Column: It's Omaha or bust for Gamecocks, Holbrook in 2017

Gamecock Nation was spoiled for those final three years under Ray Tanner, as the South Carolina baseball team reached three straight College World Series finals, winning two back-to-back while creating a national powerhouse. The Gamecocks would host a Super Regional in three of the next four seasons, including last year, only missing out in the disappointment of 2015. 

Still, it's not uncommon to see fans calling for Holbrook's job as he has yet to lead the Gamecocks to Omaha, which Tanner, of course, did in his final three seasons. All Holbrook did last year was lead the team to a top 10 ranking and another Super Regional in Columbia, but that doesn't seem to have been enough.

In 2017, it doesn't look like South Carolina will have many excuses. With a weekend rotation of Clarke Schmidt, Wil Crowe and Adam Hill, the Gamecocks will be favored almost every time they step on the field. Not only does South Carolina have one of the nation's best rotations, the Gamecocks have a great back end of the bullpen in Reed Scott, Tyler Johnson and Josh Reagan. 

On the offense, the dangerous Alex Destino returns, and sophomores TJ Hopkins and Chris Cullen are primed for big-time seasons. Holbrook also brought in a lot of talent, including freshmen Carlos Cortes and sophomore transfer Jacob Olson, who could factor in throughout the season. 

Because of all the talent, history and opportunity, the Gamecocks are featured toward the top of every preseason ranking for the 2017 season, deservedly so. Now, Holbrook has to give the rabid Gamecock fan base what it wants: a trip to Omaha.



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