HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following words from Southern Miss junior pitcher Kirk McCarty are filled with sarcasm and, if you ask the Golden Eagles, truth.
"I mean it's just kind of absurd," McCarty said. "We're weird fellas,"
When it comes to the components that make up the national ranked Southern Miss baseball squad, skill and goofiness are at the top of the list.
"Well he's really weird so obviously he's going to say that," senior infielder Dylan Burdeaux said. "But this group has a ton of fun together. There is a bunch of weird dudes on this team but we all love each other. We all get along together great and I think that's all part of our success. We've all got each other's backs no matter what."
Goofiness and weirdness aside, these Golden Eagles are serious about their work on the diamond. Proof is in a record setting regular season.
"Pitching staff, hitting staff, it's all one collective group," Burdeaux said. "We aren't divided at all. If we aren't scoring they're doing their best to not let them score. If we're scoring 12, if we have to score 12 to win a game we do it and we don't complain about it. I think that's brought us a lot of success and this chemistry is definitely a big thing for us."
We've seen the skill and clutch performances throughout the regular season. Many talented teams have faltered due to a lack chemistry, however. This isn't an issue for USM.
"We obviously all come together well and put it together and (are) working together," junior infielder/pitcher Taylor Braley said. "Which means having good chemistry. It's not just on the field but it's off the field. When we leave here we're always going to hang out with each other somewhere and not just all going our separate ways. It's obviously been pretty good."
As the Golden Eagles get set for regional play at Pete Taylor Park this weekend, they hope to show the hometown crowd how far a little goofiness can take you. They hope it leads to the World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
"That's a big key to success," McCarty said. "You gotta be talented but you also gotta really care about the next guy because at the end of the day you can't do anything by yourself on the baseball field. Literally nothing. You've got to put the ball in play to throw it to a catcher. Somebody's gotta field, somebody's gotta throw it so I mean when you have guys that care about each other off the field as much as they do on the field, it's a good feeling. It's a good environment to play in."