May 21, 2010
Wittels continues to hit for
By Brian Buckey
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
best thing about a freshman is he becomes a sophomore.
are the words of his coach and they couldn't ring any truer for
Florida International University sophomore infielder Garrett
Wittels has a hit in every game he has
started during his sophomore season and owns the nation's
longest hitting streak at an astounding 47 games. The streak is
tied for second in NCAA Division I history with a 47-game streak
by Phil Stephenson of Wichita State in 1981. The top mark is a
58-game streak by Robin Ventura of Oklahoma State in 1987.
feels great," WIttels said of the hit streak. "Especially being
up there with someone like Robin Ventura. He played in the big
leagues for a while. He was a superstar in college as well as in
the major leagues. It definitely means a lot and I'm humbled by
Wittels, who grew up in Bay Harbor Island,
Florida, chose FIU over interest from NC State, Miami (Fla.) and
his freshman season, Wittels struggled to adjust to college
pitching. He played in 46 games, starting only 30. He hit .246
with one home run and 16 RBI.
head coach Turtle Thomas said Wittels, like other college
freshmen, had to adjust to everything from new surroundings to
new classes to new teammates and coaches.
the time they get to about the end of their freshman year, they
become sophomores," Thomas said. "He finished hot. He hit in
seven games in a row at the end and then had an 0 for 1 in the
conference tournament as a pinch-hitter."
Wittels used the momentum he gained from
the end of his freshman year and was off and running to start
his sophomore year. And he hasn't stopped hitting since.
a guy that definitely uses the whole field from foul line to
foul line, which is good," Thomas said. "He's gotten about equal
number of hits to right as center as left."
.410 batting average leads the team and his 50 RBI are tied for
first on the team. Wittels says this year he is more mentally
prepared when he comes to the plate.
think the mental side of my game has improved the most," Wittels
said. "I have an approach for each at-bat and I'm not really
swinging at pitchers' pitches and I'm not being afraid to have
one or two strikes on me. It's really just looking for a certain
pitch and going up there with a plan."
says he never speaks to Wittels about the hitting streak, but he
knows what it means to Wittels and to the FIU program.
a hallowed record that's been around for a long time," Thomas
said. "He's starting to get within shouting distance of it. He
still has quite a ways to go, but every game brings a little bit
more notoriety to himself and to our program. We're hoping this
thing just continues for whatever it takes to get it done. It
means a lot to our players because they're invested in this
thing as much as he is."
(photos courtesy of FIU Media