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Holbrook wants better pitching, defense next year

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm •  Published: July 9, 2013

Holbrook also expects a smoother second season as the man on the dugout's top step. He took the job last summer after 19 years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, North Carolina, and with the Gamecocks.

He said he leaned heavily on his friend, former coach and current athletic director Ray Tanner, to talk baseball and bounce decisions off of at times last year. That was especially true at times South Carolina struggled and the critics questioned almost every move Holbrook made.

"My skin got thick in a hurry," he said with a laugh.

He was happy the team finished 43-20 and extended its streak of 40-win seasons to 14, the longest current stretch in the Southeastern Conference. Still, Holbrook believed his club had the makeup for a fourth straight trip to the College World Series and was disappointed the Gamecocks lost the best-of-3 NCAA super regional series at North Carolina.

"Certainly when you look at it as whole I'm proud of our players and what they accomplished," Holbrook said. "But I can't sit here and say I'm thrilled to death because we did fall a game short. That makes it tougher."

Holbrook says he's gained some confidence after this season. He won't drastically alter the way things had worked under Tanner, but will impart more of his own style to practices and game management.

"We've got find our identity as we look forward to 2014," he said. "I like that we've got some older guys. People say we're going to be pretty good, so we'll see."