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June 7, 2004

Columbia, S.C. – Seven members of the University of South Carolina baseball team were drafted on the first day of the Major League Baseball Draft. The draft was highighted by two South Carolina players being selected in the first round, the first time in USC history. South Carolina senior catcher Landon Powell and junior lefthanded pitcher Matt Campbell were selected in the first round. 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.

Other South Carolina players drafted included junior righthanded pitcher Billy Buckner and junior infielder Kevin Melillo who were selected in the top five rounds. 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.

Rounding out the list of Gamecocks was junior RHP Chad Blackwell went in the sixth round (175th) to the Kansas City Royals with junior infielder Steve Pearce going in the 10th round to Boston (305th) and senior infielder Bryan Triplett selected int the 12th round (364th) by the Houston Astros.

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.

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.

Chad Blackwell earned All-SEC honors and was a third team All-American choice from Collegeiate Baseball. Blackwell has 17 saves on the year as well as a 4-3 record with a 2.96 ERA and 73 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 54 2/3 innings pitched.

Junior infielder Steve Pearce has had the hot bat lately for USC as MVP of the 2004 Columbia Regional with three home runs last weekend as USC advanced to the Super Regionals. Pearce is batting .326 with 19 HR and 63 RBI on the year.

Senior infielder Bryan Triplett has a .272 batting average with seven HR and 34 RBI as well as 22 doubles on the season, five short of the USC single-season record.