When a player has reached the point where giving up a lone run is more newsworthy than anything else, it’s fair to say expectations have crossed a remarkable line. Jack Leiter has crossed that threshold and then some.
MLB Pipeline’s No. 6 overall Draft prospect struck out 13 and allowed one run over seven innings, but was denied a win for the first time in eight starts this season in Vanderbilt’s 5-1 win over Georgia at Hawkins Field. Leiter yielded three hits, walked three, hit a batter and tossed a wild pitch which led to just the third earned run he’s allowed this season in 49 innings.
Despite allowing only one run, the right-hander’s ERA ticked up from 0.43 to 0.55.
Looking to run his season-long winning streak to eight, Leiter came out firing against the Bulldogs, fanning two in the first and seven of the first nine batters he faced. However, the 20-year-old found trouble in the fourth when Georgia’s Cole Tate reached first on a wild-pitch strikeout and Corey Collins walked. Following a flyout, Riley King singled up the middle to plate just the fifth run against Leiter this season. The New Jersey native induced a double-play grounder to escape further trouble.
A hit-by-pitch and a double — just the second extra-base hit surrendered by Leiter this season — put runners at second and third with two outs in the fifth, but he got out of the inning and the next two, striking out three of the final seven batters to face him. He departed with the game tied having thrown 72 of his 108 pitches for strikes.
His 13 strikeouts were Leiter’s second-highest total of the season, bested only by the career-high 16 he collected during his March 20 no-hitter against South Carolina. Through eight starts, the son of former Major League All-Star Al Leiter leads all college pitchers with 84 punchouts while averaging 15.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Leiter has struck out 46.4 percent of opposing batters and has notched five double-digit strikeout efforts this season, including four straight outings.
Georgia starter Ryan Webb matched Leiter through six brilliant innings of his own, allowing one run while striking out 13.
Jack Bulger and Parker Noland went deep for Vanderbilt, which improved to 9-1 in SEC competition and 25-3 overall.