COLUMBIA -- Ray Tanner said he gets more speaking requests after successfully defending South Carolina's College World Series championship than the coach did after winning in Omaha, Neb., the first time, and that it's a good problem.
But making the Gamecocks' baseball roster is a steep challenge, even for former Lowcountry high school stars. Redshirt sophomore
Brison Celek and freshman Connor Bright will get a good look this weekend during intrasquad scrimmages at Carolina Stadium.
Bright, a staple at shortstop for Wando High School, will try to scratch his way into an infield that lost shortstop Peter Mooney and second baseman Scott Wingo.
"(Bright) is a young man I thought got better each year from his 10th grade year on, and he's had a pretty good preseason," Tanner said Friday. "He'll get his feet wet a little bit this weekend, and there's only good things to come for him in the future. He's one of those infielders that if he has a good fall, it certainly changes things for him. But regardless, he's a guy that will be a contributor in our program in the future. If it's this spring, then good."
Celek, a former Bishop England High catcher, played as a USC freshman in 2010 but did not make the 35-man roster last season and used the year to redshirt. He is now listed as a first baseman and outfielder.
"(Celek) is a right-handed bat that's going to have to have a good fall swinging the bat to make an impact on this team," Tanner said. "He's very, very capable."
Tanner has 45 players in uniform but must trim to 35 for the 2012 season.
The catcher spot is wide open with the departures of Brady Thomas and Robert Beary. Tanner said the leading candidates are Grayson Greiner, a heralded 6-5, 210-pound freshman from Blythewood, and redshirt junior Dante Rosenberg.
Scrimmages today (12:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1:30 p.m.) at Carolina Stadium are open to the public.
Tanner said top pitchers Michael Roth, Matt Price and Colby Holmes probably will not pitch this weekend.