Cole Messina Impresses Alabama Head Coach at SEC Tournament

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Mark Kingston, Alabama Press Conference, SEC Baseball Tournament

Known as a standout player since high school, Cole Messina has built a reputation for himself as a Gamecock. Hailing from South Carolina, he has accumulated impressive stats of 34 home runs and 122 RBIs during his three seasons in Columbia.

Most recently, Messina earned the title of second team All-SEC after delivering a batting average of .320 and a slugging percentage of .675 this season. Aside from his exceptional skills, coaches have taken notice of his positive attitude and approach to the game.

Alabama head coach Rob Vaughn expressed his admiration for Messina, saying, “The hard thing with Cole, he’s one of my favorite kids in the league. His demeanor is awesome. Like, he’s a competitor. He does a great job behind the plate. But he’s just a likeable kid. I didn’t like him much today, obviously. But likeable kid.”

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Alabama’s pitchers struggled to contain Messina’s hitting prowess during the game. Consequently, Messina concluded the day with three hits, two runs, and three RBIs. He even launched a solo home run in the fifth inning, marking his 17th homer of the season, matching his performance from the previous year.

“The hard thing with a guy like Cole is the way you get him out is the same way that he does a lot of damage. Like you can get him on a good breaking ball, but if that breaking ball stays up, he’s going to hammer it. And you saw that against Davis in the middle innings,” Vaughn explained. “We had first base open, and he’s got two strikes, and it was kind of like, ‘Hey, bury everything.’”

Following his standout performance against Alabama, Messina continues to showcase why he is grabbing the attention of rival coaches.

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“I think it speaks to the parity of this league and, shoot, Cole’s heck of a player. I hope we don’t have to see him again until we get to Omaha, that’s for sure. But good player, savvy player, and he was good,” Vaughn remarked. “But that’s what’s tough.”

Not just a threat at the plate, Messina has also garnered recognition for his defensive capabilities behind the plate. Messina and the Gamecocks triumphed over Alabama with a 10-5 victory in the first round of the SEC Tournament.

“The way you get him out is — you know it, you know how you can pitch to him, but if you make a mistake you better duck and cover, and he got us today,” Vaughn admitted.

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