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Gamecock Baseball Holds Media Day
Head coach Ray Tanner

Jan. 27, 2012

January 27, 2012
Coach Tanner

Head Coach Ray Tanner

Opening Statement...
It is great to be back again. It is good to see all of you. I will be honest with you, I have to hide a little bit of emotion today, getting back with our team for the first time. (After) 16 years, (it) is still very, very exciting. I am looking forward to getting underway. We have got a core group back, certainly some positions to replace, but a lot of veteran players on the field. We are excited about it; we are looking forward to having some good practices prior to February 17th. Hopefully today will be a good one.

On this year's expectations...
I don't know about that (winning a third national title). We have expectations in this program. Our players have it, fans have it and we are just going to do the best we can. I have never been one to talk about the future and setting goals and objectives, all of those things. We are just trying to have a good practice today and get better each time out there. We don't get too far ahead of ourselves, and I have said this many, many times. If you can survive your conference through the regular season, you win enough to get to the post-season, you have a chance because you are battle-tested, and 2012 is not going to be any different.

On questions going into this season...
I think you have to look at our position in the infield, with second, short and third being new players. We are also going to be really new behind the plate. Rosenberg has been in the program, but (Grayson) Greiner hasn't. He is a true freshman behind the plate, and then you have got those three positions I mentioned where there are going to be new players. At this point I am pleased with the progress they have made. You talk about (Chase) Vergason, (T.J.) Costen, (Joey) Pankake, Connor Bright, (LB) Dantzler, Erik Payne have gotten better. We have got a situation that these guys have not played. They looked really good yesterday, but the lights weren't on yesterday, and they are going to be coming on here in a few weeks, so we have got to wait and see. I will make a note here that Erik Payne is also putting on the catching gear now. We have been a little bit thin behind the plate. Patrick Harrington is on the shelf right now with an injury. He had a surgery a couple of weeks ago, and we have converted Erik Payne to wearing the catching gear. He has actually done a nice job back there, but he will still play some third base, but he is looking pretty good behind the plate. We will probably get him in this scrimmage today.

Senior LHP, Michael Roth

On improving on what he did last year...
I've been working on a lot of things this off-season. Probably the most important thing to me was just some endurance that I'm trying to change. I feel like I can come in healthier and better for the long season. I'm also working on my breaking balls with Coach Meyer and hopefully adding a third pitch that I feel comfortable throwing in any situation.

On being able to do even more than what they accomplished last year...
I'm going to approach this as a separate year, just like the year before that. Obviously every time I go out there I'm going to compete and hopefully give the team a chance to win the game. That's really our ultimate goal. If we're winning and I'm out there helping, that's what we want to do. We want to win on Fridays. I'm not going to go out and try to match what I did last year or try to beat it. I'm just going to go out there and compete and try to get the job done.

On people expecting more of his this year and does it change his approach...
No, not at all. Really I just prepare, come to field, get my work done and get ready for Fridays. We want to go out there and win, and I don't get involved in all the hoopla about hype or whatever, I just come out here and try to give the team a chance to win.

RHP Matt Price

On starting this season...
I mean it feels good. It just feels good to be back out here with the team again. We have got another great team. Intrasquad is going to be fun to see who is going to be starting, who is going to be filing key roles, and I think it is a good chance for us to be better as a team.

On preparing mentally to come in with a new role...
Mentally maybe a little bit, but it is not going to change who I am on the mound, mentally or physically. I just want to go out there and throw and do what I have always done.

On his pitching...
As a closer, I didn't really throw my curve ball or change-up like I wanted to. I mean as a closer you only really have two pitches: your fastball and slider. Now that I get a chance to show all four of my pitches and show them the different arm (slots), it is going to be good.

INF Christian Walker

On his expectations for this season...
We have a great group of guys and a great group of coaches, and I mean it is all coming together for us.

On the progress he has made...
All around defensively, offensively, everything, I definitely feel a lot more comfortable at first base. After freshman year, I lost some weight and got a lot lighter on my feet, and everything since then has been all positive.

The toughest part of changing positions...
It is a pretty similar to third base as far as being on the corner and all of that. Just knowing that you have a lot more time, and you don't have to rush a throw. Even if you bobble a ball or boot, it you still have time.



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