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March 18, 2004

Columbia, S.C. – Head Coach Ray Tanner:

“This is a great match up for college baseball. They are ranked number one in one of the polls this week and arguably have a better team than we do and we have shown to be a pretty good team. Something has to give. It is just the first weekend of the SEC and a good match up.”

“I do like this. There is a little bit of bounce because we are involved in this series. You feel good about your program and you feel good playing the best program in the country. This is where you want to be, this is what you work for. Trying to be among the best in the country, it’s exciting, standing room only crowds, so this is good.”

“We are excited to be in this position. I might not be as excited on Monday morning as I am right now. This is great for our program, great for our players. We feel like we are one of the better programs in the country and LSU has been for many, many years. WE have not been for many years but we had some consistency the last few years. We want to be a team like LSU. We have held our own, but like I said they have been there for years and years.”

On the pitching staff:
“We thought that we would have a consistent pitching staff and we were confident that these guys would step up for us, but they have exceeded our expectations based how many strikes they are throwing and the competition among the staff. There are innings everybody is fighting for out there and I think the guys just continue to get better. I am ecstatic about what they have done. It has been only 18 games so we are just about a third through the season but we have gotten off to a good start as far as our pitching is concerned.”

On the strength of the SEC:
“I think this week there are seven SEC teams ranked in the one of the polls and I know there were 10 in the top 35 so it’s a pretty good conference and there are going to be some pretty good match ups throughout the season. “

On LSU coach Smoke Laval: “He is a fantastic person. He is a great coach. It is one of deals that he is going to want to beat me and I will want to beat him but we have great respect for each other and it will be the same at the end of the series.”

On the impact of the series on the coming weeks:
“Knowing we have Melillo, and Powell, Triplett, Tolleson, guys like Matt Campbell and Aaron Rawl. Those guys have been through it. We struggled some last year and we bounced back. No matter what happens this weekend that the older guys will say on Tuesday ‘Hey guys, that’s over, good or bad. We have to move on and be good today.’ That’s where the older players take over.”

Landon Powell

“I think there is a rivalry being built between the two programs and this is going to be a big weekend. I am sure we will go out there and have a lot of fun.”

“It would definitely be a confidence builder to go out there and get a couple wins, especially against a great program like LSU. It is our goal to go out there and win every game. Take it game by game, make sure we are prepared, and go out there and win. You do the best you can and hope that you come out on top.”

“You can’t win every game, even though we have been perfect so far. We will go out there this weekend and try to win. If we drop a couple this weekend we don’t give up. You keep playing, it is a long season and it is definitely early.”

“I think we match up pretty good on paper. Both teams have very good pitching staffs. I think the key for us will be our crowd here at Sarge Frye Field. It is one of the best atmospheres in the country and definitely the best fans in the Country. We hope they will give us a little edge to beat LSU”

On the LSU program:
“LSU has been the Lakers of the last 10 years or so in the SEC. Coach Tanner and Coach Toman have done a great job building this program and we are trying to catch them. They have won five national championships and we don’t have one. We will give it our best and go out there trying to win. Even though we are in the top five, I feel like we are the underdog.”