Tim Elko homers with torn ACL as Ole Miss baseball rebounds to beat Texas A&M 12-7
Tim Elko didn't own at least a share of Ole Miss baseball's home run lead for about half an hour.
Only 33 days after tearing the ACL in his right knee, Ole Miss' senior team captain did the improbable and hit a three-run home run in the Rebels' 12-7 win over Texas A&M. The win evened the series and set up a decisive Game 3 between the No. 11 Rebels (33-13, 14-9 SEC) and Aggies (26-13, 6-17) that will begin Sunday at 1 p.m.
Elko injured his knee when he got tangled up with North Alabama's first baseman trying to round the base on April 5. Saturday marked just the third at-bat Elko had taken since the injury, which usually requires surgery and up to a year of rehab.
"I almost blacked out a little bit once I hit it," Elko said. "But once I was running the bases, it was a great moment. I'm happy I was able to put some more runs on the board for our team, and I love seeing a win."
The home run was the 10th of the year for Elko and his first since March 27. Prior to his injury, Elko led the SEC in RBIs and was named the NCBWA Hitter of the Month for March.
Elko's home run was part of a seven-run seventh inning that extended Ole Miss' lead to 12-2. The Rebels trailed 2-0 early. Texas A&M starter Chris Weber retired the first nine Rebels he faced ,and Ole Miss starter Doug Nikhazy struggled, allowing two runs on three hits, three walks and a hit batsman in the first three innings.
But Nikhazy settled in, retiring 13 batters in a row between the third and seventh innings. Nikhazy exited in the seventh inning after allowing a two-run home run, finishing his day with 6⅔ innings pitched and allowing four runs on five hits with nine strikeouts.
"I just tried to take the energy and the game speeding up on me out of the equation and started pumping fastballs to have faith in my stuff," Nikhazy said. "When I have faith in my stuff, guys usually don't have as much success. It just not trying to overthrow and throwing it in there."
Junior left fielder Kevin Graham also hit his 10th home run of the season, tying a career high. The designated hitter slot in the lineup drove in six of Ole Miss' 12 runs; Ben Van Cleve hit an RBI triple, pinch hitter Calvin Harris hit a two-run double and Elko hit his three-run home run.
Ole Miss needs a win Sunday to win its second straight SEC series and move to 4-4 in conference series overall with two weekends left.
Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or email@example.com. Follow @nicksuss on Twitter.