HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Brant Blaylock is the newest newcomer to Southern Miss baseball.
When one talks about first impressions, Blaylock has it figured out. In his first at-bat as a Golden Eagle, he homered on a full count with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning – helping USM pull out its season-opener in extra innings.
"Finally getting a chance to put on the uniform – black and gold – and perform well in front of all the fans is really great and I really enjoyed it," Blaylock said.”
"When we give people an opportunity in our program, I think they understand that they're getting an opportunity and they need to make the most of it,” said USM head coach Scott Berry. “His role right out the gate was being ready to come in late in the game and that's what he did."
While he’s new to Pete Taylor Park, Blaylock is an experienced ball player. As a redshirt freshman at Mississippi State, he batted .193 with a ten RBIs in 35 games.
Blaylock needed a change.
The Desoto Central product transferred to Northwest Mississippi Community College in 2018 where he hit .385, led the team in hits (60), runs (52), RBIs (62) and set a school-record with 18 home runs.
"[It was] a chance for me to dig deep and figure out what I needed to do, and rebuild some confidence that maybe I lost my first year of playing college baseball,” Blaylock said. “And getting the chance to play [at Pete Taylor Park] in the regional in 2017 and seeing that atmosphere first-hand, I knew this was a place I wanted to be and wanted to come."
Blaylock’s new teammates are glad he chose the black and gold.
Not only does he provide power at the plate, but the right-hander hopes to help USM’s pitching staff as well this season.
"We're glad he's here,” said USM senior left-hander Stevie Powers. “He's a huge aspect to our team, both on the mound and at the plate. He was a huge spark for us this past weekend."
"Tremendous competitor, fine individual, high-character person,” Berry said. “And somebody that we're very fortunate to have on our team. He likes to win, hates to lose."
USM would like to continue winning in Starkville this weekend. As he makes a return to Mississippi State, Blaylock is glad to be doing so as a Golden Eagle.
“I’m really excited about it, I know that,” Blaylock said. “Really looking forward to it. They’re a good club obviously, but at the same time, we’re a very mature team. A lot of returning guys from last year. As long as we go up there and play how we’ve been playing and know what we can do and know what we’re capable of, I don’t think it’ll be an issue.”