South Carolina Baseball: Gamecock star named among country's top sophomores

South Carolina baseball star Ethan Petry was named the #2 sophomore in the country heading into the 2024 season.

South Carolina baseball star Ethan Petry sliding into 2nd base in last year's Super Regional against Florida.
South Carolina baseball star Ethan Petry sliding into 2nd base in last year's Super Regional against Florida. / Cyndi Chambers / USA TODAY NETWORK
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South Carolina baseball fans know they have one of the country's best players on their team in Ethan Petry.

After starting the 2023 season on the bench due to a poor fall and preseason, Petry forced his way into the starting lineup after a few nice performances as a pinch hitter, and he never looked back.

He set South Carolina baseball freshmen records with 23 home runs, 75 RBI, and a 1.204 OPS and positioned himself inside the top-10 all-time in single-season homers, RBI, slugging percentage, and OPS. He also led the 2023 Gamecocks in hits, home runs, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS.

Oh, yeah: he did all of that while learning a brand new position in right field.

Petry (rightfully) has been heralded all offseason by the national media as one of the country's best young players and recently was mocked in the top-5 picks in the 2025 MLB Draft by multiple publications despite not having a set position as a prospect.

His Gamecocks also could be one of the nation's top clubs in 2024, returning much of their production from last year's lineup, adding even more firepower to the offense, and bolstering an MLB Draft-depleted pitching staff with transfer portal gems.

It is easy to see why Ethan Petry is receiving a lot of attention. As the best player on a championship-caliber South Carolina baseball squad, the Florida native was named by Perfect Game as the 2nd-best sophomore in the country, trailing in their rankings only Texas A&M's Jace Laviolette.

Probably returning to right field again in 2024, Petry is probably the best right-handed bat in the country, and his strong throwing arm has helped his transition to playing in the outfield. Whereas he had a pretty bad experience in fall camp and early spring (winter) practice last season, Petry looked good this past fall, indicating he could be ready to take a step forward this spring.

He was an All-American after last season and is a preseason All-American heading into this year. Every Golden Spike Award list has him as part of the short group of names in contention for the sport's most prestigious honor. It would surprise almost no one if #20 joined Kip Bouknight as the only Gamecocks who have ever been granted that award.

It's hard to imagine how Ethan Petry could get any better, but he has the talent to do just that if things go well for him in 2024.

Next. South Carolina Baseball: Former Gamecock returning to Columbia as part of the coaching staff. South Carolina Baseball: Former Gamecock returning to Columbia as part of the coaching staff. dark