LSU baseball adds middle infield candidate Ben Nippolt of VCU from transfer portal

PHOTO FROM: Ben Nippolt

LSU was able to get a middle infielder from the NCAA transfer portal that will make it to campus after all.

After two players, Jack Pineda and Carter Young, signed with LSU only to be drafted and sign professional contracts, the Tigers secured a commitment Thursday evening from Ben Nippolt of Virginia Commonwealth.  

“Super excited to announce the next chapter of my journey,” Nippolt announced on his Twitter page, outfitted in an LSU uniform next to baseball coach Jay Johnson.

LSU signed pitching prospects Paul Skenes of Air Force Academy, Thatcher Hurd of UCLA and Christian Miller of Vanderbilt from the transfer portal. The Tigers also added North Carolina State infielder Tommy Banks.

With the losses of Pineda and Young to the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles, respectively, LSU turned its attention to Nippolt to fill a void in the middle of its infield.

The Tigers also lost starting second baseman Cade Doughty who signed after being drafted in the second round by the Toronto Blue Jays.

LSU returns shortstop Jordan Thompson, utility infielder Jack Merrifield who played third, second and shortstop and welcomes the state’s No. 1 prospect, shortstop Gavin Guidry of Barbe in Lake Charles.

Nippolt, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, spent one season at VCU after playing at Des Moines (Iowa) Area Community College for two seasons.

VCU enjoyed a banner season with a 42-20 record, Atlantic 10 championship and appearance in the championship game of the NCAA Regional at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After beginning the regional 2-0, the Rams lost in consecutive games to the home North Carolina Tar Heels, 19-8 and 7-3.

The left-handed hitting Nippolt started in 45 of 51 games in 2022 and batted in the leadoff position. He played 34 games at third base, 17 at second and four at shortstop and was voted to the A-10’s first team. He batted .308, had a .430 slugging percentage with 48 runs scored, 31 RBIs, two homers, 31 walks and just 19 strikeouts in 172 plate appearances – the fewest among the team’s starters – and stole four of five bases.

Nippolt was the No. 33 prospect in Minnesota and state’s sixth-top shortstop according to Perfect Game. He attended Mounds Park Academy.

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William Weathers

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