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Jan. 22, 2004

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina Baseball opened up practice for the 2004 season on Thursday afternoon at Sarge Frye Field. The Gamecocks will begin the season on Friday, Feb. 13 at 3 p.m. vs. Charleston Southern at Sarge Frye Field. Carolina will also host the first annual Baseball Bash on Saturday, Jan. 31. Listed below are quotes from the first day of practice for the Gamecocks.

“I am excited to be back at work. We are glad to be back here and are looking forward to our season opener. Our expectations always remain the same; we always want to be a team playing at the end of the year. Then it comes to that point down to which teams around the country play the best at the right time to have a chance to survive and advance.”

“We have had a pretty good run here, the players, enthusiasm, excitement, and support from our fans. We are trying to continue our success. We have a group of veteran players back and it is their responsibility to lead the way for us and hopefully we can put a pretty good club on the field. “

(on newcomers) “They will have to have an impact, because we did lose some guys and we will have to plug some holes. The recruiting class being ranked this high doesn’t mean a whole lot. It comes down to how well they play when the bell rings and it’s going to be ringing in a few weeks. I think they are extremely capable but it will come down to how we play.”

(on going back to Omaha) “I think it is a possibility but number one, you start with the SEC. It is the best conference in the country and some publications this year have stated that it is the deepest conference in the country. It is hard to survive in your league, but if you can make it out of your league and get to the post-season you have been battle tested and you are going to have a chance. To say that we’ll get back is a strong statement. Are we good enough? I think we are if we stay healthy but once again, you have to play some good baseball down the stretch and get hot at the right time. Only eight teams get to go.”

(on Landon Powell) “It has really been incredible. I never thought the weight was a factor with him. He played good, he was durable, never missed answering the bell for us. You know he was a little heavy but he has lost all that weight and when we do our conditioning now, he is one of our top three runners we have. It is incredible, but he feels great, he is having a lot of fun, and for a young man who might have had the expectations of being a high pick, it hasn’t affected him at all. He hasn’t shown any disgruntlement or disappointment. He is just excited to be playing his senior year and I know he would certainly like to make a return trip to Omaha having been here and a chance to go his sophomore, junior, and senior year.”

(on veteran players) “I tell the players all the time, the older guys, “This is your program, it’s not my program, it is our program and you run it.” Without veteran players and guys that understand what they are doing you are going to be in trouble. They lead the young guys, they take a lot of pride in what is going on. They have been part of World Series teams and now it is their turn to be a part of this team from a leadership standpoint. They have done a good job. I don’t have a lot of complains about how the older guys handle this program.”


“In the off-season I tried to lose some weight, get in shape to help the ball club. I worked out with Strength Coach Billy Anderson and Kevin Melillo all summer. I feel a lot better, stronger, a little quicker, and hopefully it will help out our team. I lost about 25 poundS and working out all summer I found a new work ethic in the weight room.”

(on 2003 draft) “It really didn’t really motivate me a ton, whether you are going to believe that or not. It was one of those things that happen to you in life and you have to deal with it. The thing that motivated me the most is that I have been to Omaha two years and I have come home empty-handed and I want our team succeed out there. I feel that if I am in the best shape I can be in, it will help our team and maybe we can win one or two more games out there and bring home a championship. “

(on leadership) “Being a catcher leadership is always important. I have been fortunate enough to be a leader at this school and have some guys that look up to me. I think that is important for our team. When I was a freshman we had Kip Bouknight and Brennan Dees. We have always had leaders and now it is my turn. Guys like Kevin Melillo, Bryan Triplett, and myself are going to be those guys this year.”

(On coming back his senior year) “It wasn’t a hard decision at all. I love Carolina, our fans, being on a winning program, getting my degree out of the way, and getting another chance to win a national championship. I am getting to play with a lot of new guys that I haven’t met before. I am making a lot of new friends and get to play with a lot of great teammates. “


(on incoming class) “This is my fourth year here and this class is even better than my recruiting class. This is a total different group of people with great camaraderie, not to mention the talent. We have the speed, the pitching, the power, we have everything that we are going to need to get back to the College World Series.”

(on the goal of going to the CWS) “It is maybe not talked about enough, but it is always in the back of our minds because we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves we are just looking forward to the season opener against Charleston Southern. We know we have the ability to get back there and if we peak at the right time we can make it back to Omaha. “


(on pitching staff) “We got a great staff this year. Every pitcher on our team has a chance to play, a chance to start. Everybody is willing to contribute to the team. We have some junior college transfers that can get the job done and a lot of freshman that are looking good.”

(on going to the CWS) “The ultimate goal is always to get to Omaha and we think we have a chance to get there, but every big school in America thinks they have a chance to get there. It comes down to who performs and who has the best chemistry on the team.”