Q&A With Senior Right-Hander Jonah Dipoto
Jonah Dipoto is in his fourth and final year of college baseball as one of just two current Triton arms who have made 50 or more career appearances. After doing a bit of both as a freshman in 2016, the right-hander was a reliever in 2017 and a starter in 2018. Whatever head coach Eric Newman asks of the veteran leader for this last campaign, Jonah will do, and do well. He's our latest Q&A guest ahead of Friday's season opener in Irvine (1 p.m., weather permitting).
Q: You've made 18 starts and come on in relief 33 times in your career. What is the biggest difference between preparing for a start, and preparing to come out of the bullpen?
JONAH: I think the biggest difference is just the weekly preparation. With starts, you get a bit more time to recover and ease into the day, because you only have to blow it all out on one outing. Whereas out of the pen, you have to be ready to go all weekend long, so you have to be able to bounce back and recover quickly. In a weird way, mentally the preparation is pretty similar. It's something I've talked about with Coach Newman a lot. The mentality of either closing for one inning out of the pen, or closing for nine as a starter. Either way, you treat each inning the same.
Q: You're one of just seven Tritons who were both in Grand Prairie, Texas, two years ago, and Cary, N.C., a season ago. Can you describe how it feels to have been a part of leading this program to back-to-back regional titles?
JONAH: It feels amazing. The journey we have been on the past two years will be something I'll never forget. Nothing prepares you for the excitement and energy in those World Series games. I can't wait to make that journey again this year.
What has been the one memory that has stood out to you the most from these two runs?
JONAH: The one that sticks out to me the most is definitely our walk-off for the regional championship this past year. That entire game was unbelievable, and coming back the way we did those last few innings was incredible.
What can Triton fans look forward to out of this year's pitching staff and some of the new faces on it?
JONAH: I think this year our staff is going to be able to do some really special things. We've got a lot of good arms returning from last year, and we have a lot of exciting transfers and freshmen. Luke Mattson, Brandon Weed and Zach Tresemer are all going to be a huge part of the staff this year, and have been really fun to watch all preseason. I'm pumped with how all the freshmen have been working, too, and we'll definitely see them do some big things this year.
Duplicating last year's remarkable 500 runs offensively will be tough, but do you think this year's lineup can step up and do some exciting things again?
JONAH: I really do. I know it's hard replacing guys like Tyler Durna and Zander Clarke, but I really do believe that we have something special brewing at the plate, and I think our offense is going to really be a force to be reckoned with.
How has it been so far adjusting to Matt Harvey as your new pitching coach?
JONAH: The transition wasn't too difficult. We've had three pitching coaches since I've been here, so having someone new isn't too out of the ordinary. The second I met Coach Harvey, I couldn't wait to get to work with him. He's been a game-changer for me, and I know he's made a huge impact on our entire staff. I really think he was exactly what we needed to push this team over the top and take us all to that next level.
You were born in New York and have been to a number of different places through your time as a Triton, summer ball stints in Washington and Wisconsin, etc. Outside of San Diego, of course, what's been maybe a top spot? What's been your favorite place to take the mound specifically in the CCAA?
JONAH: Outside of San Diego, my favorite would have to be Seattle. It's a very similar feel, outside of the weather. For a favorite mound, I'd have to go with (Cal State) Monterey (Bay). For whatever reason, I just feel extremely comfortable there.
What can you say about your team and individual goals for your senior season?
JONAH: The team goal is just to get back to the World Series and win it. I think our team definitely has the talent. It's going to be a special ride for sure. Individually, I'm just going to do everything I can to help us win in every way and become the best pitcher I can possibly be.
How close are you to completing your degree in political science, and what's next for you after this final year as a Triton?
JONAH: Actually, I'm finishing up with my degree this quarter. What's next is hopefully playing professional baseball.
Your father of course is former professional pitcher and current Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. What is it like to have a father with so much Major League Baseball pedigree as both a player and now a front-office executive?
JONAH: It's awesome. He has always had so much wisdom and experience to hand down to me throughout my life. Whether it's on or off the field, my dad is always there for me and is my greatest role model. He's gone through everything I'm going through. With all of his experience throwing in college and the pros, it's helped me to be prepared for everything that baseball and life has really thrown at me.
Previous 2019 Triton Baseball Q&A Features
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDtritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDtritons), Instagram (@ucsdtritons) and Facebook (UCSDtritons). For more information on UC San Diego Baseball, follow on Twitter (@UCSDbsb) and Instagram (@ucsd_baseball). Head coach Eric Newman is also on Twitter (@CoachEricNewman).