Friday, March 6, 2009

Two for the books

Bert Smith sat in the clubhouse before Friday's game with Harvard talking with some of his other base-stealing teammates about how many they were going to get this day -- just like they always do before a Jacksonville State baseball game.
The senior second baseman hadn't had much luck early in the year, but he got two very significant swipes against the Crimson.
Smith stole second and third in the third inning to set up the Gamecocks' first run in their 4-1 victory. Just as significant, they moved him atop JSU's all-time stolen base list.
He now has 71 in his career -- in 81 attempts.
"I finally got it," he said. "There are two or three guys on the team who steal bags all the time and we sit around and talk about how many bases we're going to steal. Like today, I told Blake (Seguin) I was going to steal at least one bag and he said he was going to steal at least one bag. I'm not sure if he did, but we both talked about it before the game."
Smith has his sights on stealing 35 bases this year, but it took into the seventh game to get his first this season. In fact, he had had only one attempt prior to Friday's game.
He wasn't getting antsy. He has a green light, but he knows when to exercise caution.
"Every time I got on base, it was pretty much a guy who was quick to the plate," Smith said. "It's tough to steal when somebody's a 1.1 or 1.2 to the plate. The guys have been pretyt quick to the plate, so they've been holding me pretty good.
"Plus, I've been in the league four years. Everybody knows once I get on base I'm going to try to steal, so they always try to make it a little quicker to the plate."
Harvard starter Daniel Berardo was a tough pitcher to run on, too. But Smith found a way. Twice.

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