Jack Leiter throws no-hitter; Gators sweep Texas A&M

 Barry Allen   in Baseball

Vandy's Leiter is nearly perfect, while Florida sweeps red-hot Texas A&M

Jack Leiter photo courtesy of Vanderbilt athletics

Vanderbilt freshman right-hander Jack Leiter tossed a no-hitter and struck out 16 batters in the 5-0 win over South Carolina. Leiter issued a leadoff to Braylen Wimmer and then retired the final 27 batters he faced in the 124-pitch effort. Leiter’s no-hitter was the first SEC vs. SEC no-hitter since Texas A&M senior Kyle Simonds threw one in a 3-0 win over Vanderbilt on May 7, 2016 in College Station

Florida played like the preseason No. 1 team in the nation with its three-game sweep of Texas A&M in Gainesville. Georgia posted its SEC-leading fifth walk-off win in the 5-4 victory over Tennessee.

TEAM OF THE DAY:

Florida looked like the preseason No. 1 team in the nation following its three-game sweep of Texas A&M in Gainesville.The trio of Tommy Mace, Jack Leftwich and Hunter Barco recorded 29 strikeouts and two walks in 20 innings on the mound. 

The Aggies entered the weekend with an 11-game winning streak but were held in check in Gainesville.

GAME OF THE DAY:

Georgia posted its SEC-leading fifth walk-off win with a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Tennessee in Athens. Shortstop Cole Tate delivered a walk-off, two-run single that scored left fielder Riley King and first baseman Chaney Rogers

The winning rally was set up by a Tennessee throwing error on a bunt attempt. The winning rally was set up by a Tennessee throwing error on a bunt attempt. Tate’s ninth inning heroics marked the third lead change over the final four innings. Georgia took a 3-2 lead with two runs in the sixth inning on an RBI double by King and RBI single by Rogers. The lead was short-lived after Tennessee third baseman Jake Rucker gave the Vols a 4-3 lead with a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

PITCHER OF THE DAY:

Vanderbilt right hander Jack Leiter tossed a no-hitter and struck out 16 batters in the 5-0 win over South Carolina. Leiter issued a leadoff to Braylen Wimmer and then retired the final 27 batters he faced in the 124-pitch effort. He struck out at least on batter in eight of nine innings. South Carolina DH Wes Clarke, who leads the SEC with 10 home runs, was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts on 11 pitches against Leiter.

PLAYER OF THE DAY:

Vanderbilt second baseman Tate Kolwyck blasted two home runs in the Commodores series-clinching 5-0 victory over South Carolina. Kolwyck stroked a two-run homer in the second inning and added another two-run blast in the eighth inning.

NO-HITTER NOTEBOOK:

Leiter’s no-hitter was the second SEC no-hitter and third no-hitter in Division I baseball this season. Mississippi State had a 4-man no-hitter against Kent State on March 7 in Starkville. Jackson Fristoe, Landon Sims, Mikey Tepper and Cam Tullar combined on the no-hitter for MSU.  Ohio junior left-hander Joe Rock tossed a 7-inning no-hitter in the 6-0 win over Morehead State on Feb. 26.

Leiter’s no-hitter was the first by a Vanderbilt pitcher since Kumar Rocker no-hit Duke on June 8, 2019 in the NCAA Super Regionals in Nashville. Rocker had 19 strikeouts and walked two batters in the 3-0 win over the Blue Devils. It is believed to be the first regular-season no-by a Vanderbilt pitcher since 1971.

Leiter’s father, Al, threw for the first no-hitter in Florida Marlins history on May 11, 1996. Leiter and Marlins blanked the Colorado Rockies 10-0 at Joe Robbie Stadium. Leiter struck out six and walked two in the win. Leiter was opposed on the mound that day by former Kentucky pitcher Mark Thompson, who was tagged for eight runs in 1 1/3 innings.

SATURDAY RECAPS:

Vanderbilt 5, South Carolina 0 (Nashville)

Records: Vanderbilt (15-2, 2-0 SEC); South Carolina (11-6, 0-2 SEC)

Series: Vanderbilt leads, 2-0

Any time Jack Leiter takes the hill, you know he's got a chance to be special. And Leiter's 16-strikeout no-hitter during which he allowed just one base runner all game ranks as one of the greatest pitching performances in NCAA history in Vandy's 5-0 win over South Carolina. 

Leiter's first inning--a leadoff walk issued to Braylen Wimmer, a screamer to deep in the gap that center fielder Enrique Bradfield caught--didn't seem a harbinger of a special performance ahead.

That was especially the case when Leiter couldn't throw his secondary pitches for strikes. 

But Leiter had his fastball working and the first hint of what was to come came when the second-year player fanned five straight hitters, starting with Gamecock cleanup man Wes Clarke, with fastballs that all hit between 95 and 97 on the stadium radar gun. 

Leiter briefly looked vulnerable in the sixth, when he ended that inning with 90 pitches and didn't strike anyone out in the inning. But he struck out two in each of the last three innings and ended the day with a 97-mile-an-hour fastball on his 124th pitch, which struck out Wimmer.

Second baseman Tate Kolwyck blasted two home runs, the first one, a two-run shot in the second and the other, a two-run blast in the eighth.

Georgia 5, Tennessee 4 (Athens)

Records: Tennessee (16-4, 1-1 SEC); Georgia (14-4, 1-1 SEC)

Series: Series tied, 1-1

Georgia posted its SEC-leading fifth walk-off win with a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Tennessee in Athens. Shortstop Cole Tate delivered a walk-off, two-run single that scored left fielder Riley King and first baseman Chaney Rogers.

The winning rally was set up by a Tennessee throwing error on a bunt attempt. Tate’s ninth inning heroics marked the third lead change over the final four innings.

Georgia took a 3-2 lead with two runs in the sixth inning on an RBI double by King and RBI single by Rogers. The lead was short-lived when Tennessee third baseman Jake Rucker gave the Vols a 4-3 lead with a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

Tennessee took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, aided by a Georgia on the first play of the game. The Bulldogs got a run back on Tate’s sac fly in the third inning.

Florida 8, Texas A&M 4 (Gainesville)

Records: Florida (16-5, 3-0 SEC); Texas A&M (15-7, 0-3 SEC)

Series: Florida won series, 3-0

Florida rode excellent starting pitching to a series sweep of Texas A&M. Freshman left hander Hunter Barco posted the third straight quality start on the weekend in Saturday’s series finale. Barco allowed two earned runs and nine hits in six innings, with nine strikeouts and no walks.

The Gators three starters Tommy Mace, Jack Leftwich and Barco recorded 29 strikeouts and two walks in 20 innings on the mound. The Aggies entered the weekend with an 11-game winning streak but were held in check by the Gators.

Third baseman Kirby McMullen and centerfielder Jud Fabian both homered for the Gators. McMullen blasted a 3-run homer off Texas A&M freshman Jonathan Childress in the second inning. Fabian added a solo home run in the seventh inning.

Childress struggled for the first time this season in his SEC debut and first road start. He allowed four runs and five hits in three innings of work. He fanned five and walked two in the loss.

Mississippi State 3, LSU 0 (Baton Rouge)

Records: Mississippi State (16-3, 2-0 SEC); LSU (15-5, 0-2 SEC)

Series: MSU leads, 2-0

Mississippi State blanked LSU 3-0 to pick up its third series win over the Tigers in the last 16 years. MSU’s last three series wins (2006, 2016 and 2021) over LSU have all come in Baton Rouge.  The Bulldogs have not won a series with the Tigers in Starkville since 2003.

 Will Bednar, Preston Johnson and Landon Sims held the Tigers to five hits and struck out 10 in the win.

MSU posted its SEC-leading fifth shutout of the season on Saturday. The Bulldogs have held the Tigers to one run in 18 innings this weekend, and only allowed five earned runs in its last nine games.

LSU has been shut out five times in the last three years. The Tigers had not been shutout in a home SEC game since a 4-0 loss to Texas A&M in 2018.

Arkansas 9, Alabama 1 (Fayetteville)

Records: Alabama (15-4, 1-1 SEC); Arkansas (13-3, 1-1 SEC)

Series: Series Tied, 1-1

Arkansas reversed the script and posted a 9-1 win against Alabama to even the series at Baum Stadium. The Hogs snapped a three-game losing streak. The Razorbacks lost 16-1 to Alabama in Friday’s opener.

One night after scoring 16 runs on 15 hits, the Alabama offense was stymied by Arkansas starter Zebulon Vermillion. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed only one run and one hit through eight innings.

The Crimson Tide managed only two hits in the loss, a sixth-inning single by Jim Jarvis and ninth-inning double by Peyton Wilson.

Catcher Casey Opitz went 3-for-3 with one home run and three RBIs to lead the Hogs offense. His third inning solo home run was the Razorbacks first lead in the series. Right fielder Cayden Wallace also had three hits for Arkansas.

Ole Miss 6, Auburn 5 (Oxford)

Records: Ole Miss (15-4, 2-0); Auburn (11-7, 0-2 SEC)

Series: Ole Miss leads, 2-0

Ole Miss has become comfortable playing the Auburn Tigers at Swayze Field. The Rebels won their 11th straight home game against the Tigers with a 6-5 win on Saturday.

The Rebels built a 6-2 lead through three innings and then held off the Tigers for the series-clinching win. Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez and third baseman Kevin Graham combined for five hit for the Rebels.

Auburn got three home runs from by shortstop Ryan Bliss and first baseman Tyler Miller to cut the lead to 6-5 in the seventh inning. Bliss had two homers on the day, a solo home run in the third inning and seventh inning. Miller also homered in the seventh inning.

Ole Miss relievers Tyler Myers and Taylor Broadway blanked the Tigers over the final 1 2/3 innings to preserve the win. Broadway tossed a scoreless ninth for his third save.

Kentucky 5, Missouri 4 (Lexington)

Records: Kentucky (13-3, 2-0 SEC); Missouri (7-12, 0-2 SEC)

Series: Kentucky leads, 2-0

Kentucky backup left fielder Cam Hill scored the winning run on a passed ball in the bottom of the ninth to give the Wildcats a 4-3 win over Missouri. It was UK’s first walk off win of the season.

Hill entered the game for defensive purposes in the top of ninth inning and then used his speed in the bottom of the inning for the series-clinching win. Hill was hit in the head by a pitch to lead off the inning. After convincing everyone he felt good, he took second on a passed ball. With a runners at first and second, he used his speed to steal third base and then scored the game winning run on another passed ball.

Missouri scored three runs in the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. UK tied the game with three runs in the third inning. Kentucky took its first lead with a run in the seventh inning only to see Missouri tie the game in the ninth.