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June 7, 2004

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina junior righthanded pitcher Billy Buckner and junior infielder Kevin Melillo were drafted in the Major League Baseball Draft. Buckner was the 55th overall pick by the Kansas City Royals in the second round and Melillo was the 157th overall pick by the Oakland A’s in the fifth round. Chad Blackwell was the 175th overall pick and selected in the sixth round by the Kansas City Royals.

South Carolina also had two other players drafted earlier by both the A’s and and the Royals in the first round. South Carolina senior catcher Landon Powell and junior lefthanded pitcher Matt Campbell were selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft. Powell was the 24th overall pick and was selected by the Oakland A’s with Matt Campbell going 29th overall to the Kansas City Royals. It is the first time in USC history that two South Carolina players have been drafted in the first round.

In his first season at South Carolina, Buckner has performed well on the mound with a 3.16 ERA and has posted a 6-2 record. Buckner has 95 strikeouts and 22 walks allowed in 77 innings pitched. A captain and a junior at South Carolina, Melillo has been a key ingredient in the Gamecock offense with a .311 batting average and nine HR and 35 RBI in 48 games played. Melillo was recently named to the 2004 Columbia Regional All-Tournament Team after batting .636 (7-for-11) this past weekend as the Gamecocks advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals. Blackwell leads USC and the SEC in saves with 17 on the year and owns a 4-3 record with a 2.96 ERA. Blackwell earned first team All-SEC honors and third team All-American honors by Collegiate Baseball.

Powell leads USC with a .339 batting average on the year including 19 HR and 64 RBI. Powell also led the team in SEC games with a .373 batting average and 14 of his 19 HR this year coming vs. SEC opponents. Powell has started and played all 63 games this year and owns a .997 fielding percentage with just two errors behind the plate. The senior from New Hill, N.C. has also been named an All-American by Sports Weekly, second team All-American from Collegiate Baseball, and is a finalist for the Dick Howser Award (top collegiate baseball player) as well as the Johnny Bench Award (best catcher). Powell is also the 2004 University of South Carolina Male Student Athlete of the Year as well as the South Carolina State Male Amateur Athlete of the Year. Powell was a member of the 2002 USA National Team as a sophomore.

Campbell, a junior left-hander from Gray Court, S.C. owns a 9-4 record on the year for the Gamecocks with a 3.02 ERA. Campbell currently has a team-high 129 strikeouts with just 26 walks allowed in 107 1/3 innings pitched. Campbell was a member of the 2003 USA National Team that earned a silver medal at the Pan American Games.