The Gamecocks have a deep infield with many returning players, and new faces that are vying for spots. Holbrook said "If we played tomorrow DC would start at third. He had a great fall. He hit .391." He also feels like Jordan Gore has made a good case for himself and will be out there somewhere on the field. He feels comfortable with having him in almost any position. Many have speculated who would fill the shoes of former standout Grayson Greiner this season, and it is quite a tall task. Holbrook said Hunter Taylor has probably improved the most over the fall at catcher, and various others have stepped up. "I think behind the plate will be solid for us, but I don't think it's going to be one guy," said Holbrook.
At least nine players batted over .300 this fall. Senior Patrick Harrington was one of them, and he hit around .342. Harrington had a very productive fall and continues to be a great emotional team leader. Holbrook believes the middle of the lineup will be strong for the Gamecocks. "I think we can put some tough outs in the lineup," he said. Holbrook likes the experience his veterans, Kyle Martin and Max Schrock, bring to the lineup. One big surprise for Holbrook this fall was Alex Destino. "He'd be hitting 4th or 5th in the lineup...that's how much he's impressed me," Holbrook said of the freshman. Overall Holbrook is very pleased with how the team is shaping up offensively.
Holbrook feels like the pitching staff has grown and improved as the fall progressed. Holbrook praised Junior LHP Jack Wynkoop. He knows what Wynkoop can bring to the table, "He looks like a guy that's ready to be a Friday or Saturday starter. He might be our most polished guy." You can also expect to see Wil Crowe resuming his weekend starting role. Holbrook on Crowe, "Wil Crowe we shut down the last couple of weekends of the fall, only because the risk was too much. We know who Wil Crowe is." Holbrook also feels the young guys grew up this Fall. He was very impressed by freshman RHP Clarke Schmidt. It is speculation on who will fill the closing role for the Gamecocks, but Taylor Widener and Cody Mincey's names are being batted around.
You might have noticed first baseman, Kyle Martin, getting some work in on the mound if you came out to fall practice within the last two months. I asked Coach Holbrook what he thought of Kyle Martin's performance on the mound this fall and if he would be a viable option in the upcoming season. Holbrook said that Martin would be a viable option and that Coach Meyers loves him. "I think we're going to use Kyle from time to time...Probably in a situational role to get left handed hitters out," said Holbrook. He also stated, "We don't want to take him off of first base too much, but we also need another lefty or two in the bullpen, especially if we are starting Reagan or Fiori."
Fall baseball practice may be over for the Gamecocks, but they will continue to work hard on their conditioning for the spring. There are players who have to work on getting stronger or putting on weight. The next month and a half in the weight room is very important. Holbrook said,"We challenged them a little more in their conditioning, and I like the way they responded. We're gonna push them even harder now."