Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker strikes out 11 in Super Regional win over East Carolina


Kumar Rocker struck out 11 for Vanderbilt.

Kumar Rocker struck out 11 for Vanderbilt.
Image: AP

It’s so unfair, man.

Vanderbilt University might have the two best pitching prospects in next month’s Major League Baseball Draft, and one of them sat down 11 in today’s Super Regional.

Kumar Rocker, all 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds of him, is part of an all-time 1-2 college pitching rotation punch completed by Jack Leiter, the son of Al, who is equally regarded as an elite prospect. Today, the first of the College Baseball Super Regional on the #RoadToOmaha, No. 4 Vanderbilt shut out No. 13 East Carolina 2-0, who they play again tomorrow in Game 2 of the series. (The College World Series begins on June 19.)

The upcoming 2021 MLB Draft begins on July 11. Rocker, the projected sixth overall pick and third pitcher off the board in mlb.com’s latest mock draft, mowed down ECU by allowing just three hits while recording 11 strikeouts through 7 ⅔ innings. As a result, he now has 64 strikeouts in 42 ⅔ postseason innings pitched.

And then, there’s actually seeing it.

He’s had one of college baseball’s nastiest sliders for multiple years, and ECU’s Bryson Worrell experienced it the hard way today.

As the game went, so did others.

Rocker’s been reintroducing himself in a significant way this year following the 2020 season’s cancellation just after getting underway due to COVID-19. As a freshman in 2019, he won seemingly every major Freshman of the Year Award, went 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in the 2019 College World Series, where he won Most Outstanding Player for the champion Commodores, and even tossed Vandy’s first no-hitter since 1971, striking out 19. This season, Rocker carried a 12-3 record through 16 starts, 144 K’s through 98 and ⅓ innings and a 2.65 ERA prior to today.

Dude’s stuff is straight-up filthy. Fortunately for East Carolina, they got that over with. Unfortunately for them, though, is that Leiter hasn’t pitched in the series yet.

Also … Jerry Stackhouse sang the National Anthem, for what that’s worth.





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