Rocker wins battle of potential 1st-rounders

June 11th, 2021

The showdown between two of the 2021 MLB Draft’s top pitching prospects did not disappoint on Friday, as Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker and East Carolina’s Gavin Williams went back and forth for seven-plus innings in an incredible pitcher’s duel that lived up to the billing. 

In the end, Rocker outpitched Williams to give Vanderbilt the Game 1 win in the NCAA Super Regional, the last step before the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Rocker, MLB Pipeline’s No. 5 overall Draft prospect, fired 7 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out 11 batters while allowing three hits and three walks in the Commodores’ 2-0 victory.

Williams, the No. 42 Draft prospect, did his part to keep East Carolina in the game, striking out 13 batters and giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks in 7 1/3 innings.

The Pirates will now have to win two straight to avoid elimination, and that will mean scratching out a win against Vanderbilt’s other highly touted ace, Jack Leiter, the No. 3 overall Draft prospect and top pitching prospect on MLB Pipeline’s list.