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Ole Miss baseball’s Justin Bench, Tim Elko, and Kevin Graham set to return in 2022


Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

The 2021 MLB Draft did some damage to the Ole Miss starting rotation and bullpen on Sunday and Monday after co-aces Gunnar Hoglund and Doug Nikhazy and All-American closer Taylor Broadway were all selected.

That was expected.

What wasn’t entirely expected was receiving the good news that third basemen Justin Bench, first baseman and designated hitter Tim Elko, and outfielder Kevin Graham would all return to Oxford for the 2022 season. All three made announcements on Twitter after they were not selected in the MLB Draft.

Freshman All-American and D1Baseball’s Freshman of the Year Jacob Gonzalez led the way offensively for the Rebels in 2021, but the trio returning to Swayze Field were right behind him and will pack quite the punch for the lineup card next year.

Graham (.342, 14 HR, 56 RBI), Elko (.325, 16 HR, 55 RBI), and Bench (.307, 7 HR, 39 RBI) will anchor a Rebel offense that was one of the country’s best all year long, hitting .288, blasting 85 home runs, and slugging .456 as a team.

Ole Miss assistant Mike Clement seems to be excited.

So is Gonzalez.

Second basemen Peyton Chatagnier also took the news well.

And everyone’s favorite psycho seems stoked after hearing the news. He also made a bold prediction.

After falling one win shy of Omaha against Arizona in the Tucson Super Regional in 2021, the return of the Three Amigos should only boost Mike Bianco and Ole Miss’ chances of having another shot at getting back to the College World Series.