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Feb. 15, 2010

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina senior right-hander Blake Cooper is scheduled to get the Opening Day start for the Gamecocks in this weekend’s series vs. Duquesne. Junior right-hander Sam Dyson will make a start on Saturday vs. the Dukes with freshman left-hander Tyler Webb starting the series finale on Sunday. Tickets are still available for all three games this weekend. First pitch on Friday is 3 p.m. Saturday’s game will also start at 3 p.m. with Sunday’s first pitch set for 1:30 p.m. The Gamecocks are ranked as high as No. 10 in the nation by Baseball America.

Blake Cooper went 9-4 last season with a 4.50 ERA and hurled 86 innings with three complete games. Cooper won his last outing of the spring last year when he pitched a complete game in a 12-2 victory over East Carolina in the NCAA Regional. His three-year record at Carolina is 21-12, making him one of only 18 pitchers in Carolina history to earn 20-plus career wins. He is the first senior to earn the Opening Day start for Carolina since Aaron Rawl back in 2005.

Sam Dyson also compiled a 9-4 record last year for the Gamecocks and pitched a season-high 102.0 innings. He was a ninth round selection in the 2009 MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s. Dyson is listed as the No. 27 best prospect in this year’s junior class by Baseball America.

Webb, a freshman left-hander, will make his Carolina debut in Sunday’s finale. He was a 2009 Virginia High School Coaches Association (VHSCA) All-State selection and also played in the 2009 VHSCA East-West All-Star game. PG Crosschecker rated him as the No. 6 best high school player out of the state of Virginia last year.

Probable Weekend Rotation

South Carolina – Blake Cooper (Sr. RHP)
Duquesne – Johnny Elms (Sr. RHP)

South Carolina – Sam Dyson (Jr. RHP)
Duquesne – Grant Gillespie (Jr. RHP) or Jim Devine (So. RHP)

South Carolina – Tyler Webb (Fr. LHP)
Duquesne – Andrew Heck (Jr. RHP)

Opening Day Starters Under Head Coach Ray Tanner2010        Blake Cooper (Sr. RHP)2009        Sam Dyson (So. RHP)2008        Mike Cisco (Jr. RHP)2007        Harris Honeycutt (Jr. RHP)2006        Andrew Cruse (Jr. RHP)2005        Aaron Rawl (Sr. RHP)2004        Aaron Rawl (Jr. RHP)2003        Steven Bondurant (Sr. LHP)2002        David Marchbanks (So. LHP)2001        Kip Bouknight (Sr. RHP)2000        Kip Bouknight (Jr. RHP)1999        Kip Bouknight (So. RHP)1998        Brett Jodie (Jr. RHP)1997        Eddie Hoff (Jr. RHP)