Two of South Carolina's Big Three fulfilled their expectations on Thursday, getting their names called in the first round of Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft.
First baseman Justin Smoak and shortstop Reese Havens, Charleston-area natives who signed together three years ago, will likely depart Columbia once their contracts are finalized. Although each has a year of eligibility remaining, Smoak's No. 11 pick by Texas and Havens' No. 22 pick by the New York Mets are expected to result in hefty signing bonuses and a forfeiture of their senior years.
Havens confirmed he'd probably go pro while Smoak said a first-round choice would be extremely hard to turn down.
"Of course you got Mom crying and Dad excited and my girlfriend was there, she was crying and excited," Smoak said from his home in Goose Creek. "Everybody was just kind of jumping for joy and yelling, I guess kind of screaming, too."
Never miss a local story.
Smoak re-wrote the record books during his three years, taking over as the school's career leader in home runs (62), RBIs (207), walks (151) and total bases (485). He hit .383 last year with 23 homers and 72 RBIs and finished with 194 consecutive starts.
Havens upgraded his hitting this year, finishing just behind Smoak at .359. He belted 18 homers with 57 RBIs while sticking at short, although he may have to switch positions once he gets to the pros.
"They've obviously been two very special players and two very special young men," USC coach Ray Tanner said. "They've been outstanding students, on track for three years ... they've been everything a coach could ask for."
The third member of the trio, third baseman James Darnell, had to wait until the second round but was also picked. He went to San Diego with the 69th selection.
Darnell hit .306 with 19 homers and 81 RBIs. He is also not expected to return for his senior year.
USC and Clemson each saw a recruit picked high. The Tigers' Ethan Martin, a pitcher from Toccoa, Ga., was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the 15th overall pick. Hartsville native Jordan Lyles, a USC commitment, went 38th to Houston.
Coastal Carolina had two selections, with closer Pete Andrelczyk (Florida) and catcher Dock Doyle (Mets) each taken in the fifth round. College of Charleston's Jeremie Tice went to Cleveland in the sixth round.
Another familiar name to USC baseball, Lonnie Chisenhall, was also a first-round selection. Chisenhall turned down a 12th-round pick from Pittsburgh in 2006 to come to USC, but was kicked out midway through his freshman year after being arrested on burglary and grand larceny charges. A shortstop, Chisenhall spent 2007 at Pitt (N.C.) Community College and was chosen 29th by Cleveland.