South Carolina Baseball: Gamecock star named top catcher in college baseball

South Carolina baseball catcher was named the top catcher in the sport by's Michella Chester.
South Carolina baseball star Cole Messina
South Carolina baseball star Cole Messina / Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

South Carolina baseball fans have witnessed something special in recent weeks. Gamecock star catcher Cole Messina has been on an absolute TEAR that rivals some of the hottest hitting in recent USC history.

Since April 27th (the second game of the series against the Kentucky Wildcats), Messina has reached base in all 18 games he has played, put up some staggering statistical numbers, and set an all-time record.

Over that month of baseball, the Palmetto State native has starred for his home state program, logging 29 hits, 19 walks and HBPs, 5 stolen bases, 26 runs scored, 34 RBI, 6 doubles, 1 triple, and 10 home runs. He also has a postiive K/BB ratio, has raised his season slashline to .330/.465/.707/1.172, and has made just one error in the field despite playing a ridiculously demanding position.

Messina (obviously) was named to the All-SEC Tournament Team last week after reaching base 17 times and setting an all-time SEC Tournament record for RBI in a single season with 16. The previous record was just 13.

He has made his 2nd Team All-SEC selection look foolish and shown himself to be the best catcher in the Southeastern Conference. According to one national analyst, though, he also has proven himself as the best backstop in the entire country.

On Thursday, analyst Michella Chester announced her season awards, and she picked Cole Messina as the nation's top catcher.

It should come as no surprise that Messina is a semifinalist (1 of 16) for the Buster Posey Award, and he likely will become a finalist (1 of just 3) in the next week. The award will be given out at the end of June at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet after the conclusion of the College World Series.

Messina is also a highly-regarded MLB Draft prospect who was mocked as high as the 3rd round in projections for the 2024 MLB Draft. Those projections were before his latest hot stretch, so he could be in line to move up even higher before all is said and done.

Messina and his South Carolina baseball teammates will begin Regional play on Friday as they take on the James Madison Dukes at 2:00 PM ET in the Raleigh Regional (hosted by the NC State Wolfpack). The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

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