STILLWATER — Randy McCurry offers a smirky little grin while shaking his head, revealing just enough about his relationship with brother and teammate Brendan McCurry.
“Sometimes he's too much,” Randy said of his little brother. “Sometimes you've got to take him with a grain of salt and go on.
“I'm with him every day. I live with him. He tends to be too much sometimes.”
“A little turd,” Randy said, “not really listening to anything anybody says.”
Still, the McCurry boys are living their dream, playing together probably for the last time as Oklahoma State braces for the stretch run of this baseball season. And not just playing together, but playmaking together, each filling vital roles in a so-far solid season for the Cowboys entering this weekend's Bedlam series against Oklahoma.
Randy is the club's starting shortstop, doubling as a reliable swing man on the pitching staff. Brendan carries OSU's closer tag and offers middle infield depth.
“Randy and Brendan have been big pieces of our team,” said Cowboys coach Josh Holliday. “They've held down some of the most important, key roles that a ballclub has. A closer is critical to your success. And the shortstop is the glue to your defense.
“They're fun kids. They enjoy the game. They enjoy each other. They've got good personalities. They've done awfully well for us. We certainly wouldn't be where we are without them.”
What an unlikely family reunion for the boys from the tiny town of Tupelo in southern Oklahoma, considering it took Randy's bad luck as a sophomore, an arm injury at USC in the season opener — resulting in a redshirt year extending his career — to create this good fortune of sharing one more season.
A fifth-year senior, the rarest of players in college baseball, Randy's career sidetracked somewhat that night in Los Angeles, when he blew out his pitching elbow throwing warm-up tosses as he prepared to close against USC. Tommy John surgery was required, ending his season before it started.
It was a brutal blow at the time for Randy, who had tied the school record with 10 saves as a freshman. Yet his sticking around and sticking it out allowed Brendan the opportunity to reunite with big brother.
Two years younger than big brother, Brendan's college career started at Howard Junior College, initially putting his arrival at OSU on the heels of Randy's departure.
“I always looked forward to playing with him again,” Brendan said. “After high school, to be honest, I didn't think I'd get the chance, since I had to go to Juco.
“But him having Tommy John made it possible for me to come back and play with him one more season. It's been a lot of fun.”
Long-awaited fun for Randy, who came to OSU as the “next” Jordy Mercer, a combination shortstop/pitcher who clubbed 105 home runs during his prep career. Then the injury marginalized his impact, moving him out of the picture at shortstop — until Holliday and his new staff arrived.
“There was a point there where I had pretty much given up on playing a position,” Randy said. “But these guys came in here and now I'm doing it.”
He's locked down the spot, while hitting .310 with 15 doubles and 28 runs batted in. On the mound, Randy is 2-1 with a save and a 2.16 earned-run average in 16 2/3 innings.
Brendan leads the Cowboys with six saves and carries a 6-2 record with a 1.26 ERA. And he's started games at second base for an OSU team that stands 34-12 overall and is very much in the NCAA postseason picture.
“One game Brendan's coming into close from second base,” Holliday said. “And another Randy's coming in from shortstop. It's like an American Legion game.”
For the McCurrys, that's a good thing, with the throwback to sharing a field in summer-ball leagues past finally fulfilling their college goals.
Together again, they're making memories. And making the Cowboys better.
“I would think anytime you can play with your brother in college, and you both fill significant roles and have a great contribution to your team, that has to be a lot of fun,” Holliday said.
“They seem to really enjoy each other's company and give each other a hard time from moment to moment. When you come out on our field, you see those two playing catch in the outfield together as catch partners. That's pretty cool.
“I think the whole deal is a pretty good story for them.”