NCAA Regionals: Day 2 top performers

June 6th, 2021

Day two of the NCAA Tournament kicked off Saturday, as teams have their sights set on Omaha and players strive to have their name called in the 2021 Draft in July. Here’s who stood out during the second day of regionals:

RHP Jack Leiter ( No. 3), Vanderbilt
Now that’s how you make your postseason debut. After Kumar Rocker’s gem Friday night, Leiter made sure he wasn’t an afterthought Saturday. The projected top-five pick impressed yet again, tossing six innings of one-run ball. The Commodore ace struck out 11 in his performance, allowed just three hits and even managed to show off his defensive skills, losing the glove and still slinging a rocket over to first to record an out in the third. His lone earned run came via a solo homer in the fourth.

The matchup between Georgia Tech and Vandy also marked a matchup between two MLB legacies. Leiter, son of two-time World Series champion Al Leiter, and Marquis Grissom Jr., son of another World Series champ in Marquis Grissom Sr., faced off on the mound. Grissom Sr. hit .361 lifetime off Al, but Jack got the best of Grissom Jr. as the Commodores took down the Jackets 4-1.

RHP Ty Madden ( No. 9), Texas
Madden was effectively wild for the Longhorns, tossing six innings of one-run ball against Arizona State. The righty threw less than 60 percent strikes, but still had Sun Devil hitters guessing as he struck out seven. He had plenty of traffic on the bases with four walks and three hits scattered throughout his start, but he worked around it nicely, allowing just one to cross the plate. He also limited those that did reach to just one base, as he kept ASU from recording an extra-base hit in his outing. He did so against a great offense, as all but one starter in the Sun Devil lineup entered the game hitting .270 or better.

OF Ethan Wilson ( No. 32), South Alabama
Wilson did all he could to improve his Draft stock, as the 32nd-ranked prospect helped South Alabama trample Florida 19-1. Wilson went 3-for-6 on the day, slapping a double, tallying an RBI and scoring a run in the process. He also threw out a runner at the plate to keep Florida off the board in the first inning.

LHP Doug Nikhazy ( No. 67), Mississippi
Nikhazy was nasty once again for Ole Miss as the southpaw struck out 16 in seven innings against Florida State, tying the single-game record for the Rebels. Nikhazy ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth as he gave up three runs, two earned, on two home runs, but he managed to escape the inning and capped off another amazing start. He gave up just four hits and walked one. It was his seventh start with double digit strikeouts and his third in his past four starts. He threw 81 of his 119 pitches for strikes.

1B Niko Kavadas ( No. 139), Notre Dame
The big first baseman made sure to bring his bat for the Irish in their win. Kavadas launched a grand slam to break it open for Notre Dame in the first and finished his day with a three-run shot in the ninth, his second straight two-homer game. He didn’t stop there though as he added another RBI on a bases-loaded walk and reached base five times on the day with a hard-hit single and another walk. Kavadas powered the offense as he went 3-for-4, scored five times and collected eight RBIs in Notre Dame’s 26-3 blowout of UConn.

OF RJ Schreck, Duke
Schreck may not be among Pipeline’s Top 200 Draft prospects, but the Blue Devils’ junior put on a show you just couldn’t ignore Saturday. Schreck went 4-for-6 at the dish, going deep not once, not twice, but three times on the day. He tallied five RBIs and added a double in a regional performance for the ages.

Schreck didn’t stop there either as he flashed the leather in left field as well, robbing a grand slam from Wright State’s Tyler Black in the sixth, allowing Duke to keep their nine-run lead, and robbing a two-run shot from Gehrig Anglin to end the game in the ninth. The Blue Devils went on to win comfortably by the score of 14-6 thanks to Schreck’s heroics. If you want to establish yourself on some Draft radars, hitting three homers and driving in five while also saving six runs from scoring in a single game sure does help.