Jack Leiter was six outs away from throwing consecutive nine-inning no-hitters. The Vanderbilt sophomore right-hander was slicing through the Missouri lineup Friday night.
Then Commodores head coach Tim Corbin decided to give Leiter the rest of the night off.
It was a sound long-term decision. Leiter had thrown 101 pitches through seven innings, No. 1 Vandy was leading the Tigers 11-0 and the Commodores’ season has about three more months to run.
But Leiter was trying to go all Johnny Vander Meer in conference play. He no-hit South Carolina last Saturday on 124 pitches. Two more efficient innings against Mizzou would have gotten him to that threshold again.
Plus, he was still dealing like this in the seventh:
After dealing like this in the sixth:
So instead of back-to-back no-hitters, Leiter now has a 16 2/3-inning hitless streak. The last hit he allowed was on March 13 against Oklahoma State. Overall, he has given up seven hits and two runs (one earned) in 36 innings. He is firmly on track to join dad Al, uncle Mark and cousin Mark as a professional pitcher this summer.
If you’re wondering whether Vandy’s bullpen preserved the no-no: It did not. Mizzou managed two hits and three runs in the bottom of the ninth. It’s just as well. A combined a no-hitter in a late-March SEC game would have been underwhelming. Leiter going back-to-back would have been overwhelming.