When the defending national Division-I champions Vanderbilt Commodores baseball team opens up the season against No. 11 Michigan on Feb. 14 at the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona, it will have four New York/New Jersey area players on its roster.
Those players include sophomore outfielder Matt Hogan (Melville, N.Y./Half Hallow Hills East), freshman pitcher Jack Leiter (Summit, N.J./Delbarton), freshman pitcher Nick Maldonado (Short Hills, N.J./Seton Hall Prep), and sophomore utility player Justyn-Henry Malloy (Bergenfield, N.J./St. Joseph Regional).
The 51st recipient of the Carl Yastrzemski Award, Suffolk’s county’s top player, Hogan went 0-for-4 (.000) with a walk and run scored last season for the Commodores.
Leiter, the son of former 19-year major leaguer, Al Leiter, is a fantastic pitcher in his own right. He earned the 2019 New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year, and the New York Yankees selected him in the 20th round of the 2019 MLB Draft.
On the sidelines last season due to injury, Maldonado went 6-2 with 70 strikeouts in 52 innings as a junior.
Additionally, Maldonado was a two-time New Jersey state champion (2015, 2016) in which he was the winning pitcher for the Pirates.
Malloy drove in an RBI and went 1-for-4 in his debut vs. Cal State Fullerton (Feb. 16). Ranked as New Jersey’s top third baseman in class of 2018 (Perfect Game).