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March 29, 2007

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner met with the media on Thursday afternoon as the Gamecocks prepare to face Vanderbilt this weekend in a three-game series at Sarge Frye Field.

“I think the fact that we were on the road last week and won the last four out of five games, boosts us up. Certainly, Vanderbilt, based on the scouting report that I’ve done so far, is one of the best teams in the country, if not the best team. They’ve got a tremendous pitching staff, balanced attack offensively and they pick the ball up, so they’re about as good as I’ve seen on paper in a long time.”

“You have to put together a game where you can get in a few runs and your pitching staff has to be perfect, and that’s the only way you can beat them.”

On the atmosphere of this weekend’s games
“I know our fans, already with a sellout (on Saturday), they’re going to help us all they can. And we’re going to need all the help we can get because they’re a very good team.”

On Friday’s game
“(Harris) Honeycutt’s numbers are real good, and (David) Price is one of the best one’s in the country. I know last week when Price and (Nick) Schmidt hooked up in Arkansas they thought it might be a 1-0 game, and neither pitcher was really, really good, so you never know what’s going to happen in baseball.”

“It’s going to be difficult, not only do they have Price but they have Casey Weathers in the bullpen, who is clocked in the upper 90s. Their pitching staff with (Mike) Minor on Saturday, he’s a left-hander, and they go on and on, they’ve got a deep pitching staff. We’re going to be pressed to match our numbers offensively, but it’s a baseball game and anything can happen.”

On the series
“Everybody always says, `how about this weekend?’ well it’s important, it’s big, it always is. You play ten of these, and we’re headed into the third one, but it’s just like playing non-conference games, they count and they count right now. It’s not necessarily how many you win in the beginning or how many you when in the end, it’s how many you win throughout, and they’re all very, very important.”

Bottom of the order production
“I feel better about that. We’ve been getting some production down there. We’ve left Andrew Crisp down in the seven hole, and Jones and Havens, they’ve picked it up offensively so it gives us a little bit of optimism at the bottom of the order.”

On Vanderbilt
“They’re good, they’ve got great pitching and (Pedro) Alvarez hit his tenth homer last night, I was able to watch that game on the live streaming of the webcast. So we’ve got to play our best baseball of the season to do well in this series

“(Tim Corbin) has done as good a job as any coach in the country. He’s been able to get players in there and they’ve been productive. They really haven’t missed very much with recruiting, the guys they’ve brought in have been productive players. So, he’s at the top of the charts as far as any coaches we’ve got in the country and the job he’s doing with his program.”

On his team
“I tend to look at who we are playing, I don’t look at us a whole lot, but if we play well, we’ll be ok. But we’re not perfect and we’re facing a pitching staff that’s extremely impressive, and our guys’ numbers are pretty good

Having the No. 1 ranking
“I think having a ranked program is flattering to the players, and its important in the recruiting aspect, but to be number one right now isn’t that big of a deal to me. I’d certainly like to be there come July fourth or fifth, but right now its not a big deal. I’d like to have a program that continually stays ranked, but number one is not a big deal.”

On his team over the last week
“I give the players credit, we talked about it a little on Monday and Tuesday afternoon, and said things happen and it’s time to move on. I give them all the credit in the world, they strapped it on and played well and played hard and didn’t let all the distractions bother them and didn’t make any excuses