Six weeks into baseball season, the Rebels are living up to the hype.
Written by Emily Welly | Illustration by Laurie Fisher
Ole Miss Baseball began its season with a No. 1 ranking after sweeping TCU, Texas Tech and Texas at the State Farm College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas, the weekend of Feb 22.
After the Texas trip, the Rebels played 13 straight games at home in late February and March, winning 10 of them.
There is still plenty of ball to be played. The NCAA Division I regular season goes through May 22, with the tournament beginning June 4. The College World Series takes place in Omaha June 18-30.
For fans, while the traditional outfield crawfish boil tailgate parties and beer showers might not be part of the revelry this year, the atmosphere at Swayze Field is beginning to feel a lot more like we remember since restrictions have been eased to allow more spectators. Additionally, all games are broadcast on TV.
And that’s good because the Rebels continue to show they are a team worth watching. Here are a few more reasons why.
· Senior third baseman Tim Elko was named National Player of the Week and SEC Player of the Week March 8 after hitting five home runs in five games in early March.
· Coach Mike Bianco scored his 500th career win at Swayze Field when the Rebels beat Belmont 4-3 March 6 thanks to junior Kevin Graham’s eighth-inning home run.
· Pitchers Gunnar Hoglund and Doug Nikhazy were named to USA Baseball’s preseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, the top individual honor in amateur baseball. A total of 55 players in the country made the list. The award will be presented in July. Hoglund and Nikhazy were also named preseason All-Americans by multiple organizations.
· Of the team’s nine seniors, about half missed last year after the season was canceled and are back playing again this year. The other half will be eligible to play next year because of missing last season, thanks to the NCAA granting athletes an extra year of eligibility.
· April 22, Don Kessinger’s jersey number (11) will be retired and displayed on the outfield wall. After playing for the Rebels in the 1960s, he was shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, earn-ing six All-Star and two Gold Glove selections.
April 6 vs. Alcorn State
April 9-11 vs. Arkansas
April 13 vs. Austin Peay
April 20 vs. Little Rock
April 22-24 vs. LSU
April 30-May 2 vs. South Carolina
May 4 vs. Arkansas State
May 11 vs. Little Rock
May 14-16 vs. Vanderbilt
May 18 vs. UT Martin
*Games are also broadcast on the SEC Network or ESPNU. For the complete schedule, times and ticket and broadcast information, visit olemisssports.com.