NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vanderbilt pitching duo of Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter have been named among three finalists for the prestigious 2021 Golden Spikes Award, announced by USA Baseball on Thursday afternoon.
Leiter and Rocker are the seventh and eighth Commodores, respectively, to be named Golden Spikes Award finalists and the third Vanderbilt duo to earn the honor in the same year (Pedro Alvarez and David Price, 2007; Carson Fulmer and Dansby Swanson, 2015).
The 2021 season also marks the second consecutive year in which Golden Spikes Award finalists were named that at least one Commodore was among the group, following JJ Bleday in 2019.
The Vandy duo joined Kevin Kopps of Arkansas, as it marks just the second year in the history of the Golden Spikes Award that not only all of the finalists hail from the same conference, but also the second time that each of the finalists come from the Southeastern Conference.
Rocker earned First Team All-SEC and All-America honors for his dominant performance throughout the 2021 season. In 88.0 regular-season innings on the mound, Rocker tallied an 11-2 record and a 2.45 ERA, while walking just 27 batters and striking out 129.
The Athens, Georgia, native won the first seven decisions of the season to set the tone for his 2021 campaign, and went on to once again help guide Vanderbilt to the program’s second-consecutive College World Series appearance.
The right-hander allowed just 22 extra-base hits during the 2021 regular season.
Leiter put together a lights-out campaign for Vanderbilt in 2021. In 76.1 innings of work during the regular season, he recorded a 2.12 ERA and an 8-2 record, while walking just 34 batters.
Leiter currently leads the SEC and the nation in strikeouts and tallied 127 of his current-171 in the regular season, including striking out 10 or more batters in seven of his 13 starts during the season.
The right-hander tossed Vanderbilt’s first regular-season, complete game no-hitter since 1971 in his SEC debut, collecting 16 punchouts in the win. He then followed that effort with two more starts in which he did not allow a hit to record 20.1 consecutive no-hit innings in his first three conference starts.
Leiter was named SEC Newcomer of the Year in 2021 after his strong showing in conference play, earned All-SEC First Team honors, and also earned All-America honors this season after helping to lead Vanderbilt to the NCAA Division I College World Series.
A final ballot will be sent to the Golden Spikes Award voting body consisting of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel, previous Golden Spikes Award winners, and select USA Baseball staff, totaling a group of 200 voters. From Thursday, June 24, through Friday, July 2, the voting body will cast their final vote for the Golden Spikes Award winner and fan voting will simultaneously be open on GoldenSpikesAward.com.
Selections made by the voting body will carry a 95 percent weight of each athlete’s total, while fan votes will account for the remaining five percent.
The presentation of the 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be announced at a later time. To stay up-to-date on the 2021 Golden Spikes Award visit GoldenSpikesAward.com and follow @USAGoldenSpikes on Twitter and Instagram.