Gamecocks' #1 hitter returns for senior season - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

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Gamecocks' #1 hitter returns for senior season

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Kyle Martin (Source: University of South Carolina Athletics) Kyle Martin (Source: University of South Carolina Athletics)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

South Carolina first baseman Kyle Martin has decided to put his professional baseball career on hold and is returning to South Carolina for his senior season. 

He was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 20th round of the major league draft.

Martin was South Carolina's top hitter this past season, batting .336 (82-for-244) and started all 62 games at first base for the Gamecocks. He has twice been named to the NCAA Regional All-Tournament team and has hit .345 (19-for-55) with 12 RBI in postseason play the last three years.

"I love this university, I love this baseball program and I'm just not ready to leave all that this great place provides me," said Kyle Martin. 

"This was not an easy decision and I appreciate the Angels drafting me.  However, after talking it over with my family, Coach Holbrook and the staff and Coach Tanner, I've decided that I want to come back and help lead the 2015 team."   

Along with his .336 average that ranked seventh in the SEC this year, Martin scored 35 runs, belted 11 doubles, hammered five homers and drove in 38 runs.  He had 108 total bases that ranked 14th in the league and led the Gamecocks with 24 multi-hit games.  He fielded .995 at first base last year with three errors. He had four games last year in which he tallied four hits. 

Martin is a career .318 hitter (128-for-402) for the Gamecocks with eight homers and 60 RBI. He has put together a .379 on-base percentage as well as a .423 slugging percentage.

Martin is a mechanical engineering major.  He was named to the 2013 SEC Academic Honor Roll.

"We are thrilled to have Kyle back for another year," said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook.  "As I stated Tuesday, I'm already anxious for August to get here and get ready for the 2015 season.  Kyle is the best defensive first baseman in the country and one of our top hitters.  To have his bat in the middle of the lineup one more season is huge and we appreciate his desire and passion to want to don the Garnet & Black one more time."

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