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"Inside the Roost" Recap: Shelley Smith, Chad Holbrook, Jerry Meyers

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Written by South Carolina Athletics student assistant Rebecca Duensing

On Monday night's "Inside the Roost" radio show host Derek Scott caught up with Women's Soccer Head Coach Shelley Smith, Baseball Associate Head Coach Chad Holbrook, and Assistant Head Coach Jerry Meyers.
Coach Smith was up first to discuss her SEC Championship team and embarking on the NCAA Tournament. The team opens the NCAA Tournament hosting Texas on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at home in Stone Stadium.

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Accepting the SEC Championship trophy

"We couldn't be more excited, especially when there are so many seniors in the program. They really wanted to play again for a home crowd," said Smith. "They definitely got their wish and they earned it."

This year marks the fifth consecutive year that the Gamecocks have made the NCAA Tournament; two years ago they were at home for the first rounds and drew a great crowd compared to other venues across the country. Smith said that the crowd makes a big difference in their play and gave credit to the fans for coming out and cheering them on. She added that fans need to "catch someone like Kayla Grimsley before she graduates. She's been phenomenal, broken records here at Carolina and left her mark."

If the Gamecocks beat Texas in the first round, they would be scheduled to meet the number one overall seed in the tournament, undefeated Stanford (19-0-1). When asked about facing a team like Stanford, Coach Smith said, "We try not to talk about Stanford, but it's going to be a tough road no matter what; you're trying to win a National Championship. That's an opportunity for us to have an upset in the tournament and make history again."

According to Smith, Texas has had a great season and is a tough team. She expects this "to be a tremendous opening round."

Next up on the show, baseball coaches Chad Holbrook and Jerry Meyers stopped by to talk about fall practice and looking forward to next season.

Last year, Carolina's pitching staff had an amazing season and several players were drafted including ace pitcher Michael Roth and the Gamecocks' dominating closer Matt Price, both of whom chose to stay and play at Carolina this year. Derek Scott pointed out that it's rare to have players with that kind of success come back. Jerry Meyers agreed.

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Michael Roth

"It has to be the right situation and we have such a great situation here as a program with our fan base, our stadium, and the commitment from administration," said Meyers. "The guys feel good about coming back, even though they had the option to sign."

The MLB draft and seniors completing their eligibility took much of the infield, leaving first baseman Christian Walker as the only returning starter. Coach Holbrook said that the infield is shaping up with Joey Pankake at short stop, Chase Vergason at second, and LB Dantzler at third.

There are also new faces at the catcher position, freshman Grayson Greiner and junior college redshirt Dante Rosenberg. Holbrook said that they "feel very good about the catching situation." Rosenberg was the Most Improved Defensive Player this fall.

In terms of hardest workers during the fall, Meyers pointed out Colby Holmes, a returning junior, and freshmen pitchers Evan Beal and Joel Seddon, who were both drafted out of high school but chose to come to Carolina. For Holbrook it was outfielders Adam Matthews and Evan Marzilli.

"They had a great fall; they led by example," said Holbrook. "They're the hardest workers in the weight room and they're great leaders for our team."

On Monday ESPNU released their schedule for the Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week. The Gamecocks will be featured twice, first on March 22 for the re-match with CWS foe Florida and again on April 26 when Alabama comes to Columbia. Derek Scott asked if they were surprised that ESPNU "wanted to put Michael Roth on TV a few more times."

"He looks good on TV," agreed Meyers. "He brings a lot to the table and hopefully he can set the tone for those series."

The 2011 National Championship team will be recognized on the field this week at the football game vs. Florida between the first and second quarters.

Make sure to catch "Inside the Roost" every Monday night from 7:00-8:00 p.m. on 107.5 The Game for insight into Gamecock Athletics with Derek Scott and AD Eric Hyman along with weekly guests.

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