COLUMBIA --- It's not always easy playing baseball at Connecticut.
There are the early season road trips thousands of miles from campus, the homefield snowstorms and all those championship banners won by the other Huskie sports teams.
Connecticut baseball hopes to carve out its own space among UConn's athletic success by reaching the College World Series for the first time in 32 years.
The Huskies face defending national champion South Carolina in a super regional series starting tonight.
Since their last CWS trip, men's and women's basketball have become Connecticut's signature programs with a combined 10 national championships. Even the football team reached a BCS bowl this winter as Big East champions.
"It's hard being in the shadow of our basketball teams, men and women," Huskies second baseman LJ Mazzilli said Friday. "And our football team, too, has been good the past couple of years."
Baseball players at Connecticut must have a gritty makeup, coach Jim Penders said, to endure things teams in the college baseball's Southeastern power zone don't.
The Huskies (45-17-1) played their first 13 games in Florida, Texas and California. They had March games with Northeastern and Yale postponed because of bad weather, and finally opened their home season on March 22.
The Gamecocks (48-14) have won their past 17 home NCAA games, dating back to 2002 when Tanner's program made the first of its four trips to the CWS. They've won their past nine NCAA Tournament games overall, starting with six in a row to take last year's CWS title.
Tanner said his players are only focused on this weekend, and not trying to repeat at the CWS.
"You start thinking down the road, you're in trouble, you're in big trouble," he said.