HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The numbers don't lie for Southern Miss baseball. The Golden Eagles set the program record for regular season wins and dominated the Conference USA awards announced Tuesday.
But for a team with dreams of the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, what does it all mean?
"I mean we haven't really proved anything yet in the postseason," USM junior INF/P Taylor Braley said. "So if feel like once we prove ourselves in the postseason, go to Omaha and do what we can do there then we might can say that we were something special."
The proving ground starts at MGM Park in Biloxi. There the Golden Eagles will open C-USA tournament play Wednesday against Texas San Antonio, a team they just dominated last weekend.
"You know they always say it's hard to beat a team a couple times in a row," senior INF/OF Dylan Burdeaux said. "It's definitely hard to beat them four times in a row. I don't who we're going to see but they're not a bad club. They're in the conference tournament for a reason. They made the tournament."
The USM players are keeping calm but make no mistake, those on the outside are banking on not only a tournament title but the chance to host an NCAA regional.
"We just don't talk that much about it," Burdeaux said. "Its every single day is a different mindset and facing that opponent. We got UTSA and that's what everybody is focused on. We aren't focused on later in the tournament, who we may have to face the second day or the third day. It's all in the present."
Braley said the team can't get caught up in the hype.
"We just gotta stay humble about it, keep a level head and just keep playing, keep playing our game and not live up to all the hype about how we're playing the best baseball, we're the best team," Braley said. "I mean we can't just go out there and give a game away. I mean we obviously gotta keep playing hard and playing with each other."
This current crop of Eagles are well aware of the 2009 team that some look to as the standard. But before they think about Omaha, there is business to be handled in Biloxi.
"You know they made it to Omaha," junior pitcher Kirk McCarty said of that '09 team. "They've gone further than any team in Southern Miss history. So we know we've got an opportunity to do that. Right now we're looking forward to the conference tournament and then from then we get to really make a run in the post..post season."