April 23, 2010
Columbia, S.C. – Former South Carolina baseball player Justin Smoak has been called up to the Major Leagues by the Texas Rangers. The former Gamecock first baseman will be with the club as they begin a weekend home series in Arlington, Texas on Friday vs. the Detroit Tigers. Smoak had been on a tear in Triple-A with Oklahoma City hitting .326 (15-for-46) with a pair of homers and five RBI. He has also walked 16 times to just six strikeouts and had a .500 on-base percentage. Smoak is one of four former Gamecocks to currently be in Major League Baseball along with Adam Everett (Tigers), Landon Powell (A’s) and Brian Roberts (Orioles).
In his three-year career at Carolina, Smoak (2006-07-08) set school records for home runs (62), runs batted in (207), bases on balls (151) and total bases (485). He is fifth on the SEC career list for home runs and is of only seven players in SEC history to record 60 or more round trippers. Smoak twice earned Most Outstanding Player honors in the NCAA Regionals, receiving the distinction in 2007 in Columbia and in 2008 in Raleigh. He started every game at first base for three straight years with 194 consecutive starts on the corner. Smoak played on three NCAA Regional teams and twice made it to the NCAA Super Regional. He was also a consensus first-team All-America his junior year in 2008 after batting .383 (90-for-235) with 23 HR and 72 RBI.
A MLB first round selection in 2008, Smoak has risen quickly in the Texas Rangers organization. Smoak was rated as the No. 4 best prospect in the Minor Leagues by Baseball America.