Vandy wins series, but Tennessee packs punch against Leiter

ERIC OLSON
·3 min read
This Oct. 17, 2020, photo provided by Vanderbilt University shows Vanderbilt baseball pitcher Jack Leiter throwing during an NCAA college baseball game in Nashville, Tenn. Vanderbilt's Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter have proved to be the most fearsome 1-2 starting pitchers 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.(Joe Howell/Vanderbilt University via AP)

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.

SAVES RECORD

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.

OFFENSIVE OUTBURST

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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