Troy will open its 2013 season against Florida A&M tonight

Published 11:32 pm Thursday, February 14, 2013

Troy will open its 2013 season against Florida A&M tonight at Riddle-Pace Field at 6 p.m.

The Trojans will be led on the infield by Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year Logan Pierce. The senior will make the move to third base after earning All-Sun Belt honors at fist base a year ago. Pierce batted .341 with five home runs and 47 RBIs.

One of the top newcomers in the conference is likely to be first baseman Trae Santos. The Guam native played last season at Northwest Florida State College where he hit 11 home runs in two seasons.

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Kyle Brown will see some action at first this season if he can overcome a hand injury he suffered in the fall. He also underwent hip surgery last year.

In the middle infield, junior Jakob Nixon and Tyler Vaughn are expected to start at second base and shortstop, respectively. Vaughn is a solid defender coming off a sophomore campaign in which he recorded a .986 fielding percentage and committed just three errors in over 200 chances.

Troy head coach Bobby Pierce feels confident in his experienced middle infield.

“We’ve got four guys working in the middle of the infield. Tyler Vaughn is an experienced player who has been playing on both sides of second base. We didn’t draw it up that way, but when Garrett Pitts, who were recruited to play shortstop, struggled a little bit in the fall we moved Tyler over to short; also we need to have a backup plan in case of injury,” Pierce said. “Vaughn has played well on both sides of the bag, but is not totally comfortable yet at short and we don’t expect him to be, but he is a pretty solid steady guy. He will probably hit in the leadoff spot whether he is playing shortstop or second base.

Jake Harrell return as the Trojans primary catcher after senior Brandon Brown made the move to the left side of the infield after a thumb injury. Harrell batted .286 last season with 12 double and three home runs. Backing up Harrell will be junior college transfer Justin Hancock.

Garrett Pitts will see some time in the middl infield while Matthew Howard will spit time between the mound and the infield after he hit .303 as a third baseman at Northwest Florida State College last year.