Florida International sophomore infielder Garrett Wittels is close to breaking a 23-year old streak, but he'll have to wait until 2011 to do it. Wittels run-scoring double in the first inning of last Saturday's 15-9 elimination loss to Dartmouth at the Coral Gables regional extended his hitting streak to 56 games, two shy of Robin Ventura's NCAA Division I record. Ventura hit in 58 consecutive games for Oklahoma State in 1987.
The Wittels Streak
Let's get started: Way back in February, on opening day against Maryland, Wittels began his streak with a bunt single leading off the fifth against Terps' pitcher Brett Harman.
Pardon me: Wittels moved up the all-time list throughout the spring and summer. After he became just the 10th player to have a hit streak of at least 40 consecutive games with an eighth-inning triple against Arkansas State May 9, Wittels passed Austin Peay's Chuck Abbott for the fifth-longest streak (43 games) a week later against South Alabama. In the Florida Atlantic series, May 20-22, Wittels passed Arizona State's Roger Schmuck (46) and Phil Stephenson of Wichita State (48).
Getting it out of the way early/waiting until the last minute: Wittels extended the streak in his first at bat 18 times, and in his last at bat 10 times. Most notable of the last-at-bat hits were his 12th-inning single after he had gone 0-for-3 with two walks against Arkansas Little Rock March 26, and an eighth-inning single in a lightning-shortened loss to Arizona State March 7.
I'm a little superstitious, so is my uncle: Wittels has a few superstitions going through his streak, including wearing the same shorts, sliding pants and socks for each game. No word on whether they're clean before every game. Wittels also won't chew any gum besides Bubbilicious Watermelon and his uncle brings a voodoo doll to each game.
I'll pitch too: Wittels pitched in four of the hit streak games, compiling 5 2/3 innings. On the day he extended his streak to 52 games against Florida Atlantic in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, Wittels pitched three scoreless innings and picked up the victory.