Vickerson doing it all for Crawdads

Rangers prospect goes yard twice for first time in career

Nick Vickerson has scored a career-high 37 runs this season. (Tracy Proffitt/Hickory Crawdads)

By Robert Emrich / | July 13, 2013 8:19 PM ET

Nick Vickerson has done a little bit of everything this season for the Hickory Crawdads. On Saturday night, he got to do something he'd never done before.

The versatile Rangers prospect recorded the first two-homer game of his three-year career as Class A Hickory shut down Lakewood, 5-1.

Vickerson's first blast was of the more conventional variety, clearing the left-field wall to score Nick Williams in the first inning and put the Crawdads ahead for good. His second was a little different, confounding left fielder Larry Greene for an inside-the-park shot in the sixth.

"I hit it pretty good. It was pretty high, but I didn't think it was going over the wall. It hit around the warning track in the corner and the left fielder didn't see it," Vickerson said. "I don't know when the left fielder saw it, but they didn't make a throw home."

The Mississippi State product entered Saturday with five homers in 391 Minor League at-bats -- never more than one in a game.

"It really was [exciting]," he said. "I didn't plan on it, but I'm glad it happened."

For the second time this season, the 24-year-old served as the Crawdads' catcher. A natural second baseman, Vickerson has played every position but shortstop and center field in 49 South Atlantic League contests.

"It's been a great opportunity and it's really helped me open some eyes around here," Vickerson said. "I've taken advantage of those opportunities and shown them I can play all those positions well."

Vickerson began working behind the plate last year with short-season Spokane, seeing action in one game. This year, with Rangers No. 4 prospect Jorge Alfaro injured, Vickerson assumed the backup role.

"It's definitely different, but I picked it up quick. It feels kind of natural for me," he said. "The biggest difference for me is that it's so taxing physically and mentally. It's a tough job."

Vickerson's also made one appearance on the mound for Hickory, notching the win after recording one out in the 12th inning of a 5-4 victory on May 23. Playing all nine positions in the same game is something the Maine native has thought about.

"I'd love to. Maybe if we clinched or something and had a few games left in the second half," he said. "It'd be a great time."

Vickerson is about more than versatility. After batting .132 in 30 games last season, he's hitting .255 and has career highs with six homers and 16 RBIs. He's also drawn 42 walks for a .421 on-base percentage that would rank fourth in the league if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

"I've made some adjustments in my swing and, to be honest, I think it's my attitude," Vickerson said. "I wasn't a high [Draft] pick and I didn't really understand how the business works. I'd catch myself on the bench here and there and I'd get down about it.

"This year, I came in not knowing where I was going to end up; I could have possibly been home. I just said I'm going to give my all and I'm going to have a good attitude, whether I'm helping out in the bullpen or whether I'm in the game. When my name comes up, I don't want there to be a bad thing said about me."

Williams -- Texas' 18th-ranked prospect -- reached base twice and score twice for Hickory, which snapped Lakewood's six-game winning streak.

Crawdads starter Connor Sadzeck (9-2) won his seventh straight decision after allowing three hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings.

Brian Pointer hit a solo homer for the BlueClaws.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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