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June 19, 2004

Omaha, Neb. –

For the third straight year, the South Carolina Gamecocks found runs hard to come by in the opening game of the College World Series. Carolina, the tournament’s #2 seed, was shut out 2-0 by Cal-State Fullerton and its ace pitcher Jason Windsor, who struck out 14 Gamecock batters.

The morning began early for Gamecock head coach Ray Tanner and pitching coach Jerry Meyers. They met, along with sports information office personnel Andrew Kitick and Kerry Tharp, with the broadcasters and producers from ESPN at 8:30 a.m. The meeting gives the announce team the opportunity to preview the team and get some valuable insight from the coaching staff. Coach Tanner stated that Windsor would be a very difficult opponent. “Windsor has been throwing exceptionally well of late,” said Tanner during the meeting. “We will have to scrap and come up with some early runs in order to have any success. He has been very tough down the stretch.” The assessment proved to be accurate, as Windsor threw the first complete game in the CWS since 1994.

The Gamecocks were a disappointed ball club afterwards. Shortstop Steven Tolleson, who had a tough day at the plate, striking out three times, said Windsor kept USC off balance throughout the game. “For the most part, we were off balance and we never could get to their pitcher,” said Tolleson. “It’s frustrating. I had a big opportunity with the bases loaded in the seventh and I didn’t come through. We’ve got to bounce back.”

Starting pitcher Matt Campbell labored through most his five innings, walking a season-high seven batters, despite being charged with just two runs. “I didn’t have my best stuff today,” said Campbell. “I had a tough time getting ahead of the batters. It seemed like I was behind the hitters most of the day. It’s frustrating.”

Coach Tanner credited Windsor with a stellar pitching performance. “Jason Windsor was outstanding today,” said Tanner. “We didn’t have an answer for what he was throwing us.”

The team spent most of the evening with family members and friends. Coach Tanner said following the game that a likely starting pitcher for Monday’s elimination game with LSU would be junior righthander Aaron Rawl, who has ample experience pitching in Omaha. Rawl defeated Georgia Tech in 2002.

The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at 12 noon at Bellevue East High School. ESPN’s Sports Center is expected to stop by and doing a story on pitcher Billy Buckner, who has the same name as the former major leaguer.