Former Golden Knight raising his game

Joe De Pinto off to a strong start for USC baseball, while other locals try to get into the swing of things on the diamond.

March 24, 2011|By Grant Gordon,

GLENDALE — The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Joe De Pinto (St. Francis High, 2007) senior, USC baseball: An All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention pick a season ago, De Pinto has raised his numbers and production over the first 20-plus games of the season.

An everyday starter in the infield and the heart of the Trojans lineup, De Pinto is hitting .333 (24 for 72) through 21 games played — all of them starts.


He's also scored 14 runs and driven in 16. His 10 walks lead the team, as do his five stolen bases.

Unfortunately for De Pinto and the Trojans, they're mired in a three-game slump, which has dropped them to 8-13. The second baseman is two for 10 in that span.

In the team's last victory — an 8-2 win over Pacific on Friday — De Pinto went three for four with a run and two runs batted in, as well as a walk. That victory culminated a four-game winning streak for the Trojans.

De Pinto and Co. will look to get back on the right track Friday, when they begin a three-game home set against archrival UCLA.

Jesse Meaux (Glendale High, 2007) senior, UC Santa Barbara baseball: The Gauchos ace went seven strong in his last outing, improving to 2-1, as UCSB defeated Nevada, 5-3.

Meaux, a former All-Area standout, allowed eight hits and three runs over seven innings, striking out three to one walk.

On the season, Meaux, who was drafted last season by the Philadelphia Phillies, has made four starts and sports a 3.58 earned-run average through 27 2/3 innings pitched. He's struck out 16 batters and has relinquished a .252 opposing batting average.

UCSB is scheduled for a three-game road trip to Oregon State beginning Friday before traveling to face Loyola Marymount on Wednesday, where he'll likely face off with another Glendale native in Evan Simonitsch, who plays for the Lions.

Evan Simonitsch (St. Francis High, 2007) junior, Loyola Marymount baseball: The Lions have dropped two in a row and Simonitsch is hitless in both games.

The team's last victory, a 4-0 triumph over UC Irvine on Saturday saw Simonitsch go two for four with a run batted in.

The starting outfielder has batted up and down the top half of the LMU order and is hitting .265 (22 of 83) through 22 games played, having started in 21. He's also scored eight runs and driven in five. Simonitsch is also one of three Lions to have swiped a team-high four stolen bases.

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