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June 18, 2004

Omaha, Neb. – Unseasonable weather was on hand for Friday in Omaha. With the temperature hovering near the 60 degree mark, the wind blowing 10-15 miles from the north, and a light rain falling in the morning hours, it certainly wasn’t your typical opening day climate for the College World Series.

The Gamecocks spent time relaxing with family and friends at the Omaha Hilton Friday morning. The squad went over to the indoor practice facility at Creighton University and took batting practice and the pitchers did some soft toss. The players seemed focused, yet relaxed. Coach Ray Tanner and several of the players met with the media at the hotel following practice.

“It’s about time to play,” said Coach Tanner. “I think we’re ready to go. We’ve got some older players who have been here before and they’ve done a good job of keeping everything in perspective with the younger players. Cal-Fullerton has a tremendous team. We will have to be very good in order to have any kind of success against them.”

For USC centerfielder Davy Gregg, this is his first trip to the Big Dance. “When I first walked into Rosenblatt Stadium on Thursday, I just got chill bumps. It is just an awesome atmosphere out here. It feels great to be a part of a program like this.” Gregg said his mother and father – Brenda and David Gregg – along with his girlfriend, Bridgett McCall, and his sister Nikki Gregg – are all in town to following Davy and the rest of the Gamecocks this week. Gregg, who caught a fast ball in the eye during the Regionals a couple of weeks ago and was sporting a shiner for several days, says the soreness around the eye has gone and all he has to show for it now is a slight bruise above the eyelid.

USC reliever Chad Blackwell, who leads the nation with 19 saves, woke up Friday morning and saw a photo of him being bearhugged by teammate Landon Powell following last week’s clincher against East Carolina in the Super Regional featured on the sports page of the USA Today. “This is something that you only dream of as a kid,” said Blackwell. “Everywhere you look out here, it’s all about the College World Series. It’s a great feeling.”

The team was scheduled to go to a barbeque late Friday afternoon. Then, it will be back to the hotel for a good night’s rest prior to Saturday’s CWS opener against Cal-State Fullerton. First pitch Saturday is set for 2:30 p.m. (eastern time) with ESPN televising nationally.