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Salve Regina Outfielder’s Hit Streak Ends

March 12, 2003

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) _ Damian Costantino’s NCAA-record hitting streak ended at 60 games Tuesday, one day after he broke New York Yankees third baseman Robin Ventura’s 16-year-old mark.

Costantino, an outfielder for Division III Salve Regina of Newport, R.I., failed to get a hit in the first game of a doubleheader against Baldwin-Wallace. It was the first time he finished a game hitless since March 25, 2001.

On Monday, Costantino became the Joe DiMaggio of college baseball, hitting safely in his 59th and 60th straight games _ breaking the record of 58 games set by Ventura for Division I Oklahoma State in 1987.

The major league record, of course, is held by DiMaggio, who hit safely in 56 consecutive games for the Yankees in 1941.

Costantino, a 24-year-old junior from Warwick, R.I., planned to meet Ventura Thursday before the Yankees’ spring training game against the Boston Red Sox in Tampa.

In his first at-bat Tuesday, Costantino grounded to third against Baldwin-Wallace starter Bob Glavan. Costantino hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third inning, driving in Salve Regina’s third run. He flied out again in the fifth to finish 0-for-2.

After the game, Costantino said he felt some relief that the streak is over.

``I can’t wait to start another,″ he said.

Costantino almost had his streak snapped in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, striking out in his first three at-bats. But he lined an 0-1 pitch just inside the first-base line for a one-out double in the seventh inning, extending his run to 57 games and keeping the record chase alive.

Costantino’s streak began April 1, 2001, against Rhode Island College. He hit safely in the final 21 games of the 2001 season, then in all 35 games he played in 2002.

Costantino broke the Division III record last April against Johnson & Wales, hitting safely in his 47th straight game.

Salve Regina opened the season Sunday. Costantino entered the year hitting .459 for his career, with eight homers and 63 RBIs.