much last year,” Bobby Pierce said. “He looks a lot more comfortable this year and expects to have a solid season.

Logan Pierce hit just .234 last season but was outstanding defensively, posting a .990 fielding percentage. His high water game came against the Auburn Tigers, Pierce went 4-for-5 with two doubles and seven RBI.

Brandon Brown will be handed the catching duties. Brown hit .367 at Middle Georgia College last season and also played one season at Kennesaw State.

Blake Martz will also see time behind the plate but will mostly serve as Troy’s designated hitter.

Freshman Jake Harrell has turned in a strong preseason showing and could get some innings behind the dish for the Trojans also. Harrell, a Rehobeth High School graduate, batted .513 for the Rebels last year and was named All-State.

Troy kicks off the 2012 season at Riddle-Pace Field against Central Michigan on Feb. 17.