Vanderbilt pitchers Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter have both been considered at times the top pitcher in the NCAA this year.
Now, they both are battling to be named the top amateur baseball player in the country as the Commodore duo were named two of 25 semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday.
Both were named to the All-SEC first team this season, and Leiter took home the SEC Newcomer of the Year award.
Vanderbilt, East Carolina (VU's Super Regional opponent) and Mississippi State were the only schools with multiple semifinalists. The SEC led all conferences with six semifinalists.
Vanderbilt has had only one Golden Spikes Award winner since its inception in 1995 — pitcher David Price in 2007. That season, Price went 11-1 with a 2.63 ERA and 194 strikeouts in 133.1 innings. He was selected No. 1 overall in the MLB Draft that year.
“This group of players truly showcases the elite level of amateur baseball talent in the United States as they have excelled on and off the field this season, and we are privileged to recognize their contributions to their teams and schools,” USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler said in a release.
Rocker has one of the best resumes in college baseball, ranking second in the country in strikeouts (144), 11thin WHIP (0.91) and hits allowed per nine innings (5.13), and 16th in strikeouts per nine innings (13.2). He leads the NCAA with 12 wins, just two shy of the Vanderbilt single-season record.
Leiter has been just as impressive, leading the NCAA in strikeouts (146) and ranking third in hits allowed per nine innings (3.94), fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (14.7), seventh in WHIP (0.87), and 23rd in ERA (2.22).
Fan voting for the award closes on Tuesday, June 15. The Golden Spikes Award winner will be named in July.
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