Yogi Gunther to bring baseball skills to UM

Even though he grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Yogi Gunther knows a lot about Ole Miss.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound infielder hasn't spent a ton of time in Oxford, but he knows a lot of people who have – namely his older brother, Barry, and his parents, Casey and Kathy. And he likes what he's heard.

Of course with Barry playing four years for the Rebels from 2002-05, Yogi made a few visits to Ole Miss over the years. But most of the time during that era, Yogi was working on his own baseball skills, trying to become a college baseball player himself.

Since their baseball seasons were at the same time of year obviously, Yogi saw a limited number of games when his brother played at UM. This past December as a senior at Westminster Academy, Yogi came to Ole Miss for a holiday camp. In April, he committed to the Rebels and signed up to play college baseball for the next few seasons here.

"I'm really looking forward to playing there," said Yogi, who is at home in Ft. Lauderdale this summer playing some tournaments with different teams in his area, obviously a hotbed of baseball where so many talented players have come from. "It will be fun to compete in the best college baseball conference in the country."

Yogi wrapped up being just a fan of Ole Miss baseball prior to his playing days by attending the recent Super Regional in Tempe, Ariz. It just so happened that Barry was in the Phoenix area rehabbing a broken finger. So they got together and sat in the stands for the games vs. ASU.

"That was fun," Yogi said. "He was rehabbing for four or five weeks, so I was able to go out there for the Super Regional."

Barry, who plays in the Giants organization, will likely head back to San Jose to rejoin his team soon. Yogi will head to Oxford in mid-August for orientation and to begin college. He says Barry's influence on him has been quite strong.

"Him playing at Ole Miss and me getting a chance to see the school all that time was important," he said. "Even though I only got up there for three or four games, it was where I wanted to go."

Yogi brings with him a lot of accolades and statistics to Oxford. As a senior this past season, he batted .520 with 38 RBI and six home runs, scoring 36 runs and having an on-base percentage of .680. He stole 12 bases.

He is mainly a second or third baseman and played second for his team this season. He says he's probably known more for his hitting than anything.

"I started in the four-hole but got pitched around a lot. So my coach moved me to the two hole," he said. "I feel I can hit the ball well to all parts (of the field), and I can get it out of the park. I'm more of a gap to gap guy, and I feel I can hit all pitches."

Yogi was selected as the Broward County Player of the Year in that baseball-rich area, along with being a first-team All-County selection. He was a first-team All-State pick and a second-team Louisville Slugger All-American. He was named to the All-Tournament team for the Sarasota tournament, which Yogi described as one of the biggest and best tournaments in the state for high school teams.

In that Sarasota tourney, he had home runs in back to back games, was 7-for-11 in three games with two doubles and three singles in addition to the two round-trippers. He also closed two games on the mound but doesn't think Ole Miss has plans for him in that particular role.

Yogi says he's looking forward to his arrival in the former home of his brother Barry, who as a catcher helped lead Ole Miss to three Regionals (2003, '04, '05) and its first Super Regional (2005).

"I'm playing in some tournaments here this summer and also training to get in even better shape," Yogi said. "I'm excited about playing baseball at Ole Miss."

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