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Baseball Alums Enjoy Opening Night of Minor League Baseball

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – After being shut down for a year due to the pandemic, Minor League Baseball returned Tuesday night around the country and some former Southern Miss baseball players enjoyed successful 2021 debuts.

Both Kirk McCarty and J.C. Keys, graduates of Oak Grove High School as well, collected wins on the mound in their first outings of the year.

McCarty, who had been at the alternate site for Cleveland over the last month, was the opening day starter for the Columbus Clippers, an Indians Triple-A affiliate, and produced five strong innings.

The left-handed pitcher allowed two runs, on two hits, with two walks and three strikeouts to register a 6-3 win over Louisville.

Keys, appearing in relief for the High-A Dayton Dragons, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, gave up a hit and walked two while not allowing a run over 2 1/3 innings to register the victory in a 9-4 win over the Great Lakes Loons.

In other High-A action, Matt Wallner doubled in his first at bat of the season and finished 1-for-5 for the Kernels, an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, who defeated the Peoria Chiefs 7-0.

One other former Golden Eagle, Cody Carroll, who has pitched in part of two seasons MLB seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, pitched the last inning for Norfolk, their Triple-A affiliate.

Former catcher Chuckie Robinson is currently in Double-A Chattanooga in the Cincinnati organization, while Bradley Roney is a member of the New York Mets, but is unassigned to a club right now.

Southern Miss currently has one former player who is currently in Major League Baseball and that is 2018 Perfect Game National Pitcher of the Year, Nick Sandlin.

Sandlin, the 19th Golden Eagle to reach the major leagues, threw a clean inning in his debut last Saturday against the Chicago White Sox and then retired all four batters he faced Tuesday night at Kansas City.

Here is a complete listing of former Golden Eagles in professional baseball:

Player   Team  Level Organization
Nick Sandlin Cleveland Indians MLB
Cody Carroll Norfolk Tides Triple-A Baltimore Orioles
J.C. Keys Dayton Dragons High-A Cincinnati Reds
Kirk McCarty Columbus Clippers Triple-A Cleveland Indians
Chuckie Robinson Chattanooga Lookouts Double-A Cincinnati Reds
Bradley Roney  Unassigned New York Mets
Matt Wallner Cedar Rapids Kernels High-A Minnesota Twins