Headed To Ole Miss

Zach Kirksey is a power-hitting outfielder, with his sights set on becoming another in a long line of successful players who fit that mold at Ole Miss.

Kirksey is wrapping up a two-year junior college stint at LSU-Eunice and will bring his services to Oxford in the fall. He's looking forward to the opportunity he will have.

"I'm super excited," said the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder who hits left and throws right. "I can't wait."

Kirksey visited Ole Miss Sunday for the Arkansas finale. Playing in the Southeastern Conference is something Kirksey has always wanted.

"I had some offers out of high school, but none of them were SEC," said the West Monroe, La., native. "I could have played somewhere like ULM (Louisiana-Monroe) or Louisiana Tech. But I decided to go the juco route."

In hopes of an offer like an SEC school being the reason for heading to junior college. Now it has apparently worked out for him.

"I had some options, but Ole Miss was the top one," Kirksey said. "Houston, UAB, UT-Arlington, ULM all offered, along with others. But it was an easy choice to make."

Kirksey batted .380 as a freshman and led the LSU-Eunice Bengals in home runs with 10. He had 66 RBI and set a new school record for triples with nine. This year he battled a pinch nerve in his back for a time and missed a few games, as well as losing 12 pounds with a bout of food poisoning. His numbers reflect those incidences a bit with his average at .322 currently and with eight round-trippers. He has 30 stolen bases this season and is a threat on the bases at all times.

"I'm definitely a power hitter, and I hit for average," said Kirksey, drafted last year in the 41st round by the Blue Jays. "I'm going to get my hacks in, and I'm not a slap hitter. You can always be a better hitter, though, and I'm working hard to become even better."

His speed is also one of his strengths, obviously with the amount of stolen bases proving that.

"I was a third baseman in high school until my senior year when I played first base," said the versatile Kirksey. "When I got here (to LSU-Eunice, they clocked me at 6.5 or 6.6 in the 60, and they said ‘Now you're an outfielder.' They saw I could run well."

He wants to improve that, too.

"I'm really working now and this summer on my speed training," the 21-year-old said. "I want to be a better outfielder and work on getting even better jumps on the ball. But I want to work on every aspect of my game."

He's helping LSU-Eunice to a successful season again this spring. The Bengals, 51-12 last spring, are 43-11 this year and will play next week in the Division II Junior College Regionals in Hattiesburg.

Likely to get drafted again in June, Kirksey said he's told pro scouts he wants to continue to play college baseball. He plans to play some Legion baseball this summer before arriving at Ole Miss, not necessarily playing a ton of games with any particular team.

"I played the two previous summers, and in the fall (at LSU-Eunice) we play 40-game seasons. So I've had no more than like a week and a half off from playing games since I was in high school," he said. "I think it will help me in the long run to do that."

Kirksey has one main goal in mind for next season in Division I.

"I want to come up there and be one of the three outfielders next year for an SEC team," he said. "I'm ready to play for Ole Miss."

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