Jack Leiter strikes out 12 in Vanderbilt debut

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Jack Leiter, son of former major league pitcher Al Leiter, had a stellar debut on Tuesday for Vanderbilt, striking out 12 batters in five no-hit innings during a 3-0 win over South Alabama in Nashville, Tennessee.

Asked if he expected such a strong outing, Jack Leiter told SEC Network, "I don't know if I expected it, but I was confident knowing the guys we have out there behind me.

"Throwing to a guy like CJ [Rodriguez] makes the game a lot easier. He manages a lot of it, and he caught a great game today."

Leiter, a right-hander (his father was a lefty), was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 20th round in June, despite telling teams ahead of time that he planned to go to Vanderbilt. Scouts said Leiter would have been an early pick if not for his determination to honor his college commitment.

"It was just awesome playing in front of the home crowd, playing back in Nashville, and starting the homestand with some wins," Leiter said.

Leiter was named by Baseball America as the top freshman player for 2020, after finishing up last season as the No. 1 player in New Jersey with a 0.84 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 43 innings.

Al Leiter also was drafted by the Yankees -- in the second round in 1984 -- and he turned pro right away. He made his debut with the Yankees three years later, starting a 19-year MLB career that included stints with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets and Florida Marlins.

The younger Leiter also has an uncle (Mark Leiter) and a cousin (Mark Leiter Jr.) who have pitched in the majors.