South Carolina junior catcher Justin Dalles has signed a professional contract with the Baltimore Orioles.
A sixth-round selection by the Orioles in last week’s Major League Baseball draft, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Dalles leaves after his only season in Columbia. The second-team All-SEC standout batted .324 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI in 55 games for the Gamecocks.
This was the fourth consecutive year he was drafted. He was chosen in the 15th round out of high school by the New York Mets in 2006, and he was selected both seasons out of St. Petersburg Junior College – the 40th round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007 and the 26th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008.
He is scheduled to report to the Aberdeen (Md.) IronBirds of the short-season Class A New York-Penn League. Dalles became the second USC player to turn pro this week after outfielder DeAngelo Mack, who signed Monday with the New York Yankees.
-- Neil White