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Touted Pitcher Zito Transfers to Pierce

January 13, 1998|ERIC SONDHEIMER

Barry Zito, considered one of the top freshman left-handers in college baseball last season, has transferred from UC Santa Barbara to Pierce College, making himself eligible for the June amateur draft, Brahma Coach Bob Lofrano said Monday.

"It's strictly to get exposed to the '98 draft," Lofrano said. "It's a career-type move."

Zito, 19, attended his first class at Pierce on Monday. He pitched this past summer in the Cape Cod League, going 3-2 with a 2.31 earned-run average. Last season at Santa Barbara, he was 3-6 and had 115 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings. Against Arizona State, he struck out nine batters in a row.

Lofrano said Zito's decision is similar to the move made by pitcher Alex Fernandez during the late 1980s. Fernandez attended the University of Miami as a freshman, transferred to Miami Dade Junior College and became a first-round choice of the Chicago White Sox.

Zito is Pierce's second top transfer from a Division I school. Right-hander Derek Morse, the 1996 City Section 4-A player of the year from Kennedy High, transferred from Cal State Northridge.

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