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Ole Miss baseball wins weekend series against ULM



MONROE, La. – Ole Miss baseball won this weekend’s series 2-1 against the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM), but the Rebels looked like two different teams: one could do it all, and the other struggled to find its footing.

Friday night was sure to be an exciting night before the first pitch was even thrown. Sophomore Peyton Chatagnier returned from a hamstring injury and had a fantastic night. The Texas native went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. This was the first time Chatagnier has played at home this season.

Junior Gunnar Hoglund was the starting pitcher for the Rebels and had a career-high game. The junior struck out 14 batters in seven innings, which is the most by a Rebel pitcher since Drew Pomeranz in 2010. Hoglund allowed no runs and was later replaced by junior Braden Forsyth.

“I thought the slider was really special for him,” head coach Mike Bianco said in the press conference.“They couldn’t pick it up tonight. The spin is so tight.”

Ole Miss was also able to hit very well and totaled 16 hits. This was the most since the season finale against ULM last year. One of the highlights was senior Tim Elko hitting a grand slam in the third inning. Elko is the first to do so this year.

“Maybe in the summer, but it’s the first time at Ole Miss, so that’s pretty cool,” Elko said.

The Rebels easily dominated the Warhawks 12-2 to end the Friday night.

Saturday’s game looked a little different from the previous night. Sophomore Drew McDaniel earned his first career weekend start as a Rebel. The Louisiana native wasted no time proving he earned it and went for a career high of 5.2 innings pitched, allowing just one earned run with five strikeouts and zero walks.

Ole Miss scored first in the bottom of the second inning, but the Rebels suddenly found themselves behind in the eighth. The Rebels had three errors, resulting in a three-run inning for the Warhawks. They went into the bottom of the ninth down, 5-4, and with their first two outs gone, Elko was hit by a pitch putting him on base. Junior Kevin Graham went up to bat and brought Elko home for an electric 6-5 walk-off home run.

After the first two wins, the Rebels were looking for a series sweep for Sunday’s game, but they couldn’t get it done.

Offensively, Ole Miss looked competitive in the first few innings. Graham continued his success against ULM with a double, while Elko hit a ball to the top bleachers of left field. Home runs have been easy to come by for Elko. This was his second of the weekend and seventh in the last nine games. Nonetheless, his 404-foot two-run homer was undeniably impressive.

On the defense, pitcher Derek Diamond struggled for his consecutive weekend start. The sophomore seemed in control until the fourth inning where he gave up five runs on three hits. The Warhawks took over the lead, and the Rebels were unable to recover, losing 8-3. This was ULM’s first win over a top-5 team since 2009.

Ole Miss will take on Louisiana Tech this week before starting SEC play against Auburn this weekend at Swayze Field. This matchup will be a point of correction before the Rebels get started in league play.

“There’s some things we have to improve on, and I’m not feeling too well today … but overall, I think we’ve played pretty well,” Bianco said on how he’s feeling heading towards SEC play.

The game against Louisiana Tech is set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday and 2 p.m. on Wednesday in Ruston, La.