Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rick Cleveland: Burdeaux might be best Golden Eagle on the diamond.

Where to even start with Dylan Burdeaux, who does so much for – at least record-wise – the best team in Southern Miss baseball history?

Credit: Sun-Herald


Here's as good a place as any: Entering the last week of his last regular season as a Golden Eagle, Burdeaux leads the nation in hits with 86.

Batting leadoff, Burdeaux, a senior from West Monroe, La., also leads the 40-12 Eagles in runs batted in with 60. And you tell me: When is the last time you ever remember the leadoff hitter leading his team in RBI?

Burdeaux also leads Conference USA in runs batted in, is second in the league in doubles with 19, is second in stolen bases with 15, and is tied for third in runs scored with 54.

His head coach, Scott Berry, says Burdeaux also leads the USM in leadership.

“He is the guy all of the rest of them listen to,” Berry said. “Dylan has earned everybody's respect by the way he handles himself. He appreciates the little things that help you win baseball games. You watch what happens when one of his teammates lays down a sacrifice bunt. He'll be the first one out of the dugout to congratulate them every time. He brings that kind of attitude every day, to practice and games.”

Burdeaux is the only senior who is an everyday starter at USM, and he has been one for four years now. But he almost did not come to USM at all.

Burdeaux was a highly recruited linebacker at football powerhouse West Monroe High. TCU, which was competing for national championships, recruited him hardest.

“We had kind of a pipeline going from our high school to TCU,” Burdeaux said. “I really thought about it, thought at one time I was gonna do it.”

His visit to Southern Miss – for baseball, not football – changed things. He says he loved the place, coaches, the family atmosphere and how the fans related to the players.

“The fans here at The Pete hang on every pitch. To me, that's what baseball is all about,” Burdeaux said. “I decided to go the baseball route, and I'm glad I did.”

Football?

“I missed it at first,” he said. “I still think about it. (USM quarterback) Nick Mullens is a good friend. We came here together. He talked to me about coming out. The coaches talked to me some. In the end, I just decided baseball was the best route for me and I stuck with it.”

A third baseman in high school, Burdeaux moved to the outfield as a USM freshman. He hit .266 as a freshman, .283 as a sophomore and then .335 as a junior when he made all-conference and led the team in hits, runs, total bases and home runs.

Burdeaux has made the adjustment to first baseman as a senior while hitting .352 with an on base percentage of .417.

“I can't tell you how many runs Dylan has saved us with his defense at first base,” Berry said. “There ought to be a stat kept of how many runs a first baseman saves by picking the ball out of the dirt. I'd bet Dylan leads the nation. It looks like he has been at first base all his life.”

Burdeaux has endeared himself to Southern Miss fans, as was in evidence Sunday in the final regular season home game against UAB.

With the Golden Eagles holding a safe lead, 8-0, in the top of the ninth inning, Berry called timeout, stopping the game. Just when everyone was trying to figure out why, Berry sent in a substitute for Burdeaux, who trotted off the field where he was mobbed by teammates. He received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd, a fitting tribute to surely one of the most productive baseball players in USM history.

•••

Rick Cleveland (rcleveland@mississippitoday.org) is a Jackson-based syndicated columnist.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The powers that be can't afford to let a USM player win anything.

Anonymous said...

tru that

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


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Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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