It is easy to be the best team when no one sees you coming. It gets more difficult when you are getting every team’s best shot night in and night out.
“We really talk about playing the game, not playing the opponent or worried if they’re trying to come after us,” said Head Coach Scott Berry. “If you’re a good program or anything that’s good, people want a piece of you. That doesn’t keep you from doing what you do and how you prepare and how you play.”
The Golden Eagle baseball team is off to their hottest start since 2011 with a 21-5 record, winning 14 out of their last 16 games en route to becoming the No. 23 ranked team in the nation. The key to their success may be the 8.1 runs per game, but it may be because of the team converting their midweek chances.
“After all, I think it’s going to come down to hitting in midweeks for most of the teams,” said second baseman Storme Cooper. “We’ve got to hit. Our lineup has to stay hitting — playing all-around good baseball.”
The Golden Eagles are 7-1 in midweek games with their only loss coming against an Alabama squad in mid-February. After that contest, Southern Miss is on a seven-game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 51-to-20.
Although all of these games have not been blowouts, Southern Miss is not taking those midweek tilts lightly.
“They let you know how good your team is and how focused you are during the midweek games,” said shortstop LeeMarcus Boyd. “On the weekends, we’ll know how to go out and approach it.”
Berry also knows that since his team is on such a streak in the midweek and in the most important games, the team’s resume is growing by the night. At No. 23 after their contest against New Orleans, Southern Miss may be putting quite the bullseye on it’s back.
But, Berry is not afraid of the pressure.
“Only thing I look at on the schedule is what the next game is and I want our team to concentrate on that as well,” Berry said. “We don’t want to try and get too hard ahead of ourselves. Tonight was the most important game on that schedule.”
A mid-major, Southern Miss may often get the label of “giant killer” or not being able to get over a certain hump due to a lack of top-level talent. But, their record says otherwise. Twenty-one wins including wins over South Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State and UL Lafayette, this team will have to be taken seriously moving forward.
“It’s the leadership in that locker room,” Berry said. “A lot of our older guys are keeping everybody in place and keeping everybody humble. Just working hard for getting those wins.”
The team will head to Western Kentucky to face on the Hilltoppers, who currently sit with a 9-17 record. Berry believes that if his team just sticks to the plan, they will have no problem getting the job done.
“Defense, number one,” Berry said. “Just maintaining what we’ve been doing. Being able to play sound defense. Getting those timely hits. Just continuing that chemistry that we have in the dugout, on the field, in the locker room and everywhere we go as a group.”
The WKU series starts on Mar. 31 at Nick Denes Field. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.