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Vanguard completes sweep

College Baseball

Bromberg throws four-hit shutout in opener and Simmons goes distance to win Game 2 for Lions.

February 11, 2012|By Barry Faulkner

COSTA MESA — Ever since he graduated from Palisades High in 2007, J.R. Bromberg has been the little brother who could.

Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2007 and 2008, the latter after his freshman year at Los Angeles Pierce Community College, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-handed pitcher has teased scouts and college coaches alike with an above-average fastball, a fluid motion, a big-league physique and impressive genes.

But unlike his older brother David, who has risen to the Triple-A ranks in six professional seasons in the Twins' organization, J.R. has been beaten up and bounced around.

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But if Saturday's performance for Vanguard University is any indication, the Lions senior has finally found a home and, perhaps, a stage to showcase himself for yet another professional opportunity.

Bromberg threw a four-hit shutout to key a 5-0 win over visiting Oregon Tech in the first game of a nonconference doubleheader.

In his second start of the season, he got 18 ground-ball outs and three more on infield pops. He struck out three, walked one and hit three batters. Only one Oregon Tech runner reached third base.

"That is the best game I've ever pitched," Bromberg said after the first nine-inning performance of his life. "It's crazy, because I'm only on four days rest. But my pitch count was down [111 pitches]. My first start I threw 80 pitches in four innings. That last out [on a game-ending double play, the second of two turned by the Lions defense that committed two errors behind him] honestly was really enjoyable."

Bromberg has enjoyed little if any success the last three seasons. Though experiencing no major health problems, he threw just 42/3 innings at Cal State Los Angeles last season. He allowed eight hits and seven earned runs.

Two seasons ago, he did not pitch at Fresno State, at which he had signed after two seasons at Pierce. As a sophomore for the Brahmas in 2009, he was 2-2 with a 12.00 earned-run average in 21 innings, spanning eight appearances and four starts.

After Saturday's gem, the former All-CIF City Section standout who was the Western League MVP as a senior in 2007, has surrendered just two earned runs and 10 hits in 13 innings for the Lions, who seized a 3-0 lead after two innings. Bromberg is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA.

Oregon Tech got its first hit, a bounding ball to the third baseman, with two outs in the fifth inning.

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