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Titans’ starter makes fix

Fullerton All-American Renken comes out on top against Bergman, despite similar stat line Saturday.

April 10, 2010|By Barry Faulkner

IRVINE — Two pitchers with All-American credentials and semi-unsightly earned-run averages put up similar numbers Saturday at Anteater Ballpark.

But the outcome was very different for Cal State Fullerton junior Daniel Renken and UC Irvine junior Christian Bergman, in a Big West Conference clash won by the Titans, 6-3, in front of 1,156.

Renken, a Friday-night starter last season who has been demoted to the Saturday role, entered with an ERA of 5.54. He was also coming off three straight subpar starts in which he had surrendered 26 hits and 15 earned runs in 17 combined innings.

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Bergman, who posted a 2.90 combined ERA and was 14-5 the previous two seasons as a full-time starter, came in with a 6.02 ERA in 2010.

Bergman, who took the loss to fall to 3-2, was victimized by four unearned runs while allowing six hits and walking one in 5 1/3 innings.

But it was Bergman’s throwing error that opened the door to a four-run Fullerton third that allowed the Titans (17-12, 4-1 in conference) to even the series and pull back into a first-place tie with the No. 18-ranked Anteaters (18-10, 4-1).

The series concludes today at 2 p.m. in a game televised nationally by ESPNU.

Bergman hit Anthony Hutting in the back with a throw to first base after fielding a swinging bunt near the first-base line to open the third.

Four Titans hits later, including a run-producing triple by Gary Brown, an RBI single by Carlos Lopez and a two-run single by Billy Marcoe, and the Titans had turned a two-run deficit into a two-run lead.

Renken, who gave up two unearned runs in the second inning to fall behind, hung in there to improve to 4-2. He allowed five hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out four.

Despite a similar line, Renken emerged with a good feeling, while Bergman, some would suggest, has yet to shake the struggles that have plagued him this season.

“I think he’d be the first to admit that he has been very inconsistent in the strike zone,” UCI Coach Mike Gillespie said of Bergman. “He’s a guy that has to command the strike zone, primarily meaning he has to [keep the ball] down. If he doesn’t, like anybody else, he gets hit.”

Fullerton Coach Dave Serrano, who guided the Anteaters to the 2007 World Series, had a more positive assessment of Renken.

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