South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks put two on Golden Spikes Award list

South Carolina baseball stars Ethan Petry and Cole Messina are both on the preseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award given to the nation's top player.

South Carolina baseball catcher Cole Messina
South Carolina baseball catcher Cole Messina / Cyndi Chambers / USA TODAY NETWORK
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South Carolina baseball fans have seen the names "Ethan Petry" and "Cole Messina" pop up on the national scene a lot this offseason. The two players were All-Americans in 2023, and many national outlets have projected them to repeat in 2024.

In addition to the countless number of preseason All-American and preseason All-SEC labels being placed on the two Gamecocks, D1Baseball named Petry the top outfielder in the sport and tabbed Messina as the best catcher in the country.

Mark Kingston's team is expected to be one of college baseball's top offensive teams again this spring, and Petry and Messina are going to be hitting right in the heart of the batting order for the Gamecocks. If they can come close to last year's production, the postseason awards lists certainly will include them once again.

This week, it was announced that the two right-handed bats made the preseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award.

Given by USA Baseball to the country's top amateur player each year, the Golden Spikes Award is winnable by any amateur baseball player (including different levels of college ball other than D-1, junior college, and high school), but every winner other than Alex Fernandez (1990) and Bryce Harper (2010) has come from a Division-1 program. Both Fernandez and Harper played in junior college at Miami Dade Community College and Southern Nevada College, respectively.

Last year, USA Baseball included Petry and Gavin Casas on its midseason watch list in 2023. Petry went on to be a semifinalist for the award.

Just one Gamecock has ever brought home the Golden Spikes Award at season's end. Starting pitcher Kip Bouknight, who set numerous South Carolina baseball records in 2000, won the honor that same season.

Messina and Petry won't vie for the award by getting batters out but by batting balls out of the yard. Last year, the duo finished first and third on the team in long balls as Petry hit 23 baseball over the wall, and Messina finished with 17 home runs. Messina is also viewed as one of the best catchers and leaders in college baseball.

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