Bernardino ERA Still Zero

Brennan Bernardino was a late rounder in this year’s draft and Cincinnati is hopeful he’s also a late bloomer after pitching just one competitive season at Division II Cal St. Dominguez Hills. Thus far he’s fit that bill while dominating Pioneer League hitters out of the Billings bullpen.

Billings rode the strength of a four-run third inning Sunday for a 6-4 win over visiting Great Falls. The Mustangs took the lead in the second when Garrett Boulware singled home the first run of the game. And Aregenis Aldazoro got the party started the next frame when he led off with a single. Two batters and two errors later Cory Thompson drove him in with an infield hit. He and Ty Washington then provided some excitement on the base-with a double steal in which Washington stole home. After another error Boulware delivered another hit and doubled home two. The Voyagers cut into the lead with three the next inning but the home team got one back when Washington doubled home his team’s final run in the bottom of the fourth.

Boulware led Billings offensively with two hits and three RBI while Aldazoro reached safely three times with a couple of hits and a walk. On the mound starter Tejay Antone was lifted in the fourth inning after allowing six hits and three runs (two earned). Jose Williams relieved him and finished the fifth allowing one run to pick up the win. Jacob Moody threw a scoreless sixth before giving way to Brian Hunter who pitched into the eighth in a scoreless outing. Brennan Bernardino then entered and retired all five batters faced for his fourth save.

It was Bernardino’s twelfth appearance since Cincinnati acquired him in the 26th round of this year’s draft. There are still a lot of things he has yet to do in his young professional career; one of them is to allow an earned run. Actually he hasn’t allowed an unearned one since his first appearance. He has allowed only nine hits/four walks in sixteen innings pitched. He’s also piled on 22 strikeouts over that time and kept his ground/air out ratio at 2.38 while holding opposing hitters to a .155 average.

The 6’4”/180# southpaw could not have asked for a better start to a professional career. At 22 years of age he is a bit old for the level after bouncing around a bit collegiately. The California native first pitched for LA Mission College before moving to California State University Dominguez Hills where he sat out a redshirt season in 2013. When he finally went to work for the Toros he soon got down to business with a 5-0 record and 1.69 ERA/1.12 WHIP. Given his start at Billings it’s no surprise that he had a 52/23 K/BB ratio for the Division II school without allowing a homer while pitching out of their bullpen before moving into the rotation midseason.

Bernardino could be a late bloomer as he’s added some height since graduation from Valencia High School. Perhaps his age has some effect, but while most new pitching prospects have a need to improve command he appears ahead of the curve. A lefty with good control and ability to keep the ball down makes a candidate to move up the system. After waiting until the late round in the draft he’s a bargain and should be ready for his first full minor league season come in 2015.

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