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Ben Nippolt comes full circle

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

The college experience, whether it be on the field or not, usually involves a lot of life-changing experiences.

LSU senior infielder Ben Nippolt got to grow up a lot during the 2023 season and says he is a better person because of it.

An Atlantic-10 All Conference player at VCU in 2022, Nippolt transferred to LSU last season in the hopes of competing for a starting position. With Tommy White’s injury to start the season, he was thrust into the starting lineup at third base for the first 10 games of the season and would start three games at second base for the Tigers. He would play in 51 games overall in 2023 for the season, mostly as a defensive replacement late in games as LSU captured the 2023 National Championship.

“It’s obviously a lot more fun if you are in (the lineup) every day,” Nippolt said. “It allows you to get into sort of a rhythm. For me, the 2023 season was a tremendous learning process because I had to realize how talented the entire team was and the opportunity we had in front of us. I had to mature a little bit. I had to get okay with just helping out however I could and be okay with that mentally. The moment I accepted that and came to terms with that; I was just glad I was able to grow into that mindset.

“Honestly, it was tough not being a mainstay in the starting lineup. I’m not going to lie, in the beginning I was a little bit lost with how to handle it and where to go with it. It really took some growing up on my part. But you look around and realize it’s pretty hard to take all of this for granted.”

Nippolt’s head coach Jay Johnson said his senior infielder played an important role in the 2023 run to the National Championship and believes he will play another big role in any success the 2024 squad accomplishes.

“It was vital that we brought him here,” Johnson said. “After the draft last year, the only two middle infielders on the roster technically were Gavin Guidry and Jordan Thompson. You have to have depth there. We were fortunate to get Ben out of the portal and he deserves a tremendous amount of credit for doing everything we asked him to do. He did a nice job defensively all year along and moving the offense along early in the season. Those are the things that are required to win games.

“He is a special person to me and happy he is a National Championship player and back this year in 2024.”

The lessons learned from his first year in Baton Rouge Nippolt said can be applied in all aspects of his life.

“You learn through the work you put in to not be too tied up in results,” he said. “Don’t take baseball stuff home with you. I’ve done that in the past and it has driven me a little bit crazy. Separating life and baseball allows me to be my own person. That’s important mentally and I really feel like I’m in a better place in my life now.

“Last year at this time was kind of a whirlwind. All the names and faces around you, which was cool to be on a team like that. This year, it is a little more process oriented rather than a results type of deal.”

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