Mark Leiter Jr. (Amsterdam 2011-2012) pitching for the Amsterdam Mohawks in the 2011 PGCBL Championship Series. Photo courtesy Steve Plopper
New Jersey Institute of Technology senior Mark Leiter Jr. (Amsterdam 2011-2012) struck out 20 batters in complete game four-hitter on Friday night to lead the NJIT Highlanders to a 5-3 victory over Chicago State at Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark, N.J.
Leiter became the first NCAA Division I pitcher this season to register a 20-strikeout game. The previous single-game high this season was 18, held by Villanova’s Pat Young. Leiter’s 20 strikeouts also established a new NJIT single-game school record.
For this performance, Leiter has been selected as one of three Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week by Collegiate Baseball. Leiter is the third Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League affiliated player this season to receive National Player of the Week accolades; Patrick Puentes (Watertown 2011) of Holy Cross and Dartmouth’s Joe Purittano (Albany 2013) garnered national recognition last month.
Leiter, a native of Lanoka Harbor, N.J., is the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s all-time leader in strikeouts (106) and he holds the PGCBL’s single-season strikeout mark (74, 2011).
Friday night in Newark, Leiter struck out at least two batters in eight of nine frames and struck out the side three times – in the second, eighth and ninth. The NJIT ace recorded his final eight outs via strikeout and he stranded the potential tying run on base in both the eighth and ninth frames. Leiter served up 142 pitches in the complete game effort and spun 92 strikes.
The 22-year-old sailed through the first six innings of Friday night’s Great West Conference clash. Leiter retired 18 of the first 20 Chicago State swingers and limited the visitors to just two base runners, one via hit and the other via error. Twelve of Leiter’s 20 strikeouts came in the first six frames. All of Chicago State’s run scoring came in the seventh on the strength of a three-run home run by Dylan Sterrett; the belt was the Cougars third hit of the game and it trimmed NJIT’s lead to 4-3. Following the home run, Leiter yielded a first-pitch single to William Munoz. With the potential tying run on base and go-ahead run at the plate, the former Amsterdam ace dialed up back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat. Leiter struck out six of the final eight men he faced in the eighth and ninth.
Overall for the game, Leiter allowed three runs on four hits, walked two and struck out 20. He broke his own school record for strikeouts. The previous mark was 14 which Leiter set in 2011 against Chicago State.