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March 8, 2007

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner met with the media on Thursday afternoon as the Gamecocks prepare for a three-game series with Brown this weekend. First pitch for the series opener is set for 7 pm on Friday, Mar. 9 at Sarge Frye Field.

Head Coach Ray Tanner

Commenting on the season
“We’ve played only four games at the Sarge in our first 12, we went 10-2 , and you’d like to be 12-0, but we’re not. But we feel like we got a pretty good club and we would like to play well this weekend and be very consistent and be ready for our sec season opener next weekend.”

On weekend rotation
“Blake Cooper has been pitching pretty good out of the bullpen for us and we think he is a guy that can help us throughout the season and he needs to pitch. Harris Honeycutt has a bicep strain and he’s probably not going to pitch this weekend. He’s not on the (disabled list), he is available, but he might not be 100 percent, so we’re probably going to hold him. It’s not a definite, but we’re probably going to hold him and not pitch him until the LSU series. And so, Mike Cisco will pitch on Saturday, and Arik Hempy will get his first start on Sunday.”

On Arik Hempy
“It’s going to be good to see him(Hempy). Regardless of what the results are, its gonna be good to see the big boy out there. So I’m kind of excited about that. And he’ll certainly be on a low pitch count. His side work has been good, we’ve been in a couple of simulation and he’s felt good, so we’re going to get him out there.”

“We got the green light to pitch him at Wilmington at the beginning of the year if the weather was right. I didn’t think it was quite warm enough and I think he was a little antsy. But after that, his doctor actually told him to relax a little and do his work between the lines, so he hasn’t been as aggressive towards it, but he’s ready to go now and he’s a guy who has earned his stripes, so when he and his doctor talked again this week they said let’s do it, and he has the credibility to go out there and pitch, so that’s why we’re giving him the start.”

“He is still throwing the same pitches. He’s going to throw his breaking ball and change up, he’s got a pretty live arm. But honestly, I’ve been surprised that he has pitched as well as he has. You’re talking about a guy who is coming off of an injury and you would think he would build up a little bit and be not quite as good in the beginning as he will later, but he’s been pretty sharp in practice. I just want to see him go a couple of innings, and if we get more out of him, great.”

On what he wants to see out of the team this weekend
“Just consistency. We’re talking about college baseball, and there so much parody in college baseball, everybody beats everybody.”

“We haven’t been home very much, so I’m glad we’re going to be here for a nine game home stand, and we’ve got these three and then two in the midweek before LSU comes to town. But I just want us to be consistent. You’re gonna do your best to win games, and if that doesn’t work out than you’re disappointed. But if you play consistent baseball than you have to be somewhat pleased, and that’s what I’m looking for.”

On Wynn Pelzer
“I think if you look at Wynn (Pelzer), so far, and knowing him like we do and having the confidence in him and some goods things he’s done in this program, he’s like a hitter who is hitting .220, and its not as good as he wants to hit. So, he’s in a little bit of a slump and things haven’t gone his way, but we’ve talked about it a little, but he’s still our guy and he’s healthy, so I’d like to pitch him tomorrow if the situation warrants it.”

“Although he didn’t pitch extremely well on Tuesday night against the College of Charleston, on the bus after the game he’s still the same Wynn. That’s an asset as a player, you’re not too high or too low, you’re the same all the time, and he is going to be back down there in the bullpen for us.”