Multiple outlets name South Carolina baseball star as All-American

South Carolina baseball star Cole Messina was named an All-American by Perfect Game and the NCBWA.
South Carolina baseball catcher Cole Messina
South Carolina baseball catcher Cole Messina / Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a busy week for the South Carolina baseball program.

The Gamecocks hired legendary coach Paul Mainieri to lead the program (a five-year deal worth about $1.3 Million per season), and associate head coach Monte Lee is returning in the same position for three years as the highest-paid assistant in the country. Terry Rooney (pitching coach) and John Hendry ("assistant coach" is the only detail known about his position) round out what is an elite coaching staff.

With the new hires, multiple big-name Gamecocks have announced their intention to return to USC next season. One who hasn't, though, is catcher Cole Messina. Expected to be selected in the first or second round of the 2024 MLB Draft, Messina likely is heading to the professional game. However, before he departs, he received some well-deserved recognition.

Word came out on Wednesday that two national college baseball outlets have placed Cole Messina on their All-American squads. Both Perfect Game and the National College Baseball Writers Association have rewarded Messina with a spot as a Second Team All-American after a tremendous season in Columbia.

Despite Messina being the superior player both on offense and defense, Texas A&M Aggies backstop Jackson Appel was named to the First Team by the NCBWA. Perfect Game's selection of Sam Houston State Bearkats star Walker Janek to the First Team was more defensible as he was a comparable player to Messina this season. Perfect Game actually slotted Messina in as a designated hitter in order to get more catchers onto the All-American team.

On the season, Cole Messina put a tremendous .326/.465/.701/1.166 slash line, smacked 41 extra-base hits (21 home runs, 19 doubles, and 1 triple), scored 64 runs, and drove in 71 RBI. He also was one of the best defensive catchers in the sport and filled in several games at first base and designated hitter so that he could stay in the lineup instead of receiving rest days.

Messina also had one of the best hot streaks in program history down the stretch of the season. From April 27th through the start of the NCAA Tournament, Messina reached base in every game. In those 18 games, he logged 29 hits, walked or was hit by a pitch 19 times, stole 5 bases, scored 34 runs, hit 6 doubles, logged one triple, and crushed 10 home runs while maintaining a positing K/BB ratio.

In the SEC Tournament, he set an all-time record for RBI (16) in a single tournament, and in the Gamecocks' first NCAA Tournament game, he hit a 2-out home run in the bottom of the 9th inning that tied the score and allowed Carolina to come back to win in extra-innings.

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