COLUMBIA, Mo. — Jack Leiter is making a habit of being stingy on the mound and spotless on the scoreboard.
The Vanderbilt sophomore right-hander tossed seven hitless innings in the Commodores’ 11-3 victory over Missouri on Friday night — after pitching a nine-inning no-hitter last Saturday against South Carolina.
The scary part? Leiter said he didn’t even think he had his “A” material in his past two starts.
“Today I didn’t have all my pitches right where I like them to be, and I think that’s encouraging for me,” he said on SportsCenter on Friday night. “There’s always stuff to work on, and that’s the fun part about pitching.”
The son of former big league pitcher Al Leiter is ESPN’s No. 2 MLB draft prospect. The sophomore struck out 10 and walked two against Missouri. He hasn’t allowed a hit since giving up two in the fifth inning against Oklahoma State on March 13 — a span of 16 2/3 innings.
Leiter said he understood manager Tim Corbin’s decision to pull him Friday despite the fact he was two innings away from his second consecutive no-hitter, describing their conversation before the eighth inning as “pretty friendly.”
When asked what Corbin said to him, Leiter told SportsCenter, “It was, ‘Great job, I’m looking out for you in the long term here, it’s a long season, it’s still early on in the season.’ And I fully understood. Of course I was tired, you’re always tired, and you’re always looking to go more. I wanted to throw the whole game, of course. But I understood.”
Leiter is 6-0 with a 0.25 ERA, 59 strikeouts and 13 walks in six starts (36 innings) this season. He has allowed just one earned run and seven hits.
Leiter, 20, struck out 16 in the 5-0 win over South Carolina last week while retiring his final 27 batters after allowing a walk to lead off the game.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first pick in the draft this year, followed by the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox.
Leiter’s teammate, Kumar Rocker, son of former NFL defensive lineman Tracy Rocker, is No. 3 in ESPN’s latest MLB draft rankings. The junior righty improved to 6-0 with a 0.73 ERA after allowing two runs — one earned — and five hits with five strikeouts and two walks over six innings in a 10-2 win over Missouri on Thursday night.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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