Bruso wins huge game for Stars |

Bruso wins huge game for Stars

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

The minor league wins keep coming for STHS graduate Greg Bruso but none of them had more at stake than the one he notched on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Bruso helped the Huntsville Stars nail down the Southern League Western Division Championship Series with a 2-1 victory over the Birmingham Barons.

“My most memorable was when I beat Chico in the playoffs because I hadn’t beaten them in four years,” said the former UC Davis pitcher. “But I’ve never pitched in a game with this much at stake before.

“There was a little bit of pressure because I’m new to the club, but it’s fun knowing they wanted me to pitch in that game.

The Stars won the best-of-series 3-2 to advance to the Southern League Chammpionship Series against Carolina. That series started Tuesday night in Huntsville, Ala., with Carolina edging the Stars 3-2.

“We almost came back. We scored two in the ninth and had runners on second and third with two outs and the last guy out,” Bruso said.

The right-hander Greg Bruso picked up his second win in three starts with Huntsville after being traded by the San Francisco Giants straight up for major-leaguer Eric Young last month. He has a career-high 14 for the season.

Although the innings are piling up — 177 — Bruso sailed through the first six innings of his last start. His six shutout innings saw only three Birmingham Barons reach base.

But in the seventh, Gabe Alvarez led off with a single and advanced to third on a double by Scott Bikowski. After allowing a sacrifice fly, Bruso got out of the jam with a groundout and a popout.

“I felt great the last inning,” Bruso said. “It was my third time going through lineup and they definitely knew what I had. I was definitely glad to get out there giving up one run.”

He was lifted after the seventh and Jeff Hundley and Chris Saenz preserved the one-run lead.

In his series-clinching performance, Bruso struck out two and walked one, while allowing four hits.

After playing for last-place clubs at Single-A San Jose and Double-A Norwich earlier this season, Bruso is excited to be in the postseason.

“It’s a lot more fun playing for a winning club, that’s for sure … especially around the clubhouse guys are having a lot more fun and it’s always a lot more fun when you’re playing for something,” Bruso said.

With several weeks having elapsed since his trade from the Giants to the Milwaukee Brewers, Bruso has become more pleased with the swap.

“At first I was a little disappointed because I enjoyed playing for the Giants’ organization,” said Bruso, who grew up rooting for the Giants. “As I thought about it more, I realized I might get a better chance in this organization. The name of the game is to get to the big leagues. I’d like to do it with the Giants, but it’s a business and you have to learn to go with the flow.”

As big as the game was that Bruso pitched in his last outing, his next one may even be bigger. He’s scheduled to start Game 5 on Sunday if the best-of-five championship series goes the distance.

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