FORT MYERS, Fla.- In the long history of collegiate athletics there have been records that have stood the test of the time and those that are constantly changing. Our #2 moment of the FSW Athletics year brings us to one that a Buc freshman now owns, Rebeca Laudino's collegiate record 49 game hitting streak.
Her streak began rather inconspicuously as she notched a pair of hits in each of the Bucs first two games of the year, but then didn't record another multi-hit effort until FSW's 10thgame of the year when she had three hits in a big win over then #14 Salt Lake. She really caught fire in the middle of February when she put together nine straight games of two or more hits and then after a mere one hit game, started another long multi-hit game streak, earning her both NJCAA and Fastpitch News National Player of the Week awards. Her hitting streak hit 40, in late March against rival State College of Florida, still mostly undenounced to anyone in Bucs land who was more focused on their 39-1 overall record than the personal accolades of one of their stars. A two hit game against Polk State tied the NCAA Division I record of 43 games, held by Coastal Carolina's Sara Graziano since 1994. In the Bucs next contest she was a perfect 3 for 3, matching the all-time collegiate mark across all levels at 44, set by Heather Bortz of NCAAA Division III Moravian in 2004. Looking to break the record, Laudino's chances were fading in game two of the Bucs doubleheader with St. Petersburg as she was 0-2 with a walk after five innings of play, but with one out in the sixth inning, in her final at bat of the contest, she crushed an RBI double off the wall in left to keep the streak alive and set the all-time record at 45 straight games with a hit. She didn't stop there, recording hits in each of the Bucs next four games, including a pair of three hit games against SCF to all but seal the Suncoast Conference title for FSW.
Laudino's 49 game hit streak came to an end in about the most unselfish way as possible, as in a tie game in the seventh inning against Hillsborough late in the season, she didn't try to take a big rip with a 3-1 count in likely her last at bat of the contest, but she left it low for a leadoff walk, and eventually scored the game winning run for the Bucs in a 3-2 walk off victory.
Unaware of the streak until after she had already broken the record, Laudino took the news in stride saying "I am not really going to try to do anything different. I am the leadoff hitter, so it is my job to get on base any way that I can, whether that is bunting, slapping, or hitting."
Laudino finished the season receiving Suncoast Conference Player of the Year and 1st Team NJCAA All-American honors. She hit .527 with 98 hits on the year, cracking 18 extra base hits and stealing a team best 43 bases for the 54-3 Bucs.
Tomorrow we will reveal our #1 moment of the FSW Athletics year, another culmination of events for the four Bucs programs.
#1- Revealed July 19th