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Why GW is Sun Belt Player of the Year

Sun Belt coaches, pay attention before casting your vote for Sun Belt Player of the Year.

The Sun Belt Conference will announce the Sun Belt Player of the Year during Tuesday's night's Sun BeltGw Home Run Derby and Awards ceremony in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

With the exception of FIU coach Turtle Thomas, who cannot vote for his own player, the rest of you Sun Belt coaches your choice is an easy one: FIU infielder Garrett Wittels.

Here's why:

Tell me something you coaches have done for 48 consecutive days that is as hard as getting a base hit.

Hitting a round ball squarely on the bat and having it find a hole -- where if you do it just 3 out of 10 times throughout your career, you become a Hall of Famer. 

Only 2 other players in baseball history (major league and Division I) have hit in at least 48 consecutive games: Joe DiMaggio, who holds the MLB record with a 56-game hitting streak and former Oklahoma State 3rd baseman Robin Ventura, who hit in 58 consecutive games and is the NCAA record holder.

The next longest hitting streak in the major leagues is by Willie Keeler of Baltimore in 1897 when he hit in 45 straight games. No one else in the bigs has reached more than 45 games, except Joe D.

GW is 2nd all-time in the NCAA record books with his 48 and counting.

Gww Need more from GW to have you put a check mark next to the Panthers infielder's name?

GW won the Sun Belt batting title with a .415 average, was 5th in hits with 85 -- despite missing 5 games due to injury and FIU having another game rained out. Give GW those 6 extra games and he leads the conference in hits.

GW also led his team with 53 RBI and was sixth in the conference with a .463 on-base percentage.

You want to talk fielding?

How about GW, who played three different infield positions (2B, SS, 3B) this season and racked up 112 assists, while committing just 7 errors.

Not sure how many of you coaches actually played the game (and I don't mean to sound like Hanley Ramirez with that statement), but switching around from 3 different positions is not an easy task, especially in the infield where each position has a different throw to make and the ball comes off the bat differently at each spot around the infield.

And when each of your teams played FIU this season, I'm sure there was play that GW made in the infieldGwf that made you say "aw, shucks, great googly, moogly". Yeah, you probably didn't use those words, but this is a PG-13 blog.

Finally, if you want to talk about the intangibles, then let's go back to May 2 at FIU's ballpark.

ULM vs. FIU in the series finale.

Bottom of the 8th inning, FIU down 7-4 and GW's hit streak is on the line with him being hitless thus far.

Jabari Henry [who if you haven't voted already, you need to vote this kid for Sun Belt Freshman of the Year -- he will be one of the Sun Belt's highest MLB draft picks before he leaves FIU] doubles and GW comes up knowing he is NOT the tying run and that the dangerous Jeremy Patton is on deck as the possible tying run.

So what does GW do? Instead of reaching for a pitch to try and get that hit to keep the streak going, he takes a 4-pitch walk to bring Patton up.

FIU would eventually tie the score 7-7 in the bottom of the 9th on....you guessed it....a Wittels RBI single.

If that is not a team player, then please show me who is?

If you need more intangibles, then spend 5 minutes talking to GW about the streak or any other baseball-related topic you will hear how he credits his teammates and coaches for his success.

And it's not Bull Durham-related "cliches are your friends"--speak. When GW says that he owes his success this season because of hitters like Pablo Bermudez and Henry in front of him and Patton, Mike Martinez, Tim Jobe and others behind him in the lineup, GW means it.

Because think about it, if those players were not hitting what they are hitting, then why would any sane pitcher pitch to GW? The sane pitchers would take their chances with other batters if that was the case and intentionally walk GW. Sort of like what opponents used to do to Albert Pujols before Matt Holliday arrived in St. Louis.

Relax, Crazy Cane, I am not comparing GW to Pujols.

So Sun Belt coaches, I hope you all did the right thing when they hand out the Player of the Year hardware on Tuesday night.

Remember when you take the trophy to the engraver, there is no I in Garrett and Wittels is spelled with 2 Ts.  

The Sun Belt Player of the Year has to be Garrett Wittels.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw From the where are they now file: former FIU baseball coach Danny Price is the leading candidate to become the head baseball coach at Miami Dade College. Wonder if this will have any impact on FIU's pipeline from MDC?

Aaapaw Like he did last season at the SBC Tournament, catcher Doug Joyce will represent FIU in the HomeJoyce Run Derby.

Aaapaw ESPN now is projecting FIU to be playing in the Gainesville Regional with Florida, Florida State and Bethune Cookman. Take a look: FIU in NCAA Tournament

Aaapaw Yeah, there are other candidates for Sun Belt Player of the Year and we might already know the answer to this poll question, but check your ballot anyway....




 

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Yep. Garrett has had a great year to this point. The real games start tomorrow.

Go Panthers !!!

Great blog Pete!... I liked the shot out to Crazy Cane, lol... Wittels also made a lot of plays at short and 3rd that a lot of other players couldnt make bc of his arm strength. He's had a great year and deserves the award, IMO.

Wow! thats an easy regional!!!(sarcasm) UF and FSU... But i'd take it in a second just to make it to a regional.

PP giving the shutout to our resident lunatic troll CC. I had missed that guy for the last couple of weeks, hopefully he hasnt gone back to his cave... def makes the blog great with his comedy relief

How do you know this is Pete writing this blog?

As far as the projected regional is concerned from ESPN, they are looking at this projection from a very long distance. FIU must have a good run in the tournament; I think Garrett and the boys can do it.

Looking at the pitching match-ups, I think it might be a good idea to save R.J. for FAU. That is of course if we can get by USA. I think Scott pitched a whale of a game against USA if memory serves. Winning the first two games of a double-elimination tourney is huge.

Let's get out there and play our game!

Hopefully once we get through South Alabama we can have a better showing against our rival FAU.. It can look something like this:

FIU Vs South Alabama= FIU Win
FAU Vs FIU= FAU Win
FIU Vs South Alabama= FIU Win
FIU Vs FAU= Semi's Game..

In other words we would have to beat South Alabama twice and FAU at least once to get into the Championship Game! They have a very hard road ahead but as long as they keep the fire on you never know whta may happen.. Most important game is the First game against South Alabama..

Go FIU!

I hate looking past S. Alabama because they are a solid team but I know we can beat FAU. We did it last Friday and outplayed them on Saturday before their walk-off home run to lead-off the bottom of the 9th.

Of course every game is going to be a test and our defense must stay focused but we've already shown that we can beat any team in this conference.

Danny price would probably do better in the juco if its true, he was only bad for the last two years in his career when he got into bad luck and recruited some bad student-athletes that couldn't handle the time management you need to have to play in any d-1 program like Miami and fiu. In juco you really don't need to look at a player education status as much as a university and solely recruit on talent alone...hopefully he gets the job and does good so people can remember him for the good not the bad, i like to see a comeback story
Its all bout the canes son. And i think the pipeline for miami and fiu will hurt a little if he does get hired, but i think it would hurt fiu a little more since you guys did fire him lol
beat the #1 team in the nation and ACC player of the year and going to another regional after going 20-10 in the acc
let the good time continue in Miami

We outplayed FAU all 3 games this past weekend. The Friday game, they didnt hit a ball hard. It was all bloop singles off the end of the bat. Even the HR in the 9th wasnt hit well; it was just hit high in the air and the wind was blowing out to left.

But you guys are overlooking WKU, im telling you FAU is going to have a tough time against Ridings. He is a veryyyy good pitcher.

As far as saving RJ, i dont think we have the luxury to try and "save" anybody. We need to take it 1 game at a time and put our best guys out there from the start to win as many as we can.

HAHAHAHA!!!!! Gabster, you guys beat the #1 team (in a few polls,not all) 1 game out of 3! I dont think that is much to brag about. Secondly, your 20-10 conference record got you guys a #4 seed, which isnt terrible bc we are #4 seed, as well, but dont act like c-UM is the best team in the nation please... I will make the same bet i try to make every year; I will start this year by offering a b et that c-UM will not make it to the CWS. Amount is up to you.

well, c-um im i'm pretty sure i never ranked on your team but i only wrote on this to talk about danny price but since you ranked on the U im goin to have to fire back. your the first person to ever say a homerun wasnt hit hard lol but the win just blew it out, who cares you still have to hit it in the barrel of the bat to hit it out, come on c-um thats pretty funny, your probably goin to take that joke personal because you take everything personal but come on, dont ever write that a homerun wasnt hit hard, it was just the wind lol, secondly beating a team thats #1 in any poll even if they are only ranked #1 in 1 out 50 polls, is still good because it tells you that somebody blieves they are the best, and they barely got beat by virginia c-um, if you goin to talk about injuries and how you barely lost to fau (which miami spanked a couple of times) than miami fans should cry about losing a series without their ace erickson pitching a single inning, which i'm pretty sure would of made a difference because hes the best in the state of florida, And dont compare a team #4 in the acc conference with a team in the sunbelt conference, any real baseball fan knows the acc is better than the sunbelt.
anyways, hopefully wittles continues the streak and goes for 58,
If THE season ended today, the streak would still continue next year right? or does he have to start all over? lol

wind*

FIUFan,

I'm pretty sure PP is the only one who would give a shout-out to crazy cane on this blog.

"Ranked"?... U came on here and said "its all about the canes son". You're not Kellen Winslow, son!

And i dont believe i am the only person to ever say that. The ball was not hit solid and it was not a bomb. It was a ball that the batter got a little under and it got caught up in the wind. Not that rare of an occasion there buddy, especially when the wind is blowing out hard; and the ball was still almost caught. If left fielder wouldve jumped and held onto the fence (bc he had plenty of time just standing at the fence) he wouldve caught it easily. And their fence has a metal pole in the middle of it, so it was def doable... Soooo, to correct you, you dont have to hit it solid to hit it out. Nothing personal, you just obviously dont know much about the game.

As for your UVA argument, UVA didnt even play their best players the whole series!!!! They took their best pitcher out after a few innings because those games didnt mean anything to them. They had already clinched the ACC regular season.

I dont recall crying about injuries in the FAU series, but if you say so. I may be wrong, but i cant recall. I said we OUTPLAYED fau all three games, but just didnt get it done on friday and saturday... "They barely got beat by virginia c-um", same can be said for FIU vs FAU, but in the end a loss is still a loss. FIU barely got beat by #1 ASU and that game was cut short, same thing.

c-UM beat FAU in mid-week games, they didnt have to face any of their weekend starters. You cant really compare the 2.

"ace erickson.....best in state of florida" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!! This comment right here shows where your heads at. Chris Sale DESTROYSSSSS, MURDERSSSS, DEMOLISHESS erickson. Come on now Gabster, please dont say that ever again.

No argument there, the ACC is a better then the SunBelt but by only 1 or 2 conferences according to RPI #'s. And if you actually read my post, i said the #4 seed isnt terrible and that i couldnt knock it. I just said that a #4 seed doesnt make you the best team in the world like you were trying to make your team to be. Please Read before criticizing.

It still continues, but im glad the streak is drawing fans from all over. Its a good thing for the program.

Serious question though Gabster, do you like the ACC tournament Round Robin format?... I hate that! i dont understand why they do that. They should have it double elimination like the majority of conference tourneys.

^ yea you didnt take it personal, c-um there is never an excuse you cant put together lmfao, i swear its like listening to my little brother coming up with excuses after beating him in a pick-up game, clearly you'll never loose an argument because some how you go around fact and interpret thing through the fiu fan eyes only, keep believing everything you write, and btw c-um virgina clinch the acc on the second game of the series and miami was playing the seires with no urgency, for example hernandez taken out after just 5 innings.
and yea i actually like the acc format because in the 2 game elimination format, a team with no loss can get eliminated in the championship game by only losing one game the whole entire tournament even if the team they are facing has already one loss. I remember watching the 2006 big east tournament when louisville ran the table the in the conference tournament and faced a one loss team in Notre dame and got eliminated even after having the same amount of losses as Notre dame

^ i didnt.... My so-called "excuses" are always backed up with an explanation or info, unlike others.

*lose

... and how can i interpret things through an FIU fans eye's only if i said that i never argued or tried to argue that the SunBelt was better then ACC?!?! i agreed with you there from the start. The other points i didnt agree with and stated my reasons.

I know when the clinched and i know when hernandez was taken out. It was actually beneficial that you guys took out Hernandez bc he had some tough innings. With that said, UVA also started a Freshman pitcher against u guys on thursday(only game your team won) night and kept the rest of their boys on a very tight leash.

Tournament: Thats how the CWS used to be too, until they switched it to a 3 game series. Championship game was 1 game, whether the team had lost 0 or 1... The benefit the team that has lost 0 gets is more rest time and pitchers that have thrown less innings... I like how they changed the CWS, but dont like the conference format like that.

the team with the deepest pitching staff ussually win but to bad neither school in miami are deep enough in pitching to run the table in a regional or conference tournament so idk how far either will go, especially if erickson and rumor has it erickson are both done, hopefully one of our teams run in to a team like boston college who had like a 20 inning game and ruin any chances of them going far in regionals lol

c-UM, I hear what you're saying but I watched Scotty mow down S. Alabama in our 8-1 win last Saturday. He threw 8 1/3 giving up 5 hits, 1 e.run, no walks and struck out 7. R.J. was the pitcher who lead FIU to the 12-4 schellacking of FAU.

I believe in match-ups and I don't think South is going to be too thrilled if Scotty took the mound against them. Also, FAU, I'm sure, remembers game 1 and who was on the mound for that one. Baseball is a game of confidence and match-ups and I believe those two match-ups give us an advantage.

Gabster, i can agree with you on that. Its going to take some hot bats for both teams to be successful in their respective tourneys and some clutch pitching from starters, hopefully taking them deep into games... Would love to see that FIU/UM regional matchup, been waiting for that.

FIUFan, another thing to consider is that scott pitched on Friday, whereas RJ has an extra day of rest, being that he pitched on Thursday and for a limited # of innings. And we all know Scott needs all the rest he can get, since he had arm tightness late in the season.

I see what your saying as far as USA not wanting to see Scott again. Scott also pitched well against FAU on Friday. I was at the game and seriously did not see them hit a ball hard off of Scott (just for Gabster, the HR was hit off of another pitcher). I think any game, not matter who is pitching is going to be an all out battle against FAU, thats how rivalry games are.

I hear you about the rest. If that's really a concern then I say forget it. But, on the other hand, I think that success breeds success and these guys should be pretty confident given their last outings.

Also, as far as I remember, USA has a bunch of lefty hitters in their lineup, and since every starting pitcher did so well against South Alabama a couple of weeks ago, bringing in our #1 pitcher, that happened to be a lefty, is a plus.

At any rate, I hope we can come back to this year's tournament with a little bit more life than last year.

As far as Pete's blog, that's a very good persuasive blog in terms of how Garrett should be named the Conference Player of the Year.

Go FIU!!

no crazy cane comments?

CC, who did you vote for on the player of the year in SBC?

It's Garrett Wittels!! Congratulations to our own Conference Player of the Year!

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