USC wins first game of Holbrook era

South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook made a successful debut with a 4-3 victory over Liberty on Friday.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH/AP) -- LB Dantzler homered and drove in two runs, and South Carolina made coach Chad Holbrook's debut a success with a 4-3 victory over Liberty on Friday.

The Gamecocks won their season opener for the 22nd time in 23 years.

It followed a rousing pre-game tribute to former coach and current athletic director Ray Tanner. It was the first time since the 1997 season Tanner hadn't been in the dugout. His No. 1 jersey was retired and the street in front of Carolina Stadium was renamed "Tanner Way."

"It was neat for me to be a part of that, it was neat for our players and I'm sure it was neat for Coach Tanner's former players," said Holbrook. "That was very emotional and meaningful to people who had worked under coach. We feel very fortunate to have won this game. We didn't play particularly well. Liberty is a very good team. I tried to tell our guys it's going to be a dog fight and you have to prepare for a one or two run game."

Tanner led the Gamecocks to College World Series championships in 2010 and 2011 and watched the team he used to coach from a new vantage point, just a few rows off the field.

"It was interesting. Like a lot of baseball fans, I was a fan today and I was sitting there thinking what kind of moves Coach Holbrook was going to make," said Tanner after the game."I was watching him, and he was moving guys around. I was as involved with it as I was previously, I just didn't have to make any decisions. We all know he is a great coach and he will do well."

South Carolina continues its opening weekend series with Liberty Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:30pm at Carolina Stadium.