Broken hand puts Lockwood's streak on hold
USF's baseball team will finish its season without its most reliable bat, as redshirt freshman outfielder Ryan Lockwood, owner of the nation's longest hitting streak at 30 games, won't step to the plate again this season because of a broken bone in his left hand.
Lockwood broke the second metacarpal in his left hand -- that's on the index finger -- while sliding into home plate during USF's loss to St. John's on Saturday. He missed Sunday's final game in that series, only the third game he's missed all season. Lockwood would be available to pinch-run the rest of this season -- he leads the Bulls with 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts, twice as many as his closest teammate.
You'd think participating in a game and not getting a hit would end a hitting streak, but apparently it doesn't. We asked the Tampa Bay Rays, for instance, and they told our Rays beat writer, Marc Topkin, that by major-league standards, a hitting streak ends only when a player has an official at-bat in a game and fails to get a hit. So if Lockwood were to play in a game and get two walks, a hit-by-pitch and reach on a sacrifice bunt, his streak would still be intact. USF pointed us to the NCAA rulebook, which confirms this on page 127 and clarifies that a game with a sacrifice fly and no hits can end a streak. So Lockwood can pinch-run as much as he wants and not risk ending his streak.
Tuesday night's game at Florida takes Lockwood back to the school where he began his college career, and coincidentally, he never played for the Gators, redshirting his only season on campus due to injury.
USF (26-24, 11-13 in Big East) enters the final weekend of the regular season in seventh place in the conference standings, needing a solid finish in three games against second-place Notre Dame to lock up one of eight spots in the Big East tournament, played next week in Clearwater.
Lockwood's .415 average is USF's highest by a whopping 64 points, and the best by a Bulls player in 35 years -- the only higher season average in USF history is Mike Campbell's .439 average in 1973. His streak should help his chances at Big East Rookie of the Year honors, as well as being named to Freshman All-America teams. He's second on the Bulls in RBIs (37), third in runs (44) and second in walks (27).