By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You would be hard-pressed to find a pitcher having a more dominant season in local college baseball than Division III right-hander Tommy Bergjans.
After throwing eight outstanding innings in a 3-1 win over Franklin and Marshall on Friday, Bergjans is 7-0 in eight starts this season with a 1.27 ERA for Haverford College. In 56 2/3 innings, the sophomore from Manhattan Beach, California, has allowed just eight earned runs and struck out 78, while walking 13 batters.
“I think I’ve been playing, obviously, the best baseball I’ve played of my entire life,” Bergjans tells KYW Newsradio.
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Bergjans had a very good freshman season in 2012, going 6-4 for the Fords with a 2.72 ERA in 76 innings, but he has taken it to another level here as a sophomore.
“I have control over all three of my pitches,” Bergjans says of his success in 2013. “My curveball is my ‘plus’ out pitch, which has been on pretty much all season. And then my fastball, I’ve been throwing that a lot harder compared to last season, kind of upper 80’s, so I’ve been able to get a lot of swinging strikeouts with that, as well. And then also, compared to last year, my change-up’s actually improved a lot. I’ve been able to throw that over the plate for strikes early in the count.”
In a season full of highlights, the biggest for Bergjans came on April 20th against Washington College. In that game, Bergjans went the distance on a six-hitter and breaking his own program record with 18 strikeouts in a 4-2 win.
“I felt good, but I didn’t expect 18 strikeouts,” Bergjans says. “I felt confidant everything was working well, but it didn’t really feel like anything particularly different than really any of my other starts this year.”
Bergjans has helped Haverford, which went to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time in program history, to a 26-9 record this season. Still lots of unfinished business in 2013 and beyond for him with the Fords, but Bergjans says he has started to think about what could be, after college.
“I decided to go to a small, liberal arts school for a combination of excelling academically and having the opportunity to play baseball, never really imagined I’d be able to play professional baseball,” Bergjans says. “But since I’ve been doing so well, I guess it’s started to come into my mind, and I’ve been thinking about it a bit.”
Haverford wraps up the regular season Tuesday against Neumann.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.