No. 3 Ole Miss baseball beats North Alabama 20-6, loses star 1B Tim Elko to knee injury
Ole Miss baseball won the game Monday, but it might've lost much more.
No. 3 Ole Miss (22-6, 7-2 SEC) beat North Alabama 20-6 in seven innings on Monday in a make-up game for a contest that was postponed last week by rain. The Rebels logged 15 hits, including four doubles, three triples and a home run. Outfielder Kevin Graham drove in five runs and hit his fifth home run of the year. Third baseman Justin Bench and catcher Knox Loposer both drove in three runs and finished home runs shy of hitting for the cycle.
This game marked the first time Ole Miss scored 20 or more runs in a game since beating Arkansas Pine Bluff 25-0 in 2019.
Perhaps more crucially, star first baseman Tim Elko went down with a knee injury in the fourth inning. Elko was helped off the field after getting his legs tangled with the first baseman on a North Alabama throwing error and taking an awkward fall. Elko returned to the Ole Miss dugout in the sixth inning sporting a brace on his right knee and moving with crutches.
"He was obviously in some pain," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "We got him off. He met with some doctors in the training room. They had him on crutches. He came back in the dugout for a little bit. They'll take an MRI tomorrow and some other tests to try to diagnose exactly what it is."
Elko entered play Monday leading the SEC in RBI and ranking second in the conference in home runs with nine. Elko's injury could be offset by the returns of first basemen Trey LaFleur and Cael Baker, each of whom played for the first time in two weeks on Monday.
Bianco said both are close to 100% physically. With Baker, the issue is pain tolerance instead of range of motion. For both, Bianco said the goal was to get them acclimated to the speed of live baseball instead of trying to get them in rhythm in the batting cages or in practice.
Ole Miss returns to action on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. against Alcorn State.
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Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @nicksuss on Twitter.