May 30, 2010

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Around the Tournaments
FIU, Wittels Advance to Regionals

St. John’s, Texas A&M, FSU, LSU Capture Conference Crowns

One of the best stories of the year in college baseball will continue.

Garrett Wittels (right) extended his hitting streak to 54 games - four short of Robin Ventura's NCAA Division I record of 58. What's more is that his Florida International University teammates just kept hitting along with him.

The Panthers pounded out 20 hits and scored six in the seventh inning and three more in the ninth inning to outlast Troy 14-10 to win the Sun Belt Tournament Sunday and advance to the NCAA Tournament. T.J. Shantz went 4 for 6 with a homer and three RBI, and Jeremy Patton went 2 for 4 with a homer, two runs and two RBI - a day after ripping a huge three-run homer to help eliminate top-seeded FIU.

Wittels went 2 for 6 with two runs and a RBI.


The Trojans (36-25) won 18 of 24 to end the season and battled till the end against FIU, scoring four in the bottom of the ninth. Chase Whitley went 3 for 4 with his 10th homer, two runs and three RBI, and Ryan Ditthardt went 4 for 5 with a run and a RBI.


Big East

#4 St. John's 3, #2 Connecticut 0
In Clearwater, Fla., Kyle Hansen allowed two hits in six scoreless innings to lead St. John’s to a win over Connecticut that put the Red Storm in the NCAA Tournament field for the third time in four years. Hansen (8-1), the freshman younger brother of former Red Storm star Craig Hansen, was named the tourney MVP after allowing one earned run in 14.1 innings overall. On Sunday, he allowed a second-inning single and a sixth-inning double. From there, Bruce Kern (1.1 IP), Ryan Cole (.1 IP) and Daniel Burawa (1 IP, 11th save) preserved the lead for St. John’s (40-18). Joe Panik went 2 for 5 with two RBI, and Greg Hopkins went 3 for 4 for the Red Storm. Connecticut will serve as a regional host, likely as a No. 2 seed.


Big 12

#4 Texas A&M 5, #6 Baylor 3

In Oklahoma City, Brodie Greene ripped a game-winning, two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning as Texas A&M nipped Baylor to win the Big 12 title. The homer capped a huge day for Greene, who went 4 for 5 with two runs and two RBI. He had a bunt single in the ninth, when the Aggies scored twice to force extra innings. Joe Patterson and Matt Juengel had RBI singles as Texas A&M (40-19-1) tied the game at 3. Logan Vick and Raynor Campbell each had two hits and a RBI for the Bears (34-22).



#5 Florida State 8, #7 NC State 3

In Greensboro, N.C., Rafael Lopez went 3 for 4 and drove in three – including the go-ahead run in the seventh – as Florida State captured its first ACC title since 2004 by beating NC State. Devon Travis and Jayce Boyd added two RBI apiece, and James Ramsey went 4 for 5 with two runs for the Seminoles (42-17). Andrew Ciencin went 3 for 4 with two solo homers for the Wolfpack (38-22), who likely played their way into the NCAA Tournament. State catcher Chris Schaeffer was injured in a collision at the plate and taken off the field in an ambulance, delaying the game for about 10 minutes.



#8 LSU 4, #7 Alabama 3 (11)

In Hoover, Ala., it was a three-peat at the SEC Tournament as Tyler Hanover singled in the game-winning run in the top of the 11th inning to give LSU a win Alabama. Matt Gaudet (2 for 5, 2 RBI) singled and moved to second on an infield single by Mikie Mahtook. Matt Fury pinch-ran and scored on a Hanover (3 for 5) single to left. Anthony Ranaudo (5-2) tossed three hitless innings with five strikeouts to pick up the win for the Tigers (40-20). Ross Wilson went 2 for 3 with a RBI, and Andrew Miller went 2 for 5 with a RBI for the Crimson Tide (37-22).



#2 Milwaukee 6, #1 Wright State 3

In Gary, Ind., Sam Sivilotti went 2 for 3 with a run and three RBI, and Chad Pierce tossed six solid innings as Milwaukee topped Wright State to take the Horizon title. Leading 4-3 in the ninth, the Panthers (33-24) added a run on an error and another on Jonathan Capasso’s RBI single. Garrett Gray and Jake Hibberd hit solo homers to get the Raiders (31-25) close at 4-3.



#2 Central Connecticut State 9, #1 Sacred Heart 3

In Bridgewater, N.J., Pat Epps ripped a two-run, opposite-field homer to break a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the seventh to help Central Connecticut State knock off Sacred Heart to nab the Northeast Conference title. The Blue Devils (33-21) won three straight games after losing to the Pioneers (31-27) earlier in the tourney. Epps finished with three hits and four RBI, and Sean Jones-Miller (2 hits, 2 RBI) and Sean Allaire (3 for 5, 2 R, RBI) also had big games for the Blue Devils. Tyler Riordan stepped up with 6.2 innings of relief with two hits and one run. Steve Tedesco went 2 for 4 with a run for Sacred Heart.



#2 Jacksonville State 10, #1 Tennessee Tech 8

In Jackson, Tenn., Bert Smith went 3 for 4 with three runs and a RBI, and Andrew Edge went 2 for 4 with a homer and three RBI as Jacksonville State beat Tennessee Tech in the Ohio Valley Conference title game. Steven Leach (3 for 5, 2 R, 2 RBI), Kyle Bluestein (3 for 5, 2 R) and Daniel Adamson (3 for 5, R) also played big roles for the Gamecocks (32-24) overcame an early 4-0 deficit to win its third title since 2004. Tanner Freshour (6-1) posted the win, working 3.1 innings, and Alex Jones closed with four innings to earn his sixth save. A.J. Kirby-Jones capped a monster year by going 2 for 4 with his 26th homer and three RBI for the Golden Eagles (31-25).



W3 Grambling State 15, E3 Alcorn State 2

In Shreveport, La., Adrian Turner allowed seven hits and two earned runs in a complete game, and Steve Kletke went 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBI as Grambling State won its first SWAC title since 1985 by beating Alcorn State. Four other Tigers contributed two RBI apiece: Chris Wolfe (2 for 5, 2 R), Arthur Mazierski, Milton Barney and Brandon Smith. Brandon Hollins went 2 for 4 with a RBI for the Braves.



#4 Hawaii 9, #1 Fresno State 6

In Mesa, Ariz., Jeffrey Van Doornum went 3 for 4 with his 12th homer, two runs and three RBI as Hawaii tripped Fresno State to win its first conference title in 18 years. The Rainbows (33-26) will be making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2006. Collin Bennett had two more hits and a RBI to break the tournament record with 13 hits, and Kevin Macdonald and David Freitas added two hits and a RBI apiece. Steve Detwiler went 2 for 3 with two RBI for the Bulldogs (38-25).

(photo courtesy of FIU Media Relations Office)