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Feb. 12, 2004

Columbia, S.C. – The University of South Carolina baseball team will open up the 2004 season on Friday afternoon at Sarge Frye Field as the Gamecocks host Charleston Southern in the first of a three-game series. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. with junior RHP Aaron Rawl (6-3, 3.84 ERA – 2003) to start for South Carolina and junior LHP R.J. Swindle (10-5, 2.21 ERA – 2003) on the mound for the Buccaneers. USC head men’s basketball coach Dave Odom will also throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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Here is what head coach Ray Tanner and junior RHP Aaron Rawl had to say before Friday’s game.


What are you looking for in the Season Opener?
“Coaches are always over critical, but I am looking for some consistency. We worked awfully hard just like a lot of other teams around the country. Come the first day you want to play good baseball.”

On Charleston Southern:
“Last year they opened up here and they beat us a game and they could have taken two out of three from us. We had to come back from a 7-2, 7-3 deficit to win in another game. They have a great pitching staff. Coach Murphy, that’s his forte and he has all of his pitchers back and R.J. Swindle, who will start on Friday, is arguable one of the best in the country based on his numbers. You will have to have a good game to beat them.”

On pre-season practice:
“I think we are ready. I have pushed awfully hard. Of all the years I have coached this is the year that I have probably pushed as hard as I ever have. I appeared unhappy at times when I wasn’t all that unhappy. We talked a lot to the new players and the competitive nature and hopefully it all will come together.”

Season outlook:
“We have some veterans back and our defense looks fine. The question for us is how we will pitch. We don’t have a lot of experience on the mound. These new guys wil be counted upon heavily to step in right away.”

On Aaron Rawl:
“The reason Aaron Rawl gets the ball is he has got a lot of experience and composure and will get us started off.”


“There are a lot of new guys on the team but any of them can do what our veteran guys can do. We have a lot of arms and a lot of bats and hopefully a lot of them are going to get some playing time this year. A lot of them have played in some pretty good JC games but there is no competition like the SEC and that’s where experience can be a big advantage.”

“We expect nothing less than to make it back to Omaha but any big program in the country thinks they can go and only eight teams get to go. We hope to get off to a good start and worry about getting there when the time comes.”