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Feb. 13, 2003

Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina baseball team (2-1) heads to Charleston, S.C this weekend for the ESPN Radio 1340 Shootout. This weekend’s tournament is hosted by The Citadel and will take place at Riley Park. South Carolina is set to face James Madison on Friday at 1:30 p.m., Old Dominion on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and will close the weekend out with a 5 p.m. game on Sunday vs. The Citadel. Also participating this weekend are SEC rivals Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

“The ESPN Radio 1340 Shootout is like a regional tournament,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “I know it is only February but four or five of the participants are viable teams for the postseason. Coach Fred Jordan does a great job with this event and we’re glad to be involved.”

South Carolina won its opening series last weekend, taking two of three games from Charleston Southern at Sarge Frye Field. Among the highlights from the action last week included senior 3B Brian Buscher batting .500 (7-for-14, one HR) and freshman OF Michael Campbell hitting a home run in his first at-bat as a Gamecock. Junior LHP David Marchbanks won the rubber match of the series on Sunday, throwing seven and one third innings allowing just two runs on five hits. Sophomore RHP Aaron Rawl also picked up a win last weekend, pitching three innings of one-hit ball and striking out five batters.

The pitching matchups for this weekend are as follows:
South Carolina: Sr. LHP Steven Bondurant (0-0, 15.75 ERA)
James Madison: Sr. RHP Chris Cochran (7-1, 3.84 ERA; 2002)

South Carolina: Jr. LHP David Marchbanks (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
Old Dominion: So. RHP Justin Verlander (7-6, 1.90 ERA)

South Carolina: TBA
The Citadel: Fr. LHP Ryan Owens

South Carolina returns home next weekend to host Duquesne at Sarge Frye Field.

Gamecock Baseball Notebook

Shootout – South Carolina returns to Charleston for the February shootout hosted by The Citadel after a one year absence. The Gamecocks went instead to Myrtle Beach last year for a shootout hosted by Coastal Carolina. South Carolina competed in the shootout at Charleston five consecutive years, 1997-2001.

The James Madison Series – The rivalry between South Carolina and James Madison dates back to 1974 and the Gamecocks hold a 7-1 lead in the series. James Madison’s only win over South Carolina was a 9-4 decision in the 1983 NCAA East Regional Tournament at Chapel Hill, N.C. The last meetings were two 1993 games played in Columbia.

The Old Dominion Series – The South Carolina-Old Dominion series began with two Gamecock victories in 1973 and South Carolina leads the series 17-4. The last meeting was a 16-3 Gamecock victory in the 2001shootout at Charleston. The last four meetings have been in Charleston. Old Dominion won the 1999 game 2-1.

The Citadel Series – The series between South Carolina and The Citadel began more than a century ago, in 1900, and is among the oldest rivalries in Gamecock baseball history. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs will meet for the 150th time Sunday with South Carolina holding a 106-42-1 lead in the series. Carolina and The Citadel will meet a second time this season, May 14 in Columbia.

Tanner – Ray Tanner is in his seventh season at South Carolina and his 16th as a collegiate head coach. His record with the Gamecocks is 276-114, a winning percentage of .708. Overall, Tanner’s record is 671-287-3, a winning percentage of .700. In nine seasons at N. C. State his record was 395-173-4.

What’s Next – South Carolina returns home for a three game series with Duquesne next weekend. Game times are 3 p.m., Friday and 1:30 on Saturday and Sunday. The Gamecocks play at Clemson March 1 and Clemson comes to Sarge Frye Field on March 2 to begin an 11 game home stand for South Carolina. That stretch includes single games with Gardner Webb, Furman, Western Carolina and Wofford, a three game non-conference series with Radford, and a three game series with Arkansas to begin Southeastern Conference competition.

Mr. Versatility – An Ankle injury kept Kevin Melillo, South Carolina’s most versatile player, out of the starting lineup for the first two games of the Charleston Southern series but the Buccaneers couldn’t get the sophomore from Longwood, Fla., out when he did get a chance to play. Melillo had a pinch hit ninth inning single in the second game of the series. He started at first base in the Sunday game and contributed two doubles and two bases on balls in four plate appearances, keeping his on base percentage perfect in 2003. He scored four runs Sunday. Melillo can play all four infield positions plus the outfield.

Super Scholar – Steven Bondurant, South Carolina’s 2003 opening day starting pitcher, is also the top scholar on the Gamecock baseball squad. Bondurant graduated Magna Cum Laude last May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing. He is currently in graduate school pursuing a master’s degree in Human Relations.

Team USA – Coach Ray Tanner, a veteran of summer participation with Team USA, will serve as head coach of the USA Baseball National Team that will compete in the 2003 Pan American games. Tanner has worked as an assistant coach with four previous USA national teams including teams that represented the USA in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic games. The 2000 team won a gold medal in the Sydney, Australia Olympics. The 2003 Team USA will play approximately 25 games throughout the United States before competing in the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic. The schedule includes a five game series with the Japanese Collegiate All-Stars. Tanner’s assistant coaches will be Dick Cooke of Davidson, Mark Scalf of North Carolina-Wilmington and Dave Weathers of Long Beach State.

Hot Stove – Coach Tanner received the Will Wynne Award Jan. 28 at the 53rd Annual Baseball Banquet of the Raleigh Hot Stove League. The award goes to the North Carolinian who has contributed the most or had the biggest impact on baseball during the previous year. A native of Johnson County, N. C.,, and a graduate or North Carolina State University, Tanner guided South Carolina to the championship game of the 2002 College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Tanner won the Wynne Award for the second time. Ten years earlier, 1992, he won while coaching at N. C. State.

Season Tickets – Season ticket orders for the 2003 South Carolina home schedule passed the 2500 mark earlier this month. The record number of season tickets sold for the 34 Gamecock home games is about 500 ahead of total season tickets sold last year when Carolina’s regular season home record was 27-7. The Gamecocks were also 5-2 in the post season – winning regional and super region titles at Sarge Frye Field – en-route to a 57-18 final record. Total 2002 attendance for 41 games at the Sarge was 151,521, an average of 3,695 per game.

Attendance – Despite colder than normal weather the three game series with Charleston Southern last weekend drew 7,792 fans to Sarge Frye Field. The Friday game drew 1,182. The Saturday crowd totaled 3,225 and 3,385 turned out on Sunday. Average attendance for the first weekend series of the season was 2,597.

Home Grown – Half the players on South Carolina’s 2003 baseball roster are from the Palmetto State. Of the 36 players on the opening day roster 18 list hometowns in South Carolina. Seven Gamecocks hail from Florida, four from North Carolina, two each from California and Tennessee, and one each from Georgia, Virginia and New York. .

Prospects – Two University of South Carolina juniors are listed among the top 100 college class for the June 2003 major league draft. Catcher Landon Powell, a pre-season All-America, is listed as the seventh best prospect among the top 100. Junior left-handed pitcher David Marchbanks is 91st on the list compiled by Baseball America. The Baseball America listing of the top 100 high school prospects for the 2003 draft includes three players signed by South Carolina in the fall period. Right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley of Defiance, Ohio is listed as the eighth best pro prospect from high school. Shortstop David Cash of Odessa, Fla., is 81st and left-handed pitcher Darin Downs of Boynton Beach, Fla., is 85th.

Projections – Baseball America projects Chad Billingsley and Landon Powell as first round picks in the 2003 June draft. The baseball magazine published in Durham, N. C., lists its top 25 prospects for the draft. Billingsley 16th and Powell 17th on the list.