Bergman tough luck loser for Sox
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Reno Silver Sox pitching coach Dusty Bergman battled his way to a complete game and the Sox nearly overcame a three-run deficit, but in the end they fell short to first-half Golden Baseball League champion Chico.
The fourth-place Outlaws took a 3-2 win over Reno in front of announced crowd of 1,311 Sunday at Peccole Park to improve to 13-18 in the second half of the season and 38-31 overall in salvaging a split of the two-game set.
Last-place Reno fell to 11-20 and 29-39 overall.
Outlaws starter Greg Bicknell (1-1) matched Bergman’s intensity and showed that numbers can be misleading as well. Bicknell entered the game with a 10.80 earned run average, but went eight innings, allowing two earned runs, five hits and two walks while striking out nine batters.
Chico closer Todd Gelatka earned his GBL-leading 16th save, allowing one hit in pitching a scoreless ninth to preserve the win for the Outlaws, who will possibly be playing the Long Beach Armada for the league championship.
The Armada held a four-game lead over second-place Yuma and will face Reno in a three-game series beginning today.
“My mechanics were off – something went wrong in the second, third and fifth innings,” said Bergman (5-4), who is a 1996 Carson High School graduate and former major leaguer. “After the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth, I was fine.
“It was a fun game to play. I got outpitched. I got beat fair and square and that’s fine.”
Bergman gave up three earned runs and spread out seven hits and five walks in going the distance. He struck out three and, like Bicknell, hit two batters with pitches.
“He (Bicknell) had two pitches going today,” Bergman said. “He was hitting his cutter on lefties. I was enjoying watching him pitch. I would’ve liked to have had a little longer in between innings at times.”
“Our guys did a good job today,” said Chico manager Mark Parent. “Bicknell played well. (His loss) down in Yuma, it was only 115 degrees. This (weather) is more what we’re used to. He did well.”
The Outlaws didn’t sparkle offensively, but found ways to build a 3-0 lead by the sixth inning.
Chico right fielder Daniel Nava hit safely in his 16th consecutive game (he had a sixth-inning single) and had two walks, including one to lead off the second inning. After stealing second base, Nava came home on Scott Dragicevich’s single to open the scoring.
Center fielder Tyler Dean hit a single off Bergman to open the third and also stole second before scoring on a double by Jesse Kovacs.
The Outlaws sent seven batters to the plate in the sixth. Dragicevich (2-for-4, 2 runs batted in) hit an RBI single to score Kovacs, who reached base when he was hit by a pitch to open the inning.
Parent feels that in spite of his team’s less-than-stellar second half, the Outlaws are starting to get it back in gear.
“Right now we’re just trying to figure out who to have in our rotation,” Parent said. “We’re going to get it down to a four-man rotation and decide who to play and who to line up. Our guys are swinging the bat pretty good.”
After being held to just one hit over the first six innings, the Silver Sox began to come alive. Galena High grad Chuck Sindlinger hit an RBI single, scoring first baseman Adam Amar to cut the lead to 3-1 in the seventh, but the Sox stranded two runners when Sam Walker struck out to end the inning.
Designated hitter Juan Senreiso hit a double to score catcher Josh McLeod and cut Chico’s lead to 3-2 in the eighth, but Reno stranded one more runner when Kane Simmons – who finished 0-for-4 – struck out to end the frame.
Amar led off the ninth with a single off Gelatka and advanced to second on hitting coach/second baseman Mike Done’s sacrifice bunt, but Gelatka induced Sindlinger to ground out to third and then got Walker to pop up to second to end the game.
“(Bicknell) had a good cutter,” Done said. “He was keeping the ball down. We made an adjustment too late. We’re hoping to finish out the season strong. Long Beach is No. 1. We’re looking to get our bats going. Each game somebody is stepping up. It’s good. It’s more of a collective effort. It’s not any one person who has to put it all on his shoulders.”
After Reno finishes its series with Long Beach, it will host Orange County for its final four games of the season, including a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m.
“No matter what place you’re in, you want to play good ball,” Done said. “In your last 20 to 30 at bats, you want to turn it up and finish strong.”
Tonight’s game against Long Beach begins at 7 p.m. at Peccole Park.