RJ Petit

Charleston Southern's RJ Petit, a 6-foot-9, 265-pound pitcher, has been named to the Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American team. Provided/CCU Athletics

When RJ Petit rolled out of bed Wednesday morning and looked at his phone, he had no idea why he had so many congratulatory text messages.

After some light digging, he found out: the Charleston Southern pitcher was selected to Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman All-American team.

“Most people knew before me, so that was kind of funny,” the Rock Hill native said. “But it’s really just a testament to everything we have going on at CSU. It’s a really good program.”

Petit is one of five freshmen from South Carolina colleges to make the All-American roster.

Davis Sharpe, a relief pitcher for Clemson, made the team, as did South Carolina reliever Brett Kerry. Two Wofford players, starting pitcher Hayes Heinecke and infielder John Dempsey, were also selected.

In high school, Petit was a thrower who didn’t have a ton of mechanics. Admittedly, he was humbled when he first arrived in Charleston and had to work on developing his pitches ahead of the 2019 season.

Used as a starter and reliever, Petit posted a 4-0 record with a 2.45 ERA in 40.1 innings of work. He added 50 strikeouts to just 20 walks.

It helps that he has an intimidating presence on the mound. Petit stands 6-foot-9 and weighs 265 pounds.

Just like his height, the All-American nod puts an instant spotlight on him.

“That’s what every player wants,” he said. “We want the recognition because it shows we’re doing our job. So I’m excited about what the future brings for me and for my team.”

The Buccaneers finished the season at 23-26, which was a slight improvement over 2018 when they were 19-35.

But Petit is excited about the future of the program.

“We have some really good players, and we’ll come back more experienced,” he said.

Here’s a look at the other Freshman All-American players in the Palmetto State:

Sharpe: A Dacula, Ga. native, Sharpe posted a 7-4 record with a 3.20 ERA in 14 starts for Clemson. In 84.1 innings of action, he struck out 84 batters.

Kerry: The Clemmons, N.C. native appeared in 22 games for South Carolina. He went 4-1 with a 2.62 ERA, and struck out 65 batters in 58.1 innings.

Heinecke: A native of Fayetteville, Ga., the Wofford pitcher led the Southern Conference in wins with a 10-2 record. His 2.65 ERA was the fifth best in the conference, and his 84 strikeouts were eighth in the SoCon.

Dempsey: The Wofford freshman from Maryland batted .324 in 61 games, adding seven homers and 41 RBIs.

Reach Derrek Asberry at 843-937-5517. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry

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