A pair of Ole Miss baseball players – Jacob Gonzalez and Tim Elko – received Preseason All-American Third Team nods on Wednesday by Perfect Game.
This is the second preseason All-American recognition of the season for Gonzalez, who was also tabbed to the Third Team by Collegiate Baseball in December. For Elko, the laurel is the first preseason All-America selection of 2022. The Rebel captain was also named a Preseason All-American by the NCBWA in 2021.
Ole Miss’ leader in batting average (.355), runs scored (73) and hits (93) in 2021, Gonzalez joined Stephen Head as just the second player in program history to be named an all-American as a freshman, earning the distinction from both the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and D1Baseball.
Starting every game at shortstop for the Rebels, the California native quickly joined a list of budding stars at the position for Ole Miss in recent years. Gonzalez set single-season freshman school records in games played (67), runs scored, RBI (55), total bases (147), and walks (38). Ranking fifth and sixth in the nation, respectively, in runs scored and hits, Gonzalez was college baseball’s leader in both categories among true freshmen.
Meanwhile, Elko is coming off a season during which he rose to the forefront of the college baseball landscape due to his accomplishments in the face of extreme adversity. Elko earned ABCA All-Region honors despite missing a month of action and playing the back half of the season with one functioning ACL. Prior to the injury, the Lutz, Florida, native hit nine home runs and led the SEC with 36 RBIs, putting him on pace for a Golden Spikes-caliber season.
After his return to the lineup, Elko clubbed seven home runs with one intact ACL, including two grand slams and two multi-homer games while filling the designated hitter role. 2021 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year closed the season with a .325 batting average, a team-high 16 home runs and 55 RBIs. By way of both offensive production and inspirational leadership, Elko helped lead the Rebels all the way to the NCAA Tucson Super Regional.