Nesbit growing more comfortable at second base

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Friday, November 2, 2018
Jacob Nesbit, white team second baseman, hits a single Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, during game two of the Arkansas baseball fall world series at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Jacob Nesbit, white team second baseman, hits a single Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, during game two of the Arkansas baseball fall world series at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

— Dave Van Horn sensed a case of nerves with Arkansas infielder Jacob Nesbit last year, and it led to the Coppell, Texas, native redshirting his freshman year as the Razorbacks made their run to Omaha.

Nesbit, though, came into his own and grew more confident in his game, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said, after spending the summer playing for the Bismarck (N.D.) Larks in the Northwoods League. Nesbit hit .266 in 65 games and finished with a pair of home runs and 28 RBI.

On July 16, he totaled four hits and drove in a season-high six runs in a 12-4 win.

It appears Nesbit has played his way into a potential starting role for Arkansas after a productive fall. He totaled a pair of hits and plated three runs in the Razorbacks' exhibition win over UALR in Little Rock in October, and finished with two more base hits in Game 2 of the team's Fall World Series.

"When we left for, I think Georgia, and we were done with finals last May, he went home for a week and then got after it (in the Northwoods League)," Van Horn said Friday. "He stayed there. They play more games than any other league in the summer. He played almost every day and did OK, and he came back here more confident and a little better.

"He got off to a good start and I think that really helped him. He hit the ball well, and he’s a good defender."

Nesbit is a candidate to open the 2019 season at second base, where Fayetteville native Carson Shaddy was a staple this spring. Trevor Ezell, a graduate transfer from Southeast Missouri State, is another option for Van Horn, but Ezell was limited this fall after undergoing surgery on his throwing shoulder.

"Trevor is a great infielder," Nesbit said. "He hasn’t been throwing or anything or hitting because his shoulder is still not where it needs to be, but having an older guy over there, too, is great because he knows the game better than a lot of people."

From an offensive standpoint, Nesbit felt as if he made the strides necessary to get into the starting lineup.

"I think over the summer and the offseason last year and redshirting and all that was beneficial for me as a hitter and a person, and all-around," he said. "The fall is always huge and I kind of just played with a chip on my shoulder with something to prove. I feel like it went really well."

Nesbit received a football scholarship from Indiana in August 2016 despite quitting the Coppell High football team following the 2014 season to focus on baseball. He has fought his way back from an L5 vertebrae fracture that took away most of his junior season with the Cowboys.

Van Horn added he must become more acclimated to turning the double play on the first-base side of the infield, but Nesbit said he is growing more comfortable at second base by the day. He was ranked the No. 4 shortstop in Texas out of high school by Perfect Game.

"The best position to play is anywhere on the field," Nesbit said. "Second base is really cool. I’ve adapted well to it this fall."

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