Ole Miss resumes SEC play riding a seven-game winning streak, looking to stay hot as Texas A&M visits Swayze Field.
This will be the last regular-season game for the Rebels with the SEC Tournament set to begin Tuesday in Hoover, Ala.
The series starts with the first pitch Thursday at 6:30 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. game Friday and the final game Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
The last time the Aggies visited Oxford, Ole Miss registered a sweep of No. 6 Texas A&M by a combined score of 21-9 in 2019.
The Rebels will honor five players on Senior Day Saturday in Max Cioffi, Tim Elko, John Gaddis, Hayden Leatherwood and Ben Van Cleve.
The Rebels have swept back-to-back SEC series over Missouri and LSU. Ole Miss joins Tennessee as the only SEC teams to accomplish the feat this season.
The sweep over LSU made it four wins in a row over ranked opponents after Ole Miss defeated No. 11 Southern Miss on Wednesday in Hattiesburg.
Hunter Elliott earned SEC Co-Freshman of the Week honors for the second straight week after allowing one run over 6.2 innings Saturday against LSU, matching his career-high with nine strikeouts.
Dylan DeLucia also had a masterful performance on the mound over two days following the suspension of play on Friday, pitching seven-plus innings with three runs allowed, also striking out nine.
Ole Miss hit eight home runs in the series by seven different players.
Brandon Johnson picked up two saves in the series, moving his total to nine for the season, ranking third in the SEC.
Ole Miss re-entered the polls for the first time in five weeks, coming in at No. 20 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Rankings.
Ole Miss picked up its second-consecutive series sweep last weekend, earning three wins at LSU after sweeping Missouri at Swayze Field the week prior. The Rebels and Tennessee are the only two teams to sweep back-to-back SEC series this season.
ANSWERING THE CALL
Ole Miss had a historic weekend in Baton Rouge, taking all three games at Alex Box Stadium. It was the first-ever sweep in Baton Rouge for the Rebels. Also winning two-of-three games in 2019, Ole Miss has won back-to-back series at LSU for the first time since 1964-65. The Rebels have won five-straight games at Alex Box Stadium.
Left-handed pitcher Hunter Elliott has won back-to-back SEC Freshman of the Week honors after putting together consecutive electric starts on the hill against Missouri and LSU. The Tupelo, Mississippi, native allowed just one run on four hits over seven innings against the Tigers and followed up with a nearly identical effort in Baton Rouge, also surrendering one run on four hits. In both games, the true freshman racked up nine strikeouts, matching his career-high and the most strikeouts by a Rebel pitcher this season.
GREAT IN A PINCH
After filtering in and out of the starting lineup at the beginning of the year, senior Ben Van Cleve has settled into a role as the Rebels' best option off the bench in a pinch-hitting situation. Van Cleve is batting .333 this season as a pinch hitter, including recording a base knock in four of his last seven pinch hit opportunities.
Ole Miss earned a 5-2 win over Mississippi State at Trustmark Park on Tuesday, regaining control of the Governor's Cup for the first time since 2015. The win pulled the Rebels within one in the all-time series for the trophy, with Mississippi State leading 20-19.
Ole Miss has four former players currently on MLB rosters in Chris Ellis (Baltimore Orioles), Lance Lynn (Chicago White Sox), Mike Mayers (Los Angeles Angels) and Drew Pomeranz (San Diego Padres).
SUPER BASH BROS.
Ole Miss has not one but two of the greatest home run hitters in the history of the program on its roster in seniors Tim Elko and Kevin Graham. With 19 home runs this season, second most in a single season in program history, Elko has racked up 41 in his career, tied for the second most ever at Ole Miss. Not far behind is Graham, who with 10 this season sits at 37 in his career, tied for the fifth most in a Rebel career.
Peyton Chatagnier ranks 23rd in the nation in sacrifice flies, ranking second in the SEC with six. Three of Chatagnier's sacrifices came in the same game as the junior plated Reagan Burford three times in the Friday night win over VCU. Meanwhile, Burford ranks 63rd in the country and seventh in the SEC with five sacrifice flies. Overall, Ole Miss ranks No. 20 in the nation, second in the SEC with 28.
REBS DIG THE LONG BALL
Ole Miss has been doing much of its damage this season by sending balls over the fence, ranking 18th in the nation with 86 home runs on the year. The Rebels have three double-digit home run hitters in Tim Elko (19), Jacob Gonzalez (14) and Kevin Graham (10) and have had 13 different players go yard. The Rebels have hit back-to-back home runs five times this season, including launching three in a row twice.
Jacob Gonzalez lashed his third triple of the season in the Rebels' Governor's Cup win over Mississippi State at Trustmark Park, becoming the first Rebel with at least three triples in a season since Tate Blackmon legged out four in 2017.
Ole Miss ranks fourth in the nation in both total and average attendance this season. In the 25 home games this season available in the most recent data, 253,903 total fans have packed the stands at Swayze Field, good for an average of 10,156 per game.
WE LOVE FREE BASES
Ole Miss has shown patience at the plate and has made it pay off. The Rebels have received 272 free passes via walks and HBPs, with 110 of those runners coming around to score.
Senior right-handed reliever Brandon Johnson is one of 66 players tabbed to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List. Johnson is one of nine SEC players and one of four from the SEC West named to the watch list.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Ole Miss is one of five programs to host at least 10 NCAA Regional appearances since 2004, joining Florida State, Florida, LSU and North Carolina. The Rebels are also one of eight programs to earn at least five regional hosting bids since 2014, being joined by Florida State, Florida, LSU, Louisville, TCU, Vanderbilt and Texas Tech.
THE BOYS ARE BACK!
Ole Miss returns nearly the entirety of its potent offense from the 2021 season with eight of nine positional starters returning to the Rebel lineup, Ole Miss is poised once again to put up gawdy numbers on the scoreboard.
Percentage Return from 2021
• Games Started - 88.6%
• Runs - 88.5%
• Hits - 91.8%
• Doubles - 91.7%
• Triples - 100%
• Home Runs - 90.6%
• RBIs - 91.3%
• Walks - 85.1%
Ole Miss has nine junior college products on the 2022 roster, five of which are new additions. Four of the five JUCO players come from schools within the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference.
THAT'S GOLD, JERRY
Ole Miss' Hayden Dunhurst and Jacob Gonzalez were two of 55 players named to the 2022 Golden Spikes Award Preseason watch list, announced by USA Baseball. The Rebels are one of just eight teams with multiple players on the list, joining LSU, Arizona State, Arkansas, California, Florida, Texas and Vanderbilt.
STARS AND STRIPES
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco has been tapped as the manager for the 2022 USA Collegiate National Team for this upcoming summer, marking the Rebel skipper's managerial debut for the Red, White and Blue. It will be the second time donning a Team USA uniform for Bianco, who served as the pitching coach for the Collegiate National Team in 2013. Under Bianco's guidance, the USA posted a 1.87 ERA, a 20-3 record and 222 strikeouts. The remaining 2022 Collegiate National Team staff, as well as more information about the 2022 Collegiate National Team schedule, will be announced at a later date.
Of the 41 players on the Ole Miss roster, 11 hail from the state of Mississippi. The 11 local products are tied for the most for the Rebels since 2017.
Ole Miss led the nation in attendance in 2021 with 303,859 fans entering the gates at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field across 40 games. The Rebels' average attendance of 7,596 also ranked first in college baseball, with Ole Miss ranking as one of just three schools to average more than 4,000 fans per game. During the season, Ole Miss welcomed four of the top-10 single game crowds and two of the top-three series crowds ever seen in Oxford, setting the record in the three-game set against Arkansas.
Top-10 Single-Game Crowds
4. April 10 vs. Arkansas - 11,857
5. April 23 vs. LSU - 11,788
7. April 24 vs. LSU - 11,653
8. April 10 vs. Arkansas - 11,524
Top-3 Series Crowds
1. April 10-11 vs. Arkansas - 33,423
3. April 22-24 vs. LSU - 32,476
HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE
Ole Miss has bolstered the roster with three new lefties in transfer John Gaddis and true freshmen Hunter Elliott and Luke Ellis. Relief arm Jackson Kimbrell also returns to the Rebel roster.
STARS IN THE MAKING
Ole Miss has six players ranked in D1Baseball's Top 2022 MLB Draft College Prospect Rankings. All six Rebels are ranked inside the top-150, tied for the most in the top-150 in the nation. Additionally, a pair of Rebs find themself in the top-100 for the 2023 rankings.
Rebels in the Top 2022 MLB Draft Prospect Rankings
• Hayden Dunhurst - No. 27
• TJ McCants* - No. 49
• Derek Diamond - No. 63
• Jack Washburn - No. 101
• Kevin Graham - No. 124
• Drew McDaniel - No. 133
Rebels in the Top 2023 MLB Draft Prospect Rankings
• Jacob Gonzalez - No. 2
• Jack Dougherty - No. 55
* - Draft eligible sophomore
STUDS AROUND THE DIAMOND
When D1Baseball released its top-50 position power rankings this offseason, Ole Miss was well represented, landing at least one player at every single position. The Rebels' full rankings can be found below:
Rebels in the Top-50 Position Rankings
• Jacob Gonzalez - No. 2 shortstop
• Hayden Dunhurst - No. 4 catcher
• Tim Elko - No. 5 first baseman
• Peyton Chatagnier - No. 13 second baseman
• Justin Bench - No. 25 third baseman
• Kevin Graham - No. 16 outfielder
• TJ McCants - No. 32 outfielder
• Derek Diamond - No. 40 starting pitcher
• Brandon Johnson - No. 41 relief pitcher
• Jack Dougherty - No. 62 relief pitcher
• Jack Washburn - No. 75 starting pitcher
• John Gaddis - No. 76 starting pitcher
• Drew McDaniel - No. 115 starting pitcher
RESPECT FROM THEIR PEERS
Ole Miss landed a league-high five players on the Preseason All-SEC team, having a player recognized at four of five infield positions.
Ole Miss Preseason All-SEC Selections
• Jacob Gonzalez - Shortstop - First Team
• Hayden Dunhurst - Catcher - Second Team
• Tim Elko - First Base - Second Team
• Peyton Chatagnier - Second Team
• Kevin Graham - Second Team
YOU'RE GONZO GO FAR, KID
Bursting onto the scene last season with one of the greatest true freshmen seasons ever in a Rebel uniform, shortstop Jacob Gonzalez quickly established himself as one of the nation's elite young talents. In addition to being named D1Baseball's National Freshman of the Year, the California native joined Stephen Head as the only Rebs ever to be named an All-American as a freshman, earning the honor from both D1Baseball and the NCBWA. Starting all 67 games at short, Gonzalez led all true freshmen in hits and runs scored. Poised for another big season, the sophomore has reeled in a myriad of preseason honors for 2022.
Gonzalez' Preseason Honor Round Up
• Preseason All-America (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, D1Baseball, NCBWA, Perfect Game)
• First Team Preseason All-SEC
• D1Baseball No. 2 '23 College Draft Prospect
• D1Baseball No. 3 '23 College Draft SEC Prospect
• D1Baseball No. 2 ranked shortstop
COME TO THE SIP
With a pair of electric arms departing for the Major League Baseball Draft in Gunnar Hoglund and Doug Nikhazy, Ole Miss utilized the transfer portal to bring in some talent on the mound in Division I transfers John Gaddis and Jack Washburn. Both bring quality experience to the Rebel roster, with Gaddis pitching four seasons at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Washburn moving to Oxford after two seasons at Oregon State.
The Gaddis File
• 2021 All-Southland Second Team
• 13 appearances with 10 starts in 2021
• Won five games with a team-low 2.25 ERA
• 72 strikeouts in 64.0 innings of work
• 7.0 or more innings in 6-of-last-7 starts
The Washburn File
• Son of former MLB star Jarrod Washburn
• 21 appearances with five starts in 2021
• 3.12 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 34.2 innings