It was back to form for Kumar Rocker on Friday night.
Coming off of his worst outing of the year, MLB Pipeline’s top overall Draft prospect rebounded with a gem against Tennessee — yielding just a pair of hits and a walk over seven shutout frames, while fanning eight in Vanderbilt’s 5-0 road victory. The right-hander threw 62 of his 97 pitches for strikes and watched his ERA come back down to 1.64.
Against the Volunteers, the 21-year-old retired the first eight batters he faced — whiffing four — before hitting Logan Steenstra with a pitch in the third. After a walk to Liam Spence to put two on with one out, Rocker escaped the jam by freezing Max Ferguson on a 3-2 off-speed pitch in the zone before getting Jake Rucker to fly out to center to end the frame.
Rocker cruised the rest of the way — retiring the side in order in the fourth and the sixth innings as part of a string of sitting down 14 of the final 16 batters he faced. The only two blemishes over that span were a single in the fifth and a two-out double in the seventh. The right-hander needed 14 pitches or fewer to get through four of his seven frames — needing only six to navigate the fourth.
Rocker improved to 8-1 with the victory. His only loss of the year came in his last outing when he allowed six runs on seven hits and a pair of walks over five frames in a 14-2 loss to Georgia. Still, that start was not without a silver lining as the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder amassed 12 punchouts.
Every member of the Commodores lineup, but one, notched at least one hit Friday night. Jayson Gonzalez launched a solo homer in the third inning that staked Vanderbilt to a 2-0 lead.