June 5, 2010
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stretches hit streak to 56 in season-ending loss
By Christina De Nicola
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
streak will have to wait until next February.
Garrett Wittels (left) wasted no time extending
his hit streak to 56 games with an RBI double in the first, but
Florida International lost 15-9 to Dartmouth in an elimination
game Saturday afternoon at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light
Wittels finished the game 3
for 5 with two RBI and stands two games shy of Robin Ventura’s
record set in 1987.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” said Wittels,
who raised his batting average to .417. “Going into the
offseason it’s just going to make me want to work that much
harder to get back to this point so it doesn’t end like this.”
With the score tied at 8 in the bottom of the
sixth, Chris O’Dowd popped up what would have been the inning’s
final out, but first baseman Tim Jobe appeared to lose the ball
in the sun.
Cleanup hitter Jason Brooks made third-seeded FIU
(36-25) pay with a grand slam to break the game open for the
fourth-seeded Big Green (27-18).
“Throughout the game they’d thrown me breaking
balls early and that’s all I got until I got ahead 2-0, so I
didn’t think things would change when they went inside with a
fastball,” Brooks said. “I was just up there looking for an
off-speed pitch and the pitcher hung a changeup.”
Brooks drove in six total runs and Zack Bellenger
hit two home runs, a two-run shot in the third and a solo one in
the fifth (6, 7).
Dartmouth added insurance three insurance runs in
the seventh courtesy of four hits and an error.
Each Dartmouth batter collected at least one hit,
and as a team tallied 17.
Right-hander Cole Sulser (8-0) relieved Robert
Young, who surrendered six runs on eight hits in two innings,
and pitched five innings of two-run ball for the win.
“Basically I just tried to come in and pitch to
my strengths,” Sulser said. “I’ve done an alright job with
keeping my fastball low and I knew if I came in and attacked the
hitters and go right after them my defense would back me up.”
First out of the bullpen, left-hander Corey
Polizzano (4-5) took the loss after allowing six runs on seven
hits in 3.2 innings.
For the second consecutive game the Panthers got
on the board first, but the Big Green took a 2-1 advantage into
FIU and Dartmouth would swap five-run innings in
the second and third, respectively.
The Panthers took an 8-7 lead in the fifth on
four consecutive hits, but Bellenger tied the game with his
second homer of the day.
Despite the loss, FIU head coach Turtle Thomas is
optimistic. Eight of nine hitters from today’s lineup will be
back next season.
“You crawl before you walk, you walk before you
run, you run before you sprint, and in the third year of making
the regionals we feel good about that and about our players,”
Dartmouth, which won its first NCAA Regional game
since 1987, will face the loser of the top-seeded
Miami/second-seeded Texas A&M game Sunday at noon.
“Our kids were incredibly tough and poised and
maintained their pose and their confidence even going down in
the second inning,” Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen said. “I’m
pleased for the school and the program. It took us a little
longer than I would’ve hoped… Now we continue to raise the bar.”
(photo courtesy of FIU Media