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Nov. 21, 2006

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina sophomore first baseman Justin Smoak has been named to the 2007 Wallace Award Watch list as released by the College Baseball Foundation. The Brooks Wallace Award is presented annually to the national college baseball player of the year. Smoak hit .303 in his first season with the Gamecocks last year and added 17 homers and 63 RBI to earn freshman All-American honors. He was also the only player on the squad to start all 66 games in the 2006 season. Smoak played this summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League, where he earned league MVP honors and was named the top collegiate prospect by Baseball America.

Smoak is one of six returning starters back from last year’s team that reached the NCAA Super Regional. The Super Regional appearance was Carolina’s sixth in the past seven seasons, making the Gamecocks one of only three teams in the nation to achieve that feat since the 2000 season. In that span, Carolina has reached the College World Series three times (2002, 2003, 2004), won two SEC championships (2000, 2002) as well as an SEC Tournament title (2004). Carolina’s seven consecutive years reaching the NCAA Regionals is also the longest current streak among all 12 SEC schools. Over the past seven years, the Gamecocks own a 342-135 record; the fourth highest win total in Division I Baseball as well as an SEC-best 130-79 record in conference match-ups.

The Wallace Watch will be trimmed to 12 semi-finalists by late May of 2007. Then the selection committee will narrow the list to three finalists following the NCAA Super Regionals, prior to the College World Series. The award is dedicated to the memory of Brooks Wallace, former Texas Tech shortstop and assistant coach. The selection committee for the Wallace Award is comprised of a national panel of preeminent coaches, sports information directors, former winners and beat media who most closely follow the sport.