Phillies fans braved the predawn chill to get a spot in the line at Citizens Bank Park for choice single-game tickets when they go on sale today.

About 100 people already were on hand with less than hour to go before the ticket windows were set to open at 8:30 a.m.

Chris Getz and Matt Schmidt were actually the first fans at Citizens Bank Park - on Wednesday, arriving around 11 a.m.

But they left to get chicken parm sandwiches at Tony Luc's and then sat in their car, unsure which ticket window to wait near.

They were determined to be at the front of the line this year because seven hours of trying online didn't result in a single ticket last year.

"I'm making sure I get the tickets we want this year," said Getz, 31, a SEPTA bus driver from Northeast Philadelphia.

But about 3 p.m., they were surprised to see four guys standing near the west side ticket windows.

So once again, for the third year in a row, four friends from Ridley - Rob Melrath, 23; Nick Hober, 19; and 16-year-old twins Tom and Ryan Drummond - ended up at the head of the line.

Good thing they arrived five hours earlier than last year.

"We were cutting it close," said Melrath.

They were going for first night home game - opening day is not for sale - and the games with Cliff Lee and Hunter Spence bobbleheads, said Melrath.

Besides going to the ticket windows, fans can purchase single game tickets online through www.phillies.com or by calling 215-463-1000.

Maximum: Eight per game. Prices range from $17 for standing room and $20 for the cheapest seats to $53 each, as available.

Although the team has already sold about 3 million tickets through full and partial season-ticket plans, plus six- and three-game "packs," many remain.

"We still have 680,000 tickets to sell," said John Weber, vice president for sales and ticket operations. "So we still have a lot of inventory to sell."

Not everyone was stuck on special dates or giveaways.

Maureen McGovern, 57, of Mount Ephraim said she was going for about four games when a big Phillies fan would be visiting her from Florida.

Saturday night games fit best into the schedule of Eileen Leonardo, 65, of Mayfair, who planned to go with family and friends.

"Just the excitement of the game is enough," said Ginny Podgurski, 63, of the Northeast, who planned to attend six games with husband Mark and their son and daughter.

"I just hope they don't break my heart like last year," she said, referring to the team's early exit in the playoffs.

The Ridley friends wound up buying nearly 70 tickets among them, with Hober getting the lion's share, including Fan Appreciation Night and a game with fireworks.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.