Ole Miss seniors play final game at Swayze Field

Published 2:37 pm Monday, May 23, 2022

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss baseball held their senior day festivities on Saturday shortly before the start of their rubber match with No. 4 Texas A&M, honoring the five seniors who exhausted their NCAA eligibility this season.

First baseman Tim Elko, right fielder Hayden Leatherwood, designated hitter Ben Van Cleve and pitchers John Gaddis and Max Cioffi were all honored before the game with plaques and jerseys.

“I was trying to hold back the tears a little bit,” said Elko. “This place has been so special to me for five years… all those emotions ran into that one moment.”

Elko and Cioffi, the only two seniors recruited by Ole Miss out of high school, experienced a tumultuous five seasons in Oxford that included an SEC tournament championship, two trips to the Super Regionals and an historic season cut short by a global pandemic.

“I’m just so thankful for everything I’ve been able to feel here in Oxford—to play in the best college atmosphere in baseball, to have such amazing teammates and coaches—I’m just grateful that I’ve been so blessed,” Elko said.

Fellow seniors Justin Bench, Kevin Graham, Brandon Johnson and Garrett Wood all have another year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but none have stated their intentions to return to school yet.