Holbrook Wraps 2014 Season

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By Sara Jane Harris

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- South Carolina baseball coach Chad Holbrook held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to recap the Gamecocks' 2014 season and look ahead to 2015.

The annual news conference came a few weeks earlier than expected for Holbrook, who said the team is still disappointed in their showing in the NCAA baseball tournament.

The Gamecocks, who were ranked as high as No. 1 during the season, fell to Maryland in the Columbia Regional.

It was the first time since 1976 that South Carolina did not advance out of a regional it hosted.

"I'm not sure we've gotten over the disappointment of our season being over yet, but we're excited about starting the journey for 2015," said Holbrook.

After suffering their early exit in the NCAA baseball tournament, last weekend another blow hit the Gamecocks, the MLB Draft.

Seven current Gamecocks were selected and all but one are expected to sign contracts with MLB teams.

Holbrook said junior first baseman Kyle Martin, who was drafted by the LA Angels in the 20th round, is still weighing his decision.

Holbrook hopes Martin decides to stay for his senior season and says the junior is leaning on coaches for guidance.

"Martin is a big piece of the puzzle for next year," said Holbrook, "He's making the best decision for Kyle Martin."

Despite at least six Gamecocks leaving for the pros, Holbrook is very excited about the future and the 2015 recruiting class.

Two Gamecocks signees were drafted, RHP Brandon Murray (30th round pick) and INF Madison Stokes (40th round pick), but both have decided to enroll in school to join the South Carolina baseball program.

"I'm as excited about this recruiting class as any recruiting class we've had since I've been here," said Holbrook.

He said the newcomers will push the returning starters for playing time and likes that the class has the ability and versatility to compete right away.

Holbrook also defended his record at South Carolina in his first two seasons, noting how difficult it is to reach Omaha and the level of parity today.

"I'm proud of what I accomplished my first two years. A lot of people are spoiled around here by our success. I'm spoiled, too. All I can do is my best," said Holbrook.

He said he is thankful he works for a baseball coach (South Carolina Athletic Director Ray Tanner) who knows how difficult it is to get to Omaha.

Holbrook said he is not happy with what's happening to coaches around the country, like Tim Esmay at Arizona State and Jack Leggett at Clemson.

"He's (Leggett) one of the best coaches in our game and has been for a long, long time," said Holbrook.

Holbrook ended the news conference with optimism, "I think in time you'll see the Gamecocks back in Omaha," he said.

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