BILOXI, Miss. (WDAM) - Every year at the Conference USA tournament, Southern Miss fans turn MGM Park into Pete Taylor Park as they cheer on the Black and Gold.
Whether it be in the piney woods of Hattiesburg or on the sandy beaches of Biloxi, there is one cry that echoes louder than the others - “Throw it in the dirt!"
Yes, that shriek might sound painful on the vocal cords, but Brad Baggett has just the drink to remedy any sore throat.
“Maybe a few beers involved from time to time," Baggett said.
A Petal native and Southern Miss grad, Baggett started this chant in USM’s season-opener against Purdue.
“I think we were losing 6-4 and one of my buddies, long-time friend came to me and said, ‘If you don’t get out there and rally up this crowd we’re not inviting you back to the suite,’" Baggett said. "So, jokingly, I go out and I’m like what am I gonna do? I just kind of look and I go, ‘Throw it in the dirt!’ And the whole crowd, it was like they were waiting for it, goes, ‘Dirt!’ As you know baseball’s a game of momentum. The timing has to be right.”
Baggett’s found his timing at the C-USA tournament. He and his band of “dirtbags” have helped USM to two wins.
“It works what [Baggett] says," said friend and fellow Southern Miss fan Billy McWilliams. "Of course, everybody else in the ballpark gets involved as well.. When they yell dirt it’s just kind of unnerving.”
“Very loyal fan he is," said USM senior first baseman Hunter Slater. "You can’t miss him. When he gets to hollering and screaming, the whole stadium buys in and it’s awesome.”
“Love the energy he’s bringing for sure because we like feeding off of our crowd," said USM junior second baseman Matt Guidry. "Definitely fun to hear that guy try to get the crowd going and hopefully we can respond for him.”
With their eyes on a fourth straight NCAA Regional berth, the Golden Eagles need all the backing they can get this weekend.
Baggett will need to rest up his larynx so USM’s opponents can, well, throw it in the dirt.“
Oh he’s got a lot more than that in him," McWilliams said. "We have him tempered, we keep him under control.”
“I’ve gained a large baseball family so together we just cheer for our Eagles and hopefully we can take them to the top," Baggett said.