It’s that time of year for beer showers and the Swayze Crazies to make their way to the beautiful campus of Ole Miss for the 2022 Ole Miss baseball season. Like many others across the Southeastern Conference, Ole Miss has the potential to make a deep run this season and even have the opportunity to win both the SEC Tournament in Hoover and a National Championship in Omaha.
Unlike the other programs, though, Ole Miss has their nucleus back from last season, led by the man himself, Tim Elko. Elko returns to the lineup for Ole Miss for one last ride. Last season Elko suffered what many thought would be a career-ending ACL injury in mid-April. But Elko didn’t let that slow him down. He fought back and returned a month later in a pinch hitter hole before being added to the lineup card as the designated hitter for the Rebels to finish the season. Many around College Baseball including, Head Coach Mike Bianco, expect monster things from Elko this season as he prepares to etch his name into Ole Miss baseball folklore.
Tim Elko isn’t the only superstar returning for Ole Miss this season. Head Coach Mike Bianco is through the roof with excitement about the veteran leadership that Ole Miss will take the field with this season.
Starting with the nine-man lineup card, Ole Miss returns six out of the nine this season. Hayden Dunhurst, TJ Mccants, Kemp Alderman, Hayden Leatherwood, Justin Bench, and Jacob Gonzalez. All of which are fully expected to lead Ole Miss to the promised land with the help of several key newcomers to the programs.
The newcomers expected to make an immediate impact on the Ole Miss baseball program are Reagan Burford, John Kramer, Matt Parenteau, and two-sport athlete Tywone Malone. All four guys will provide the missing piece for Ole Miss to bring a National Championship home to Oxford.
As far as pitching goes, the weekend starting rotation is as potent as any in the Southeastern Conference this season, with the one and two guys already decided and the third expected to be named in the coming days. Expected Friday and Saturday starters are two guys that Ole Miss fans are all too familiar with, Derek Diamond and Drew McDaniels taking the mound, with the third-weekend starter role coming down to a three-way battle between John Gaddis, Jack Washburn, or Jack Dougherty, all three of which add a lot of talent to the role as Ole Miss starting pitchers.
In the bullpen, Ole Miss fans will see Brandon Johnson and Jackson Kimbrell as the middle inning guys and Max Cioffi in to close things out for the Rebels.
Overall, the 2022 season for Ole Miss has the potential to be one of the best seasons in school history, much like how the 2020 season started for the Rebels. Ole Miss has the veteran leadership to lead the Rebels into a new season and the newcomers to get Ole Miss over the hump to position itself to make a run at a National Championship.
Ole Miss will open their season on the weekend of February 18th as the Rebels welcome Charleston Southern to Swayze Field.