Smoak excited about Gamecocks' title shot

Smoak excited about Gamecocks' title shot

ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Justin Smoak is one happy Gamecock.

Smoak, who starred for the University of South Carolina baseball team from 2006-2008, watched his former team clinch a spot in the College World Series championship series on Saturday night with a win over archrival Clemson.

"It's awesome," Smoak said. "I'm very excited for them and the University and Coach [Ray] Tanner and the team. They've done a great job. They're in the championship series and hopefully they can win two more."

Smoak, who is Carolina's all-time leader in home runs, RBIs, walks and total bases, says he'll definitely be rooting for his former team against UCLA in a best-of-three series beginning Monday. He wasn't able to watch most of the World Series leading up to Friday night, but he made sure he watched the winner-take-all game. "I watched just about every pitch," Smoak said. "I caught it in the bottom of the first, and from then on out I watched the whole game. It was a good win."

The Rangers travel to Anaheim this week to take on the Angels, but Smoak says he'll make sure he catches some of USC's games.

"We're flying out at 6:30 or 7, I think," Smoak said. "Hopefully I'll have my phone on and I'll be able to talk to somebody and figure out what's going on."