June 4, 2010

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CBI Live
Wittels wins battle, A&M wins war

By Christina De Nicola

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


Florida International’s Garrett Wittels (left) stepped to the plate in the sixth inning 0 for 2 with his 54-game hitting streak on the line.


With a 3-0 count, Wittels got the green light and lined a shot over the second baseman’s glove and to the right field wall for his 20th double of the season.


The base hit extended his hit streak to 55 games, which is just three behind Robin Ventura’s record set in 1987.


“I looked down at Coach [Turtle] Thomas and he gave me the green light and we were down 8-1 at the time,” Wittels said. “It was a good pitch to hit, fastball away, and I was able to put a hit on the barrel.”


But it was all Texas A&M as the Aggies scored in every inning but the second in a 17-3 rout of the Golden Panthers Friday afternoon in game one of the Coral Gables Regional at the University of Miami’s Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.


Barret Loux (11-2), Texas A&M’s ace, pitched eight innings and allowed three runs on six hits with 10 strikeouts.


“He settled in and was very good,” head coach Rob Childress said. “We’re able to save the rest of our pitching staff for the rest of the weekend.”


Every Aggie batter collected at least one hit. As a team, Texas A&M, the Big 12 Tournament champions, tallied 20.


Hitters one and two– Joaquin Hinojosa and Tyler Naquin- collected three hits apiece to pace the Aggies (41-19-1).


“Be aggressive,” Hinojosa said. “That was my job to start it off good and try to get on base.”


Initially, it looked as though FIU (36-24), the Sun Belt Tournament champions, would ride the momentum of a strong hometown following.


Pablo Bermudez and TJ Shantz started the game with back-to-back singles. After Wittels flied out to shallow right field, Jeremy Patton produced a sacrifice fly to right to give the Golden Panthers an early 1-0 lead.


In the bottom of the inning, cleanup hitter Joe Patterson, who drove in three runs and scored three times, hit his eighth home run of the year, a two-run shot. The Aggies knocked five homers in the game.


“I had a good day today, but today’s over so we need to come out tomorrow. We were struggling there until we learned to take it game-by-game,” Patterson said. “After a certain amount we were just trying to keep having good at-bats back-to-back and just trying to stay hot.”


A four-run fourth broke the game wide open at 8-1.


For the fourth straight inning the leadoff man got on base for the Aggies when Andrew Collazo, the ninth batter, singled. With one out Naquin bunted for a hit and Brodie Greene followed with an RBI double.


With runners at second and third and one out, Patterson hit a sacrifice fly and Matt Juengel blasted a two-run homer to left-center, his 10th long ball of the year.


“It was not a good game for us,” Thomas said. “We talked about all week breaking through that pressure barrier that goes into another round. We honestly went out tight.”


The losing pitcher was R.J. Fondon, who dropped to 5-4 after giving up four runs on five hits in just two innings of work. Six Golden Panthers pitchers saw action in the game.


(photo courtesy of FIU Media Relations Office)