Baseball coach talks new strategies

Tennessee Tech’s baseball’s utility player Gavin Johns celebrates an inning at the game against Western Illinois on Feb. 16 at Quillen Field.  Photo by Kendyl Seals.

Baseball coach Justin Holmes’ strategy this season is to repeat the successes but use a different formula to do it.

Tech ended the season with a 53-12 record and became the first Ohio Valley Conference team to advance to the Super Regionals in the playoffs.

The team led the NCAA in batting average, home runs, and hits.

In addition, the Golden Eagles set records within Tech’s program and the OVC when eight upperclassmen players were drafted by major league teams.

The team lost four seniors and four juniors to the draft and started this season with 11 freshmen. 

Tech hired Holmes last year after the previous coach, Matt Bragga, accepted a position at Rice University. 

Now Holmes faces finding a new way to build on the program with his own strategies. 

“What those guys did last season was historic, and there is no way to top it, and our guys are now challenged to carve their own niche into the program,” Holmes said. 

Holmes said he expects success for the team and is excited for the future. 

“As a new coach, I expect myself to be organized and understand that it is important to balance our time appropriately,” Holmes said. 

Holmes, 36, graduated from the University of Georgia, and has been a part of Tech’s team for the past four seasons as a recruitment coordinator and an assistant coach. 

The Golden Eagles are currently 3-0 after chilly home games against Western Illinois University at this season’s opener that started Feb. 15. 

Anthony Carrera, junior outfielder for Tech, said he is confident in the first-year coach. 

“Holmes is really hands on with the team and has been playing the role as head coach for a while now,” Carrera said. 

Tech ranks third overall in a pre-season poll. 

“Although they ranked us not to win the OVC, our team has good talent in all positions. We are just lacking experience, which will change overtime,” Carrera said. 

“Our remaining upperclassmen have stepped up in a big way, and we are leading by example,” Carrera said.