Titan’s streak longest in 2008

There is a good possibility that Westminster College’s 2008 baseball season will become known as the “Maiorano Streak,” in addition to the fact that the Titans enjoyed one of their best seasons.

Junior shortstop Nick Maiorano from New Castle High set the Westminster record for the longest hitting streak in one season, but his streak was also the longest in the nation in NCAA Division III this year, and ninth-best overall for a career in Div. III history.

After failing to get a hit in the first game of the season, Maiorano proceeded to hit safely in 35 straight games, including the final game of the year, which will allow him to carry over the streak to next season.

The record is 60 games by Damian Costantino of Salve Regina from 2001-03.

Credits his teammates for more chances to bat

Maiorano, who hit .318 (48-for-151) with 23 RBIs and a .383 on-base percentage, credits playing on a good team for helping him sustain his long hitting streak.

“We have a lot of great players on the team and by scoring so many runs I was able to get more at-bats and that gave me more opportunities,” said Maiorano, the son of Nick and Diane Maiorano who is majoring in political science and minoring in secondary education. He wants to become a middle school teacher.

“There were plenty of times when the streak almost ended six or seven times on my last at-bat in the game.”

And Maiorano’s fame might not have happened if it weren’t for a decision made by coach Carmen Nocera, also of New Castle, who completed his seventh season at the Westminster helm.

Against Thomas More, Nocera considered sending in a pinch hitter for the hitless Maiorano in his last at-bat in the game.

“We were losing pretty big and the coach started to make changes and putting in subs and pinch hitters, and came to me and asked what he should do. I said, ‘Do what you have to.’ He left me in for one more at-bat and I got a base hit,” said Maiorano.

“I think that he knew that if I got a hit in that game that it would be a school record [24 straight games with a hit]. I think that’s why he let me stay in.”

Got hits in his last two games in PAC tourney

Maiorano also recalled his close call in Westminster’s first game of the PAC tournament against Thiel, as he was pursuing his 34th straight game.

“We were down big, but in my last at-bat I got a single that was part of a big rally, but we lost,” he said. Maiorano said that only a few people knew about his streak as it progressed through the season.

“My roommates knew about it from the beginning, but the team didn’t find out about until I broke the school record. We kept it quiet. There were two or three guys on the team who knew about it,” Maiorano said.

He also didn’t think too much about it until his father mentioned to him after an early-season game that, “You have an eight-game hitting streak.”

Maiorano is looking forward to next season and the first few games for a chance to extend his career streak and possibly overtake Jay Quintana (Mary Washington, 36-game streak, 2003-04) and No. 7 Brad O’Connell (Wisconsin-Stout, 37-game streak, from 2000-2001), and hopefully others.

“It will be interesting to see how it plays out,” said Maiorano of next season. “Obviously you do don’t go looking for it. In the game you don’t think about it as much.”

XJohn Kovach writes about area college athletes for The Vindicator. Write to him at kovach@vindy.com.

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