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Baseball  . 

Ethan Petry Hopes to Pick Up Where He Left Off

by Brad Muller, Spurs & Feathers

Ethan Petry did things on the baseball diamond that freshmen are not supposed to be able to do in the SEC. So, what does the sophomore outfielder do for an encore? Try to get better.

“I’ve been working on my outfield position a lot,” said Petry, who played third base in high school and earned numerous All-America honors last year along with First Team All-SEC accolades after leading the Gamecocks in hitting (.376), home runs (23), and RBI (75). “I’ve been working on tracking balls. I went out there last year, and I don’t think I ever played in the outfield my entire life!

“I thought it would be easy, and that I’d just be chilling out in right field. Then the ball gets hit to you and there’s top spin or side spin or it’s got some carry to it. It was a pretty big adjustment. I’m much more comfortable now.”

While he expects a lot of himself, his gawdy offensive numbers aren’t causing any stress or tension heading into year two.

“I don’t think there is any pressure,” said Petry, who is studying mass communications with a concentration on sports media. “I just want to go out there and help out my team. I’m trying to treat it like last year; just go out there and have fun with my teammates. It doesn’t matter about the results I get. I just want the team to get the best results.

“I wouldn’t say I was surprised by what I did last year. I knew the hard work was going to pay off. It was just a matter of time. The light clicked for me, and when it did, I was just riding the high. I had a couple of lows during the season, but that happens. I was more of a guy who hit for average in high school, but my big physical build helped me out when I got into the weight room with (executive director for athlete performance) Billy (Anderson). He made me more physical at the plate, and it took off from there with the power.”

Ethan Petry from 2023
“I was hitting home runs in tee-ball. I'd hit it really far.”
Ethan Petry  . 

The Florida native quickly endeared himself to Gamecock fans with his early success, but he put the college baseball world on notice in the series opener against No. 1 LSU at Founders Park when he went yard against No. 1 overall Major League Baseball draft pick Paul Skenes, the first long ball hit against the All-American last season, and blasted a grand slam later in the game when the Tigers went to their bullpen just for good measure.

“I remember a lot of loud noise in that game,” Petry said with a grin. “That’s all I remember.”

Petry has been doing that sort of thing for a while now. He started playing baseball when he was four years old, and it didn’t take him long to make an impact.

“I was hitting home runs in tee-ball,” Petry said. “I’d hit it really far.”

Despite a decorated prep career, Petry was not drafted out of high school, but that didn’t faze him.

“My idea the whole time was to go to college,” Petry said. “I didn’t think going into the minor leagues for eight years would have been good for me, when I could have come here and got all this training. Now, look at what it has done for me!”

Petry is certainly among the fan favorites, especially among the youngsters in the crowd.

“You just have to have fun with it and enjoy that these kids look up to you and always help them out if they need it,” said Petry, who said he doesn’t get recognized as much as you’d think, unless he’s wearing his baseball hat. “I’ve got a bad haircut right now, so if I’m not wearing a hat, they would not recognize me.”

As he prepares for the season, Petry only has one team goal on his mind.

“Omaha,” Petry said. “I just want to win. That’s all I think about.”