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Minor league season winds down for locals

Bergman, Turley adds to standout seasons in playoffs with Modesto Nuts, Trenton Thunder.

September 15, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.

Christian Bergman (St. Francis High, 2006) starting pitcher, Modesto Nuts: For the first time since 2004, the Nuts earned a trip to the California League Championship Series after they captured the league's North Division title by defeating San Jose in a best two-out-of-three series and taking down the Bakersfield Blaze in a three-out-of-five affair.

Bergman, of course, had a big part to play in getting Modesto there. He finished the regular season as the league's pitcher of the year after he went 16-5 with a 3.65 earned-run average in 162 2/3 innings this season.

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The former Golden Knight has kept up his pace in the postseason. He picked up a win and a loss in two appearances — one start and one in relief — that spanned 12 innings. He's struck out 14 and given up just eight hits and two walks in the playoffs.

Bergman first pitched seven innings of three-run ball — two earned — in the California League North Division playoff opener against the San Jose Giants in the series opener Sept. 5. The Nuts couldn't save Bergman, who struck out nine, gave up six hits and one walk, from the loss, 3-1. It was his first loss since June 16.

Modesto, which finished second in the North Division in the regular season with a 73-67 record, bounced back and won the next two games in the best-of-three to move on and face the Bakersfield Blaze in the California League North Division Finals. Bergman's only appearance in the series came in relief Monday to start the fifth inning with Modesto leading 6-1.

Bergman picked up the win, 12-1, in dominating fashion, as he pitched the final five innings and struck out five, walked one and gave up two hits to pull Modesto within a game of the of the Blaze, who led the series 2-1 at that point.

The Nuts completed the comeback in the best-of-five set with 3-2 and 6-2 wins on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, to send them to the league finals against the Lancaster Jethawks.

Bergman has yet to appear in the league finals, which were set to continue Saturday at 7 p.m. After dropping the first two games of the series, the Nuts will need to win out in the final three games to capture the Pioneer League title.

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