HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - With a Conference-USA-leading 60 RBIs and nation-leading 82 hits, it's tough to say anything negative about Southern Miss senior Dylan Burdeaux.
"[Burdeaux]'s been the guy that everyone's kind of relied on," said Southern Miss junior pitcher Kirk McCarty.
"I don't know why we're nervous when [Burdueax]'s up there in that situation," said Southern Miss freshman Matt Wallner in reference to Burdeaux's walk-off single in USM's 5-4 win over FAU on Sunday.
"I couldn't be more proud of a young man that's come through our program than Dylan [Burdeaux]," said Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry.
Burdeaux's leadership this season extends beyond the base paths of Hill Denson field. Therefore, when asked to shift positions from the outfield to first base in 2017, Burdeaux didn't hesitate.
"I've been here the longest out of anybody," Burdeaux said. "So I feel like it was kind of on my shoulders to get this group to where last year's group was. We had a great team chemistry last year."
"[Burdeaux]'s played outstanding defense," Berry said. "Obviously, what we see a lot of times is what he does offensively. But it's the things that are behind the scenes, the things in the clubhouse, the way that he leads this team in the dugout."
Burdeaux's 18-game hitting streak earlier this season has helped him reach sixth all-time in USM hits with 278. It's hard to believe the West Monroe, Louisiana native almost traded Southern Miss baseball for TCU football.
"Honestly, sending that letter of intent over to [hitting coach Chad] Caillet," Burdeaux said. "Me and my dad sat down and talked about it. If I sent it, then my football career was over. Once I came on a visit here and saw the coaching staff and just saw the culture of this place, I never really wanted to anywhere else."
With his mind made up on college baseball, Burdeaux had the chance to play in Pete Taylor Park before he was even an official Golden Eagle. In 2013, West Monroe played a high school baseball game against Oak Grove. It marked a match-up between Burdeaux and future Southern Miss teammates Taylor Braley, Matthew Guidry, J.C. Keys and McCarty.
"Ask Kirk McCarty about it," Burdeaux quipped. "He'll remember."
"Dylan was 2-2 against me with a double off the wall," McCarty recalled. "That hurt to say that."
Oak Grove would win the "friendly" contest 4-3 with a walk-off home run from Braley. Now Braley and Burdeaux are smashing homers together at USM - eleven and nine in 2017, respectively.
"Now I love [Burdeaux] because he hits other people off the wall," McCarty said. "When you know you got a guy like Dylan in the lineup and in the field too, you have someone who everyone can feed off of and everyone can rely to come in. He's going to show up every day."
The days for Dylan Burdeaux in a Southern Miss uniform are limited. As the Eagles host their last home series against UAB this weekend, Burdeaux begins to look back at his many games inside Pete Taylor Park.
"Hopefully we get that regional host if we finish out strong and get another weekend here," Burdeaux said. "Definitely going to miss this place. Been here for four years now. It's a treat just to play in front of these fans every single night."