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Gamecock star Ethan Petry gives stamp of approval to Mainieri hire, new coaching staff

South Carolina baseball fans aren’t the only ones excited about the Gamecocks’ new coaching staff.

Add Ethan Petry to the list of folks fired up about new Gamecocks coach Paul Mainieri and an experienced group of assistants.

On Tuesday, the South Carolina Board of Trustees’ governance committee approved contracts for Mainieri (five years @ $1.3 million per year), pitching coach Terry Rooney (three years @ $475,000 annually) and Monte Lee (three years @ $550,000 annually).

Lee was the big one.

An assistant with South Carolina the past two years, the former College of Charleston and Clemson head coach was in the mix to become the Gamecocks skipper. Players and recruits alike went to social media voicing their support for Lee to become the South Carolina’s next head coach.

And while athletic director Ray Tanner didn’t make Lee the head coach, he did the next best thing: He made Lee the highest-paid assistant coach in college baseball and ensured he stays in Columbia for at least three more years.

The move likely eased the concerns of the current Gamecocks on the roster who are loyal to Lee. That group includes the slugger Petry, who tweeted “Let’s go Gamecocks” above a post announcing the Mainieri hiring. There was worry that the coaching change might push Petry and other top players into the transfer portal.

Said Kendall Rogers, the managing editor of D1 Baseball: “Once it looked like Monte Lee was staying, the scuttlebutt on Petry subsided. He’s locked in with the Gamecocks, and that’s obviously massive and great news for the #Gamecocks.”

Retaining Petry was priority No. 1 for whoever got the South Carolina job.

In two seasons in Columbia, the sophomore has hit .341 with 150 hits, 138 RBIs and has 44 home runs, putting him within striking distance of Justin Smoak’s school record for dingers (62) and RBIs (207).

He’s also been spectacular for the Gamecocks defensively (mostly in right field), committing just two errors all of last season.

Petry is the solid foundation that will make building a roster much easier for Mainieri and his staff.