Florida International sophomore middle infielder Garrett Wittels is the biggest story in college baseball right now. Wittels is steadfastly pursuing one of college baseball's most famous records—Robin Ventura's 58-game hitting streak, the longest in Division I history. Wittels is nipping at his heels.
Two days after needing a ninth-inning double to keep the streak alive, Wittels extended his hitting streak—already the second-longest in D-I history—to 52 games with first-inning singles in both of FIU's Sun Belt tournament games Friday. Both were hard line drives. He finished 2-for-4 in Florida International's 10-9 win against South Alabama in this morning's elimination game, setting up a showdown against top-seeded Florida Atlantic, which is unbeaten in the tournament. That means the Panthers need two wins in two days against the Owls to prolong their season and give Wittels a chance to make a run at Ventura this spring. At No. 62 in the Ratings Percentage Index, FIU is a long shot to earn an at-large bid, though they have a respectable 7-8 record against the top 50—better than a number of other bubble teams.
If the Panthers lose today (they trail 4-3 in the third) and they do not get a bid, Wittels will have almost seven months to answer questions about the streak, and then will resume his pursuit in February. If he catches Ventura, he can set his sights on the NCAA's overall mark—60 games—held by Damian Costantino of Division III Salve Regina (R.I).
We wrote about Wittels in the Streakin' section of Weekend Preview back in April, when the streak was just 31 games. Here's a link.
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