South Carolina Baseball: Two Gamecocks named preseason 1st-team All-Americans

Sotuh Carolina baseball junior Cole Messina and sophomore Ethan Petry have been named preseason 1st-team All-Americans by D1Baseball.

South Carolina baseball sophomore Ethan Petry
South Carolina baseball sophomore Ethan Petry / Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

Over the past couple of weeks, South Carolina baseball fans haven't been too happy with the folks over at D1Baseball. As one of the leaders in college baseball coverage, their top-25 polls hold some weight, so when Mark Kingston's club slotted in at 25th in the D1Baseball preseason rankings (significantly lower than in the other polls), the Gamecock Faithful had their feathers ruffled a bit.

Aaron Fitt, Kendall Rodgers, and company might have earned their way back into the good graces of Carolina fans (at least a little bit) with some projections for their preseason All-American squads.

D1Baseball selected Ethan Petry and Cole Messina as preseason 1st-team All-Americans. The Gamecocks are the only program to have two position players on the D1Baseball 1st-team.

Petry played his freshman year at a new position, and by the end of the season, he held his own in right field. The real story for the big right-hander, though, was his bat. Petry shattered almost every South Carolina baseball freshman record by belting 23 home runs and knocking in 75 runs as he hit .376/.471/.733/1.204 en route to receiing the national freshman of the year honor from Perfect Game.

Petry was an All-American by almost every outlet imaginable last season, and he was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award. He is expected to start the year back in right field, but he did work at his more natural third base some this offseason.

Messina was another offensive superstar for the Gamecocks in 2023, smacking 17 home runs, hitting 18 doubles, and driving in 60 runners as he slashed .307/.428/.615/1.043 on his way to All-American honors.

The catcher was also one of the biggest leaders on the team last spring, and when injuries plagued the Gamecocks, he filled in some at third base and first base. His impact on the pitching staff was clear, however, as the Carolina hurlers were much better with Messina behind the dish than anyone else.

If Petry and Messina can replicate their success from last year, and a couple of Gamecock pitchers step up to fill the voids left by their five (or six if one counted incoming transfer Matt Duffy) MLB Draft selections from last year's pitching staff, South Carolina baseball will be a force to reckoned with in 2024.

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