Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter have proved to be the most fearsome pitching duo in college baseball, and either one could be the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
The last two weeks, however, have shown they’re not untouchable.
Rocker gave up three homers to Georgia in five-plus innings in his previous start, then bounced back to limit Tennessee to two hits in seven innings in the Commodores’ 5-0 win Friday.
Leiter, son of 19-year major leaguer Al Leiter, was the one to struggle this past weekend. The sophomore had surrendered just one home run in 68 1/3 career innings before Tennessee went deep on him three times over a span of 11 batters Saturday.
Connor Pavolony and Evan Russell hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning and Russell hit another off Leiter in the seventh.
Russell finished his three-homer day with an eighth-inning grand slam off Luke Murphy to help the Volunteers to an 8-4 victory. Russell homered again Sunday in a 10-4 loss and has 10 for the season.
Russell also hit three homers against LSU on March 27.
Asked if he eats anything special before multi-homer games, he said, “I had some Cinnamon Toast Crunch this morning. Other than that, I don’t know what the secret is. I had no intention that this was going to happen. It’s pretty cool that it did.”
Rocker and Leiter are a combined 15-1 with a 1.31 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 110 1/3 innings.
IN THE POLLS
Arkansas (30-6) won two of three against Texas A&M and remained the consensus No. 1 team in the polls Monday.
D1Baseball.com and Collegiate Baseball newspaper rate Vanderbilt (28-6) second and Texas (30-8) third.
Baseball America has Mississippi State (27-8) second and Vanderbilt third.
A TRIO OF GEMS
Alek Jacob pitched Gonzaga’s first no-hitter since 1990 in the Bulldogs’ 10-0 win at Pepperdine on Friday. Jacob matched his career high with 12 strikeouts and walked two.
Elliot Carney pitched Wofford’s first no-hitter since the program moved to Division I in 1995. The senior struck out seven and walked three in a 115-pitch outing in a 5-0 win over UNC-Greensboro on Saturday.
Carney leads the Terriers with 50 innings pitched after throwing only two-thirds of an inning the previous two seasons because of injuries.
Mississippi left-hander Doug Nikhazy pitched a one-hit shutout in a 9-0 win over Mississippi State on Saturday. Nikhazy struck out 12, walked two and didn’t allow a runner past first base in the Rebels’ first nine-inning complete game since 2014.
20 IN A ROW
Unbeaten Fairfield’s four-game sweep of Monmouth extended the nation’s longest win streak to 21. The Stags were just 2-9 in last year’s pandemic-shortened season. Texas owns the second-longest streak, at 13 games.
Jake Mulholland became Oregon State’s all-time saves leader when he pitched a perfect ninth inning against California on Saturday. Mulholland also got the save Sunday and has 39 in his career, two more than previous record holder Kevin Gunderson (2004-06). Mulholland has nine saves this season, tied for third nationally.
Long Beach State scored its most runs in 23 years in a 28-10 win over Pacific on Sunday. The Dirtbags’ run total came against 10 pitchers and was their highest since they hung a school-record 30 on Nevada in 1998.
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